Snell Wins 5th North American Title

It was a smokey start to the 2017 N.A. Championship in Osoyoos, BC. Most of the west, from California to BC was plagued with wild fires in their forests which had filled the air in the Okanagan Valley with thick smoke.

The first day of racing was in smokey and generally calm conditions and only one race was completed, however a strong breeze arrived in the early evening. Day two started with a sprinkling of rain, building wind as well as almost smoke free conditions, this  allowed for 5 races to be run. Day three returned to calm conditions which kept sailor on shore — fire fighting water bombers took over the lake as they made pass after pass scooping water from the area in the race course.

Full results have not been received, however the top three places are:

1st – Don Snell (Newell Sailing Club)
2nd – Hamish Ferguson (Newell Sailing Club)
3rd – Mike Sonnie (Newell Sailing Club)

L-R Hamish Ferguson, Dave Mills, Don Snell, Kieran Mill, Mike Sonnie

Notice the water bomber in the background.


Snell Wins 2017 Nationals

The results of the 48th Canadian Nationals: 2017 Seaspray Nationals

We had 8 Seasprays out with a couple of new participants, Jesse Kittleson from St. Mary’s Sailing Club (Lethbridge, Alberta) and Aaron Neifer from LNR, Alberta were able to come and take part in the racing.  Both participants will be on the Seaspray Association membership  and hopefully will consider attending the North Americans in September in Osoyoos.

Don Snell defended his title again with Hamish Ferguson placing second and Mike Sonnie in third spot.

A total of 10 races were sailed over the 3 days.  Temperatures were in the mid 30’s on Friday and Sunday so with lighter winds on those days made for challenging conditions for hydration. Saturday served up some ideal Seaspray wind conditions and more moderate temperatures where four longer races were completed.

Hope to see you all in Osoyoos in September.

Canadian Nationals Update


To be held July 7,8 and 9th at Newell Sailing Club.  For more details check the Newell Sailing Club’s website.  The Notice of Race or NOR on the regattas page will give you all the details.

Things to remember..  Regatta registration is Thursday evening from 7-9 pm and Friday morning 8-9 am .   First race starts at 11am on Friday
This is the 48th annual Canadian Nationals, so getting close to 50.  Hope we all can make that one!
I hope that you will try to attend this year’s event especially if you live close to Newell Sailing Club.  Attending a few regattas will help you become a better SeaSpray sailor  and it is always more fun to sail with other Seasprays.
Upcoming Seaspray North Americans will be held in Osoyoos, BC  September 8, 9 and 10th (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).  Remember to book your rooms or campsites soon.  Stan tells me that the Lasers and Optimist dinghies will not be attending this year.  Perhaps there will be an x class besides the Seasprays so the lake will be mostly ours for this event.   The Notice of Race will be posted a bit later this summer so check in a few weeks for the details.

America’s Cup Hype Begins

As much as I marvel at how fast these BIG cats go as well as the advancements in design, it just doesn’t seem to be sailing. I’m not sure how many remember the first on board, live feed in the 12 meter monohulls, but hearing the creaking and groaning the boat was making as they headed up wind in heavy seas was real racing and it left you with a sense of how hard it was.

Our Trip to North Americans

Hamish & Frances Ferguson sent along this article and photos describing their trip to the 2016 North American Championships at Huntington Lake, California.

Our trip to Huntington Lake, California for the Sea Spray North American Championship 2016

For this journey south we decided to head down to the Columbia River at Umatilla and drive on the southern shore on I-84. As the wind is usually blowing up river we passed huge numbers of wind turbines on the hills on both sides of the river.

Wind farm along I-84

At Biggs we turned south on US-97. The road rises quickly to about 5000ft so the air is cooler and the scenery is interesting. We visited Lavalands Park and then drove up to Crater Lake where the road gets to about 7000 ft. altitude. The lake itself is stunning and the interpretative centre is well worth a visit.

Frances at Lavalands Park
Crater Lake
Crater Lake


Soon after entering California when we were filling up with fuel at a gas station, we had a minor mishap when 2 trucks pulling holiday trailers pulled in and one of them turned a little too tight and caught the Sea Spray masts on the side of the holiday trailer. After a controlled curse on my part and a survey of the situation, we pulled the masts out of the side of the trailer leaving a 2 ft. by 1 ft. gash in the trailer, which I suggested be repaired temporarily with duct tape! Our damage consisted of a bent halyard mast and a broken bottom casting for the sock mast. I straightened the halyard mast as soon as I arrived at Huntington Lake. However, the sock mast had no rotation control and boom vang take off point. I used the sock mast for the regatta and decided that I did not need the vang or the rotation control.

Bent halyard mast & broken bottom casing on sock mast

We continued our sightseeing by visiting the Shasta Dam which not only generates power but also provides the fresh water supply and flood control for northern California.


Turbines at Shasta Dam


Having done our sightseeing, it was time to get to Huntington Lake without delays! We arrived on Thursday at the campground. We put the boat trailer in the parking lot and the motorhome in its camping spot. We used the mountain bikes to get from the motorhome to the boat. The boat was assembled and I went sailing on Friday and Saturday. The weather was beautiful, sunny and warm. The wind came up at about 10:45am, at about 18 knots and disappeared at 5:30pm. Some of the locals did not take their sails down at night – but I did.

Before the daily wind starts blowing
View of Huntington Lake

The Championship races started on Sunday and continued on Monday and Tuesday. I was the only Canadian and, knowing who was going to be there, I felt that I should at least finish in the top 4, if nothing broke down. Well, nothing broke and I finished 3rd. Mike Butler had boat speed to burn and won every race, winning the regatta. Jay Gardner who also has a very fast boat finished 2nd and his wife Pam Simonson finished 4th. Pam and I, over the years (almost 40 years!) have had many close regatta results.

Race start

I started the regatta with a hot streak and got second in the first 2 races with Jay finishing behind me. If you look carefully at the photo with the 2 of us approaching the finish line with the pin end favoured, I am coming in on port tack and Jay is on starboard. By my judgement I was ahead but not clear ahead. I got to the mark and headed up and “shot” the mark to finish. Then I immediately let the sheets out and turned the boat down and sailed behind Jay. It worked, I got second and did not get T-boned by Jay who had right of way!

Close finish with Jay and Hamish


L-R (3rd) Hamish, (1st) Mike, (2nd) Jay

Observing the other boats:

Mike Butler had a pair of beautiful dagger boards which were professionally built using carbon fiber and came off an A class cat. I understand the A class is now using curved boards which lift the lee hull higher out of the water resulting in less drag. Also, he appears drive his boat low on the beats and gets excellent speed. All the boards for Mike, Jay and Pam were made to the minimum thickness of ½” whereas mine are 5/8”.

All the sailors were using sock type mast, including me.

Off the wind I was, at times, quite competitive especially when I gybed in the middle of a gust.

Pam and Jay, together with Steve and Melinda Sherry did a great job to organize the event.

See you on the water in 2017,