Sep 11/21 – Laser Turns 50
One of the classic stories in Laser’s history is Hans Fogh helming the prototype Laser in an October 1970 regatta held for boats under $1000 at the Playboy Club at Lake Geneva in Wisconsin. It was called ‘The America’s Teacup Regatta’. Ian and Hans decided to call the prototype the ‘Weekender’ with sail number TGIF, the abbreviation for ‘Thank God It’s Friday’. The Weekender prototype had never been in the water before that regatta. Hans and the Weekender went on to win the event and the rest is history.
This story and many more, including interviews with Ian Bruce, Bruce Kirby and Hans Fogh, are documented in a 1974 film “The Boat that Ian Built”. Andy Roy, great Laser sailor and Class mucky-muck, has arranged for a re-release for the 50th Anniversary.
Come out and join the 50th celebration at the MacKenzie Meander starting around 11:45 on Saturday, September 11.
Sep 5/21 – SPOG Laser 50th Update
On Saturday, September 11, SPOG will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the collaboration between Ian Bruce and Bruce Kirby that ended up with the most successful sailboat ever. The celebration (nicknamed the MacKenzie Meander) will start around 11:45 and include a zany course round all the familiar SPOG landmarks, as little beating as possible. Details and Course Map HERE
All to be followed by appropriate toasts, and lunch (possibly at Mobys if enough are interested). If weather is not perfect – warm(ish), no rain, and not too much wind – celebrations may be revised to pictures and the trip to the pub.
Aug 27/21 – SPOG to Celebrate Laser’s 50th Anniversary (yes, we still call it a Laser)
Saturday, September 11 has been chosen by the Laser Class boffins as the day to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the collaboration between Ian Bruce and Bruce Kirby that ended up with the most successful sailboat ever.
And so it would be fitting that SPOG, whose members might still remember 1971, participate in this celebration. We are hoping see many SPOGgers out on the water for a fun event, including those who have tried to put their laser days behind them.
We are thinking of a perfect race in perfect conditions where everyone ties for 1st. We will start sailing around 11:00 and everyone will have to stay behind the Ornery Measurer until the last downwind leg. And everyone will have unlimited handicap points. If conditions are less than perfect, we will just align the boats, sails, flags, and sailors for a group photo. In either case, we will bugger off to Mobys for lunch and talk of past glory. Come and join in.
Aug 21/21 – Don Martin Wins Long Harbour Classic
. Don Martin used wile and age points to best the fleet in 6 races over 2 days, and becomes the first career SPOG Slam winner now having his name on all 4 main trophies. In the usual SPOG discrimination against the younger, John Polglase won 4 races, but still came in 2nd. Steve White and Allan Strain tied for 3rd. A special SPOG Thank-You to Drew Rickard for his outstanding Race Committee work.
Aug 1/21 – No Wind, Wind, No Wind, Wind, No Wind
On a fluky day, Menno Bos and his crew on 3 One, sailed 4 good races and held off a strong challenge from Ran Vered’s team aboard O3 Zone to win the 2021 Lightning Invitational. We won’t mention that a navigation miscalculation in Race 1 and an overly eager arrival at the Start of Race 4 were Vared’s undoing as he sailed a great regatta. Third place goes to Claire Rawlinson on the newly named Tempest.
July 31/21 – Lightning Invitational – Where Did the Wind Go?
After a 3 hour postponement which sent everyone to the Saturday market, a puffy breeze set up and the first race got off. But the promise of wind turned out to be illusory and the only race of the day had to be shortened. The winner was Menno Bos’ 3 One followed by Claire Rawlinson’s Tempest (there is a story here) and Vared’s O3 Zone. The three local boats, Revenuer, Azzuri and Roaring 40s were mercifully finished-on-course.
July 10/21 – Moby’s 2021 – OKAY That was Weird!
While the 2020 Race was another victim of Covid19, the 2021 race was victim of new over-zealous dock management at Salt Spring Marina. Rather than pay $10 per boat to tie up for lunch, the assembled fleet (3 Lasers, 2 Lighnings, 2 Dutch Herring Buss’) sailed longish course around Captain Passage in a very lumpy wind against tide thing. After a trip to Owl Islet Buoy, Batt Rock, and Welbury Spar, SURPRISE — Hart Buck won the lasers even after a couple of navigation errors; Bill Cote won the Lightnings; and Nicky Arnoldus won the race of classic 12 footers (but we call them dutch herring boats).
Then we all drove to Moby’s for a great lunch and cold beer. It sure was better than a beat against a growing SE’er with a full belly and fuller bladder.
June 13/21 Greg Slakov and Bill Cote Post Wins the Round the Isles Opener
With Covid protocols halting travel from the mainland, a small number of Saltspring based SPOGgers had a great day out in hot, sunny weather. Starting around noon after the ferry left, 6 Lasers (some silly fools try to tell me it is now called the ILNA Dinghy) and 1 Lightning took to the harbour in almost no wind.
With the first race worth 2 points, Greg Slakov posted a 2nd and 1st to beat Tim Slaney’s 3 and 5 and Steve White’s 4 and 2. Jeremy Baxter actually had a 1 and 3, but had to deal with the handicap for those SPOGgers in Training waiting for their 50th birthday. Bill Cote and his crew aboard Azzuro beat off all comers in the Lightning fleet and posted 2 1st place finishes.
June 6/21 Planning Underway for the Lightning Invitational
The Scott Point Lightning Invitational is set for a return in 2021 after taking a Covid break in 2020. With the expected easing of travel restrictions and hope for opening of the US/CAN border, teams are eager to get back on the course
The 2021 event is set for Saturday July 31 and Sunday Aug 1. Teams from Salt Spring, Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Lake are already making plans.
June 1/21 SPOG Gets to Go Sailing
Round the Isles Opener is good to go for Jun 12. Sort of!
Dr.Bonnie lifted restrictions on outdoor activities and BC Sailing says racing can commence. So June 12 will see a few boats sail around the rocky bits of Long Harbour.
But this will have to be an Islanders Only event as inter-health region travel is still restricted.
Apr 11/21 Ornery Measurer Gets Ornerier
Today SPOG announces a new handicap category for those 80 and older. SOOG’s are Super Old Old Guys and get at least 4 or 5 points per race. Ron McKenzie, SPOG’s very own Ornery Measurer and inspiration for the whole damn thing, is the first SPOGger to reach that mighty milestone. We are sad that we cannot be with Ron and Joan to celebrate, but look forward to seeing Ron on his ancient laser “Mr. Bil” on Long Harbour this summer.
Mar 30/21 Anniversary Event Announced
Amid all the dreariness of the pandemic, a major milestone has arrived. The Laser (also known as the Weekender and now the ILCA) conceived and built by Bruce Kirby and Ian Bruce was first unveiled 50 years ago and has become the most popular dinghy ever. SPOG will participate in a world-wide event on September 11, 2021. More details to come.
Mar 1/21 Covid, covid, covid, covid
At long last Dr. Bonnie has laid out a path to vaccination and the easing of the restrictions which kept SPOG at bay in 2020. While current health orders restrict sailing competitions and social gatherings, it is possible that restrictions will look different as we head into summer. On the off chance that SPOG can resume, here is a draft schedule for 2021.
Round the Isles Opener – June 12
Moby’s Marathon – July 11
Long Harbour Classic – August 21-22
Doug Baxter Closer – October 2
Locals Championship – to be determined
Aug 12/20 Covid19 Claims the Long Harbour Classic
In these Covid times, a small number of islanders sailed to Mobys and back, and continue to go for a sail on Wednesday afternoons. But unfortunately it is not appropriate for the larger events with more socializing to proceed at this time. So without on-the-dock beers and a nice a dinner, it makes no sense for the Long Harbour Classic to proceed as planned for Aug 29 and 30. And the Doug Baxter Closer is not likely to proceed.
But if you happen to be around Scott Point on a Wednesday, come out for a sail at 4 pm.
Jul 19/20 Chris Sanderson (wins?) the 2020 Mobys-Marathon-Covid19-Compliant-Cruise
While the official 2020 Race was another victim of Covid19. A local SPOGgers within a very small social bubble in 4 Lasers and 2 Lightnings took a pleasure sail to the much-reduced-capacity Mobys as a test for a possible SPOG event later in summer.
While this was a not-a-race race, there were results based on the fiction that Lasers and Lightnings can sail against each other using a system called the Portsmouth Yardstick. In the Final results one second of corrected time separated Chris Sanderson on 808 from Bill Cote and crew on Azzuro on the inbound leg made Chris is winner (if that is the correct term) of the Moby’s-Marathon-Covid19-Compliant-Cruise.
Jul 6/20 Mobys becomes another victim of Covid19
Even with return to sport guidelines, BC Sailing and RVYC are not sanctioning dinghy racing at this time. And Moby’s has much reduced capacity and cannot take groups. So the official Mobys Marathon is off for 2020.
A couple of local islanders may go for a pleasure sail to Mobys and test some precautions which may allow a SPOG event to take place later this summer. Stay tuned and stay safe!
Jun 4/20 Round the Isles Opener Cancelled
Unfortunately the RVYC Scott Point Outstation will not be open to members on June 13 and RVYC is following BC Sailing policy which does not recommend competitive dinghy sailing at this time.
That said, recreational sailing is starting the open and a Lightning has been seen on Long Harbour – with appropriate physical distancing. And the CFL has had his Laser out – with regular dunkings to wash off any trace of Covid19.
It is expected that Scott Point will open soon and more recreational sailing can occur, creating opportunities for SPOGgers to sail together, even if racing and social gatherings will be restricted.
Apr 19/20 COVID19 Update
The world has gone crazy. Our sympathies are with those who have had direct contact with COVID19 or suffered through the anxiety of its impact on family and finances.
But on Salt Spring Island, it is hard to see much of a difference other than socializing is curtailed and Moby’s is closed.
At this time, SPOG is still hoping that the first race of the season can go ahead in some format on Jun 13, even if the social aspect of SPOGging is somewhat reduced. Please stay tuned.
Jan 2/ 20 – 2020 Calendar Announced
The 2020 Calendar of Events is now official.
Round the Isles Opener – Jun 13
Moby’s Marathon – July 18
Scott Point Lightning Invitational (Lasers too) – August 1-2
Long Harbour Classic – August 29-30
The Locals Race – sometime midweek September
Doug Baxter Memorial Closer – October 10 or 11
Nov 1/19 – A Tie for Season Championship
After a three races in the 2019 season, Steve White had a 2 point lead over 2018 Champ Brian Woodward. But Steve did the honourable thing during the Doug Baxter Closer and let Brian pass him multiple times. And so the two end up in a tie for 2019 at 28 points for the Season. Don Martin came in second with 23 points and Alan Strain and Greg Slakov had 21 points.
SPOG does not have a tie-breaking procedure and making one up later seems unfair. S0 all hail Steve White and Brian Woodward as Champs for 2019.
Oct 13/19 – Thanksgiving Weekend Sees Don Martin Win the Doug Baxter Closer
Saturday dawned with rain and calm – everyone’s favourite. However by the time the ferry left and we were able to start the first race, the sky had lifted and there was a light puffy, patchy northerly breeze in Long Harbour. RO Russell Poulston started us off with two short races to U55 (green can) followed by a longer one around U55 and U50 (green can, red can).
The racing was tight and leads changed more than once in all races. In the end the Laser rough scores were all within two points. Don Martin won on the basis of being on the long side of a milestone birthday, followed by Chris Sanderson and Brian Woodward. In the Lightning fleet, Revenuer showed great consistency winning with straight bullets.
In addition to the hoisting of Doug’s Whiskey Jug for the Closer, the Season Championship was still up for grabs. Steve White lead 2018 champ Brian Woodward by a measly 2 pointsgoing in. By virtue of their 5th and 3rd finishes in the Closer, there is a dead heat. Tie breaker news to follow when CFL gets home from France.
Sep 18/19 – Tim Slaney goes 2 and 1 and Wins the Locals Championship.
A beautiful day appeared after 2 days of solid rain. And a light and shifty westerly set up to make a perfect for the 5 SPOGgers who turned up for the SPOG laser race for locals only – no ringers, no city slickers. Competition was close in both races with several lead changes. Tim Slaney managed the wind shifts better than anyone else and accepted the spittoon over beers at Moby’s. Race Committee of Bill Cote and Paul Sturdy did such a great job, they were honorary participants in the race.
Aug 25/19 Thom Stubbs Wins His Second Long Harbour Classic. Bill Cote’s Azzurro Edges our John Walker’s Martini in the Lightning Class
On an interesting Day 2, Steve White’s two 3rd place performances was not enough to hold off Thom Stubbs’ 1st and 4th. Thom wins the laser event by 1 point and puts his name on the Kerr Trophy for a second time. John Walker and crew aboard Martini won the last race of the event, but that was not enough to beat Azzurro after Bill Cote put the hammer down to win the 3 middle races and the lightning class.
Aug 4, 2019 – Hospitality Rules – Roger Hicks from Vancouver, WA wins inaugral Scott Point Invitational
7 Lightnings from SPOG, Kits YC, and the Vancouver Lake fleet appeared for the inaugural Scott Point Invitational. It is clear that the locals were intent on making the guests feel welcome by letting them sail to the front of the fleet. After 6 races there was a tie between Roger Hicks from Vancouver Lake, WA and Ran Vered of Kits YC. Following a count back, Roger Hicks and crew aboard Roaring Forties won the 2019 Invitational.
Jul 13, 2019 – Greg Slakov Wins Moby’s Marathon for Lasers. Bill Cote Takes the Lightning Class. Bob DeRoos first in the Herring Buss Class.
Sailing to pub for a Guinness, then sailing back home. Add enough wind to make it interesting and plenty of sunshine, and you have the perfect day.
Jun 16,2019 – Round the Isles Opener – Don Martin Leads the Lasers Start to Finish. Martin Herbert’s Kay D Tops the Lightning Fleet
The opening event of the 2019 season sailed on Saturday, June 15. The fleet of 10 lasers and 4 Lightnings (one possibly not a Lightning) had a glorious day of racing in pure sunshine and perfect SE thermal wind. Results and Story Here.
Next up is Moby’s Marathon on July 13. The marina at Moby’s has mysteriously disappeared, so stay tuned for course revisions.
May 20, 2019 – 25 Days to First SPOG
The Round the Isles Race goes on June 15. Bill Cote has already had his Lightning out in a local SSI round the cans race and Greg Slakov came third in his division in Round Saltspring Race (we won’t talk about the others). Now the rest of the SPOGgers need to get tuned up. Please check out these links sent by our friends at Calgary Yacht Club. “Laser Sailing: Sailing Backwards on the Start Line” … https://youtu.be/Lzl_ZS6blgk and a link to all the ISA Tips and Tricks videos, https://internationalsailingacademy.com/category/tips-tricks/ You could spend all day!
Apr 24, 2019 – Scott Point Invitational
A new event for 2019 focussed on Lightnings, but Lasers are welcome as well. The Invitational will be held on August long weekend – Aug 3-4, 2019. Sailing Instructions HERE.
Feb 13, 2019 – 2019 Racing Calendar
Here is the calendar of events for 2019. Mark your Calendar now so you don’t miss an event.
Round the Isles Opener – June 15
Moby’s Marathon – July 13
Long Harbour Classic – August 24-25
Doug Baxter Closer – October 12
There is a new event for 2019 – actually approved by the RVYC mucky-mucks to include Lightnings from other fleets. Weather Forecast – Lightning! (I like this name, but Bill suggests Scott Point Invitational) will be held on the August long weekend Aug 3-4. Lasers will be welcome too.
And the Locals Championship – but the locals are keeping the date secret
Nov 2, 2018 – Passing of Andy Hunt
He was not a SPOGger and many might not know Andy Hunt; but he was the backbone of Laser Fleet 6 – BC and PNW. He not only loved sailing, but he worked tirelessly at all kinds of dinghy regattas including all (and I mean all) of the laser events held at Jericho Sailing and at Kits Yacht Club. As our District rep he was thorough in providing press coverage of local events (kids and masters) for the North American publication. Andy was also a very supporter of Disabled Sailing in Vancouver.
Andy recently passed away yesterday after a short battle with cancer. He will be missed on the race course and committee boat, and his absence will leave a big hole in local sailing.
Oct 6, 2018 – Woodward in a Three-Peat
Participation is part of the key to winning the Season Championship. Participation with great sailing is a guarantee to win. Brian Woodward started the day with a 1 point advantage over Allan Strain going into the final event. Brian’s win extended his lead to 2 points and he becomes the 1st 2-Time SPOG Champion.