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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
Low winds force sailors to extend Canada Games races into Sunday
Canada Summer Games competitors in the ILCA class were able to complete their races on Saturday. Four races were moved to Sunday.
Canada Summer Games competitors in the ILCA class were able to complete their races on Saturday. Four races were moved to Sunday. Phil Cheevers

Unusually calm Lake Ontario leads to hours of ‘hurry up and wait’ onshore

Competitive sailors were beached for part of Saturday as low winds on Lake Ontario played havoc with the 2022 Canada Summer Games racing schedule for the third time in four days.

An unusually calm lake limited the number of races that could be completed on Wednesday and Friday as well.

The wind was up on Thursday and a full day of racing was completed.

Games organizers had reserved Sunday as a “weather day,” in case of problems with Mother Nature and they were forced to move four Saturday races to the last day of the Games.

The final races for the men’s and women’s double-hander 29er class were set for 10:30 a.m., and though Lake Ontario was again oddly calm the sailors ventured out to try to finish the regatta.

A day earlier, on Saturday morning, things were “not looking promising,” Canada Games sport information officer Clara Gravely said in an interview.

Races were initially scheduled for 11 a.m. but the athletes did not cast out into the water until nearly 2 p.m.

The men’s and women’s double-handed 29er races, men’s single-handed Laser, women’s single-handed Laser radial and the 2.4m para mix races were all delayed by a lazy wind.

“You can sail in all types of conditions and it’s a little bit of a different technique and strategy when it’s light wind,” said Gravely, who competed at the Canada Summer Games in 2017.

“The minimum is technically supposed to be five knots (about 9km/h),” she added.

Scheduling delays are part and parcel of competitive sailing, though.

But by 4 p.m. Saturday the boats were moving across the lake consistently and Gravely hoped they would finish up the races on the schedule before the day was out.

However, four events had to be pushed to Sunday morning.

For the competitors, waiting for the race to start can be as nerve-wracking as the race itself.

“It’s definitely challenging as an athlete,” Gravely said, speaking to her own experience with competitive sailing.

“You kind of have to just go with the flow and keep yourself a little bit entertained and not too high strung while you’re on shore,” she added.

Victoria Coady, who raced in the ILCA 6 for British Columbia on Saturday, said, “It is tough. It’s sort of like a hurry up and wait kind of game.”

By day’s end, the four double-handed 29er races remained on the schedule, but a few medals were being handed out.

Coady won gold in her division after an impressive showing of nine points in eight races.