Members of the Central Okanagan Sailing Association (COSA) race team were in top form in reaching the podium at the B.C. Sailing Championships last weekend on Nicola Lake near Merritt.
After two days of heavy wind racing, with gusts sometimes exceeding 30 knots (55 km/h), the COSA team battled sailors from around the Pacific Northwest, most of who had considerably more experience in high wind sailing. Despite the difficult conditions, COSA team members earned top finishes in several divisions. Robbie Stevens, who finished second at the B.C.’s last year, had to settle for third, as teammate Thomas Hardy out-sailed a majority of the competitive Laser fleet to finish second this year.
Hardy and Stevens traded races for much of the regatta, but could not keep up to first place finisher, and former Olympic Team member, Kevin Grierson of Vancouver.
The Radial fleet was led by Mexican Olympic sailing team hopeful, Natalie Montemayor, who trains out of Vancouver.
Top Kelowna finishes came from COSA Race Team members, Adam Sorensen in sixth and Elizabeth Hardy in 11th place. Hardy also earned recognition as being the third fastest female at the regatta, while Sorensen was the fourth fastest male in the Radial division.
The Optimist fleet was scattered around the lake in the heavy breeze. Despite struggling to successfully complete the courses, and after being swept overboard at least four times, new COSA racer, Sam Carson, was awarded top sailor in the Optimist Green Fleet.
Fellow team member, Alex Roberts, also received a few soakings courtesy of some rogue waves, but was still recognized as the top sailor in the Optimist Blue fleet.
COSA’s Gage Flint and Connor Durham were within reach of a third place finish in the 420 fleet, but repeated swamping of their sailboat led to a failure in their starboard mast stay, forcing them out of the event early.
Remarkably, the pair was able to sail their boat back to shore in the stormy conditions without causing any further damage to the boat or themselves.
With the 2012 BC Summer Games around the corner, the top finishes by the COSA Racers bodes well for Kelowna. B.C. Championship medalists Thomas Hardy, Elizabeth Hardy, and Alex Roberts will team with additional COSA Team Member, Devin Araujo, to represent the region under the coaching guidance of COSA Sailing Director Devin Rubadeau.
This will be the Hardy’s second B.C. Games for Sailing, and Rubadeau’s thirteenth.
For more information about sailing in Kelowna, call COSA at 250-764-2203.