For Tyler and I, Albacore North Americans in Toronto was a lot of firsts. It was the first time visiting Toronto for both of us and Tyler’s first Canadian passport stamp. It was our first time racing an Albacore together, actually our first time sailing one together – and if I’m being honest- it was my first-time seeing one in person, so everything was new!
After a 10-hour overnight drive, we quickly rigged, set some goals for the weekend (have some fun and don’t come in last!) and tried to get a practice sail in. The wind had other plans and we just bobbed about for 30 minutes so Friday’s race was truly my first Albacore sail: first time with the layout of the lines, first time figuring out the whisker pole, first time using a tactical compass, first start and first finish in this class. It didn’t take too long to settle in to the basics but even as our comfort grew as skipper and crew, we pushed ourselves, trying for more aggressive starts.
The result was a couple nice line positions on general recalls and one unbeknownst OCS that prompted our first hand-held radio purchase (nothing like returning home to some freshly delivered online orders!). We had some light wind frustrations on Saturday during a major wind shift and a raised rudder on Sunday which was kindly pointed out to us near the windward mark and explained our confusion over our lack of speed and inability to point, but otherwise we felt good. We had a couple mid-fleet finishes and even managed to beat some boats overall! While we still have plenty to work on and practice, we achieved our goal: had fun and didn’t come in last!
From never having heard of Albacores two months ago to now, North Americans has sold it to me, hard not to with a fun boat, a good group of sailors, and the excitement of a spectacular racing venue. Tyler and I have a long ways to go but this weekend was a lot of firsts, not the finish-gun kind unfortunately, but the this-seems-like-the-beginning-
-Eliza Pearce (& Tyler Phillips)