The TRY Regatta is where an estimated 160 kids — from ages 8 to 18 — will come together for four days of high-level training and competition, and it’s a pipeline for the elite Quebec Games.
It’s where Olympic sailor Tyler Bjorn, who competed in 2012 at the London Olympics, will be scouting for talent on the race course. As head of the sailing school at Pointe-Claire Yacht Club, Bjorn’s mission is to develop Quebec’s — and Canada’s — next crop of young world-class racers, and the event is a lynchpin in that strategy.
A training regatta is a rare kind of regatta, with more than just ruthless bow-to-bow combat. Half the time is devoted to racing; the other to training. With real-time instruction in a non-adversarial regatta setting, racers can immediately put into action what they learn from a roster of up to 20 coaches drawn from yacht clubs all over the Lac St-Louis region, Ottawa and Hudson, including Pointe-Claire Yacht Club, the Royal St-Lawrence Yacht Club, Beaconsfield Yacht Club and Baie D’Urfé Yacht Club.
The TRY Regatta is where skills can develop quickly and exponentially in a high-calibre, supportive environment. Good racers can become great. Great racers can become exceptional. And beginners get to be part of it, too: Kids as young as eight can gleefully round their first marks in Optimists, the tiniest of boats that are boxy, indestructible and so much fun.
When the winds pick up and the boats take off at lightning speed, sailing is a high-octane sport that Montrealers are lucky to have in their backyard. It’s a clean, environmental sport open to anyone who wants to take advantage of beautiful Lac St-Louis.
“As a kid, you can’t fly a plane or ride a motorcycle,” Bjorn says. “But you can get into a boat.”
All over Lac St-Louis, sailing schools offer instruction in boats of distinct shapes and sizes.
The TRY Regatta has classes of boats that showcase those skills of all levels, from experienced down to beginners. At the bottom of the food chain are Optimists (“Optis”), a popular entry point for kids who sail all over the world.
From there, the boats get faster and more nimble: Laser 4.7s, Radials (with smaller rigs than Lasers) and Lasers — all one-person boats;
29ers — two-person go-fast skiffs;
420s — two-person boats built to plane.
Since Bjorn’s return from the London Olympics in 2012, he has been working to develop Quebec’s youth sailing. He says the scene is beginning to be set for more Quebec youth sailors to take their place in high-level competition at the provincial and national level.
“We have great coaches, the infrastructure is there, and we have enthusiastic kids who want to work hard,” he says. “We have role models and a good venue.”
Those who do well at the TRY Regatta could earn a spot to compete at the Quebec Games, being held in Thetford Mines in July, drawing 3,700 young athletes from across the province.
The TRY Regatta begins Thursday, July 5, at 8:30 a.m. and runs through Sunday, July 8 with an afternoon medal presentation. Spectators are welcome.
Free 90-Minute Tours: On Saturday and Sunday, parents who want a closer look at the action can take a 90-minute tour aboard a 22- or 24-foot keelboat with PCYC adult-instructor Étienne Portelance.
Before Wednesday, July 4, noon: $95 single-handed boat, $115 double-handed boat.
Includes Saturday barbecue dinner.
Regatta registration is open to anyone ages 8 to 18. To register:
Registration forms are available on the website of the Fédération de voile du Québec: www.voile.qc.ca. After Wednesday, July 4 at noon, registrations will be on-site at Pointe-Claire Yacht Club, 1 Cartier Ave., Pointe-Claire, QC, H9S 4R3.