The beautiful trophy finally came home for crew members Alan Coxwell, Nancy Harvey and Sam Coxwell in the 2017 Brian Cofell Memorial Sailboat Race. Since its creation in 2005 this trophy has been sheltered all but one year down on the Hannah’s Maintenance Point. The late Brian Cofell managed to take it over to the north shore one year after high winds blew his Hobie Cat over the finish line in first place.
The 2017 Race Recounted
by Alan Coxwell
In our annual August long-weekend sailboat race on Limerick Lake the first buoy you need to turn around is actually the two islands. Yes, I laid out that course many years ago much to the chagrin of some serious sailors but the fickle winds behind the islands always adds a touch of interesting uncertainty to the race. Sometimes you even get to chat with your competitors in peaceful waters.
The sailors that have snatched this race from our crew so many times were boom-to-boom with us as we headed through the very narrow cut behind the islands in 2017. Good-sized whitecaps were chasing us all the way to this point wing-on-wing.
We made the decision to tack first, risking getting becalmed in close to the island, but we had gained some ground by the time our arch rivals decided to give chase and we were soon heading out into the open waters of the lake again. As we were hit by strong gusts rolling down the length of the lake my crew of two and I were scampering up on the side of our Hunter 18. We managed to get her under control and headed for the buoy on the far side of the lake, about a mile away. With the sails set and our course a straight line I glanced back just in time to see our closest competitors get blown over as they emerged from behind the island. Even though it seems unsportsmanlike to cheer at such a turn of events we could not help ourselves. Had there been champagne aboard we might have popped it … but probably not, as that would be sure to jinx us.
They had turtled their boat so I knew we had a big opportunity to take a substantial lead. However, these guys and gals are serious racers who are usually out on Lake Ontario every Wednesday evening doing battle with members of their sailing club in Cobourg. Their friends, in a sleek red boat with Apple Turnover painted on its bow (upsidedown), slid around their swimming pals and were soon in hot pursuit. Apple Turnover has won the race several times over the last few years and so, had we had champagne, we would have left the cork in place.
It was a strange weather summer in this neck-of-the-woods in 2017 with rain a constant factor to consider in anything you were doing. I usually have all of my hay in the barn by mid-June but this year I did not even cut any until the first of August because it would just not stop raining! So, naturally the clouds opened up as we headed out to the middle of the lake. Totally drenched in ice-cold rain we were glad we at least had lifejackets to keep us warm. At one point we were betting whether it was going to start snowing. Then the Sun came out, the clouds drifted away and the wild wind went down to a wimper. Suddenly our lifejackets came off again as it became a very tropical, slow motion race with Apple Turnover intent on the chase.
By the time we turned the second buoy and headed for the starting line buoy we were almost in the doldrums. But there was another nasty black cloud just over the western treeline which held some hope for a second-round turnaround. As we crossed the starting line for the islands once again the wind began to pick up a bit but now it had changed direction and was gathering steam from the south. Apple Turnover was about 50 yards behind us as we slid into the complete calm behind the islands. There we sat, almost motionless while watching Apple Turnover, still out in the wind, close the gap down to maybe 10 yards. But they were now becalmed too and in slow motion we again slid up to the end of the island decision point. How soon should we tack? By the time our crew of three finally made a democratic call based on the very different wind direction this time around Apple Turnover had decided to risk the shortcut closer to the island. On our wider reach we picked up the wind as they struggled on the shorter route close to shore. Heading out into southerly whitecaps far enough to clear the island in one tack we watched as Apple Turnover caught the wind and Bang! down she went. But with no transom, and experienced racers, she was soon righted and emptied of water and on the chase yet again. Meanwhile their buddies in the Blue Bayou boat had been pulled into the island with some apparent difficulty and never rejoined the race after their initial turtling exercise.
Apple Turnover headed deeper into the bay where the south winds were picking up. She was obviously trying to get an angle where one run would take her to the buoy on the far side of the lake. We soon realized we were not going to make it without tacking higher and as much as we did not want to we tacked and headed straight for Apple Turnover. After we had closed that head-on gap as much as we dared we turned again and headed for the far buoy. Apple Turnover soon did the same and the race was serious once again as Apple Turnover is a fast little boat with just two aboard. She was gaining ground. If we had misjudged and needed to tack again their strategy was going to deny us the trophy yet again.
That big black cloud from the western horizon had moved in by now and started to unleash its winds. The pace picked up and about half way to the buoy I turned to see if Apple Turnover was still gaining ground. She was not. Apple Turnover had lived up to her name and her sailors were scrambling back aboard yet again. They had not given up and we had not yet turned the buoy for the final leg home. Please Mother Nature … do not make us tack again!
Until you cross that finish line a sailing race is not over. A few years ago I remember a sailing buddy from across the lake sliding past me on the final stretch in very high winds. He had slowly disappeared behind my sails and then suddenly he was rapidly moving in the opposite direction past me with his mast lying in the water. Based on that experience I was taking nothing for granted this time until we finally crossed that finish line. And we did soon after. We had outrun Apple Turnover.
Every year is a different race and this one was very different indeed.
That was last year. The 2018 Brian Cofell Memorial Sailboat Race is just around the corner with a start time of 2 pm sharp on Sunday, August 5. The winners will get to keep the trophy in their cottage until the 2019 race. So, if you have any kind of a sailboat, or if a neighbour has one and needs an encouraging crew member, please feel free to join in the fun. I still have my old Albacore sailboat looking for someone to give it new life if you should be interested in adopting it! No gasoline necessary.
If you happen to be down around Limerick Lake Lodge some sunny afternoon when someone tries to drop dead at your feet from a heart attack you now might be able to save their life!
But first you have to know two things:
1) Where the AED your Limerick Waterways Ratepayers’ Association, in co-operation with Limerick Lake Lodge, has been installed. We will make this easy: It is in the first shoreline boathouse to the west of the store.
2) How to use said AED when you find it.
Below is a 4-minute video that will show you how to use this AED and a picture of what you are looking for when you enter the boathouse.
With this extremely hot weather stretching into mid-July of 2018 the forest in our LWRA area has become very dry and the Township of Limerick has a Total Burn Ban in effect. This means no fires at any time of the day or night are permitted in the township.
To check the status of Limerick Township Burn Regulations as time goes on you can visit the Limerick Township website here: http://www.township.limerick.on.ca/index.php
Your LWRA volunteers have been working hard to organize a series of summer events as well as monitoring environmental and other local issues on your behalf. The details of this year’s planned events can be found at https://limerickwra.wordpress.com/ . Please sign up there to receive all the LWRA news.
We need your membership support so that we can continue to be a viable organization. Membership dues of $50 per cottage can be paid by cash or cheque payable to Limerick Waterways Ratepayers Association at any LWRA events or by paypal at: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=ZD54T7B4HVPUC or through the LWRA website https://limerickwra.wordpress.com . Please respond to the email for instructions on mailing a cheque. If you have any trouble with the Paypal link please reply to this email.
Annual General Meeting SATURDAY JULY 7th!!!
Pancake Breakfast for 2 included with your 2018 membership. Additional meals available for $6/adult and $4/child.
AGM will follow at 10:00 a.m. This year we will feature how to use the newly installed AED and a film on septic systems well as updates on the activities of the LWRA.
AUGUST LONG WEEKEND
Canoe Races: Saturday August 4th at 10 am on Frasers Beach
Annual picnic: 12:30 pm at Limerick Lodge. There will be kids games, hamburgers and hot dogs for sale, and time for cottagers of all ages to visit. Please bring chairs and drinks. Food will be available from 12:30 to 2:30.
Sailboat race at 2pm, Sunday August 5th starting at the Coxwell cottage.
EVERY SATURDAY AT 9:00 A.M.
Danielle Yohn of Caverly Bay is providing yoga on the dock every Saturday morning. You must register by Thursday for a Saturday session. Just text her at 613-438-2266.
Highlights of 2017
Last year we applied for and received funding from FOCA for education on invasive species. We used the funding to create and install signs at Limerick Lodge, St. Ola Lake and Mephisto Lake boat launches with steps to avoid transferring invasive species between lakes. Our project was included in the FOCA newsletter this year
Have a wonderful summer.
Mary Argue and Kim Carson, LWRA