View Full Version : Martinus Sailing Club

05-20-2012, 10:08 AM
Growing up in Toronto for the majority of my life, I had never beheld the ocean or any large water body other than the few scattered beaches around Toronto. Yet in Curacao, it is impossible to go a few steps without taking in the marvellous view of the sea all around the island. And of course, wherever you find water, you're sure to find...sailing! That's right, you probably know someone in our school who sails or has been sailing, whether casually or competitively. However, the biggest sailing event of the year is undoubtedly the Curacao Regatta 2012. And this year, I had the wonderful opportunity to be part of one of the three teams representing St. Martinus faculty of Medicine.
So for those of you who don't know, the Curacao Regatta 2012 is an annual sailing competition that takes place on the Spanish waters off the coast of Curacao. This year, the race occurred over Easter weekend (April 6 and 7) with 104 participants. Although you could find boats of all shapes and sizes at the event, the two classes of boats that were in the Spanish waters were the Centaurs and Optimists; the larger sailboats went deeper into the sea. Each boat had three participants: a skipper (who was responsible for steering the boat and handling the mainsail), a tagger (responsible for handling the front sail on the boat, also known as the headsail) and the lookout (who was responsible for guiding the sailboat and warding off boats that got too close).
St. Martinus was participating in the Regatta for the first time ever. The entry of our school was organized by Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Dr. R**** T****, an avid long-time sailor. He assembled three teams, one of which was in collaboration with the local hospital, Capriles. All three teams were organized in the Centaurs class, which was comprised of 12 teams. Having no sailing experience I was nervous at first. However, I was excited for the opportunity to represent my school and experience something new. So I agreed and gave it a shot. After a couple of days of training and talking to and meeting with the other members of my team (K** and P***), I was finally ready for the big day.
Our mornings on the water started around 8:30 each day. Initially, we were required to set up the boat by assembling the various pieces. The sailboats used for the competition were through Prosail and we were docked near their main unit prior to every race. After initial set-ups, we went out into the water and waited for the foghorn to sound. Once underway, we tagged behind one of the race favourites from the Optimist class and courtesy of favourable winds and quick reaction times; we were surprisingly able to win the first race in our class. The next couple of races also went well. We also had a good time during the breaks, as we got to meet members of the other team and other racers, as well as got a chance to network with members of the Capriles team. The breaks were especially useful after the rigours of each race.
I was the lookout for the first four races and I was assisting the team by watching out for other boats. However, the real fun happened when I was the tagger for the final three races. As the tagger, I had to quickly switch the headsail whenever a change in direction was needed. The skipper would yell "Attack!" and everyone would jump into action. I had to untie the knot on one end, duck under the sail as it swung around while still maintaining a grip on the rope and retie it on the other end. And to make things challenging this manoeuver was supposed to be done within 5-10 seconds, to avoid loss of speed. Overall, I learned a lot about sailing, teamwork and even managed to improve my reaction time by the end.
The second day went much better than the first. We won two out of our three races, but what made the day even more special was the majority of the faculty and a few students came out to show their support. They had a pretty good view of the action too, as they were on Dr. Y*** yacht and were able to snap quite a few good pictures. Our wins (which we were able to pull off with great teamwork, coordination and a competitive spirit) were also celebrated with everyone at the awards ceremony, where we were awarded medals. Afterwards, we went out to celebrate with everyone and enjoyed a well-deserved meal.
All in all, the competition was fulfilling, both personally and from a school spirit point of view. Not only did our team win in our class, but I was able to enjoy the company of my peers, meet new people and learn a lot about sailing, all in the span of a couple of days. Due to the success and turnout of the St. Martinus teams, our school will be starting a Martinus Sailing Club (MSC) and is looking to increase participation in the future. So, everyone put on your sailor hats and start preparing for the next season. I hope to see you all there!

05-21-2012, 03:17 PM
way to go SMU. We are proud of you

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