Dear Stony Lakers,
I have heard that this past winter was an extremely cold and unreasonably long one, and I am sure that everyone is counting down the days till a summer spent on Stony Lake. Fortunately I have been able to avoid most of the cold weather this year while training and competing – in the Laser Class - in warmer climates. For me January was spent in Miami preparing for my first peak event of the year, the ISAF Sailing World Cup: Miami. This event is not only the largest North American event on the calendar it is also the final qualifier for the Canadian National Team. This year I managed to post one of my best regatta results to date with a 22nd overall finish. The result was good enough to qualify for a spot Canadian National Team for the first time in my career! There are now two Stony Lake boats on the team with Tom Ramshaw qualifying for what is now his third year on the team.
After the winter season in Florida it was time to look towards the European Spring season. In the past I have competed in only one or two European events each year, largely as a result of a limited budget. This year with my new funding from the national team I planned to spend significantly more time in Europe and compete in five different events. I arrived in Europe, in Palma, Spain, on March 23rd. My first two events were the ISAF Sailing World Cup events in Palma and Hyeres, France. They were both very well attended events with fleets of 160 and 130 boats respectively and many of the top laser sailors in the world in attendance. In both events I struggled to make the adjustment to the larger more competitive fleets, compared to North American racing, and I finished in the 79th and 91st respectively. Tom managed two solid results making Gold Fleet in each event; the fleets are split in half midway through each event. In Hyeres Tom managed a particularly respectable result with a 35th overall finish.
The goal of my Europe trip was to gain experience and with that in mind I headed to my next event, the Garda Trentino Olympic Week held on Lake Garda, Italy. The event in Garda was a great learning experience and I felt that I made some significant improvements. The regatta finished yesterday, May 10th, and I ended up in 38thoverall after qualifying for Gold Fleet for my first time in Europe.
Next up I head to Medemblik, The Netherlands to compete in the Delta Lloyd Regatta. This will be my fourth year in a row competing in this event. It will be a slightly smaller fleet compared to the other events but I expect that it will still be very competitive at the top end of the fleet. After Holland I travel to Split, Croatia for the final event of my European season, the European Championship. At the Europeans there will once again be a large, world class fleet and it will be a good measuring stick for me to see how I’ve improved since the beginning of this trip. For anyone who would like to follow along with my results for the remainder of my Europe trip and beyond check out my campaign website at www.matthewrydersailing.com and for more frequent updates you can like my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/matthewrydersailing.
I’d also like to announce a fundraising event that Tom and I are planning for this summer on Stony. We are working with Nick Strzalkowski to add a silent auction and other activities to the social on August 3rd. We hope to see lots of people that night to catch up, talk about sailing and help Tom and I raise money to attend the World Championships in Santander, Spain in September. If anyone would like to donate anything to the silent auction or has any ideas for donations please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any and all donations and ideas are greatly appreciated as every small contribution goes a long way to helping us achieve our goals and to represent SLYC on the international stage.
Thanks for reading and I hope to see everyone this summer, at the social on August 3rd if not before. Regards,