The sun emerged for the second day of sailing at the 2012 BC Summer Games and it made a difference. After yesterday’s extreme storm, today’s calmer waves and pleasant breeze left the weather-worn athletes with a refreshing outlook harnessed by a few into a shiny new medal.
Crescent Beach’s friendly conditions were reflected in the lighthearted attitude of the competitors, who enjoyed snacks like Popsicles and “bunwiches” as they waited for the results to be finalized in the afternoon.
The relaxed atmosphere surrounding Surrey Sailing Club as the athletes returned to shore might lead spectators to wonder: What runs through the mind of a sailor in the midst of a fast-paced race?
“A lot of hatred,” joked Vancouver’s Connor MacKenzie, who earned bronze in the 420 class with his partner Elmiri Hakkinen also of Vancouver. MacKenzie added, “The mood definitely changes depending on your place in the fleet.”
Despite these temperamental swings, however, camaraderie prevailed for Connor and his Vancouver-Squamish (Zone 5) fleet. No matter their placing, they were all rewarded for their determination with warm smiles from their teammates.
“It felt great to be up there with friends,” Connor concluded.
Plus, it’s simply “lots of fun screwing around on a sailboat,” adds Ryan Cordingley from West Vancouver (Vancouver-Squamish – Zone 5). After he discovered sailing four years ago, he was attracted to racing because “it’s fast-paced and strategic,” he said. He placed second overall in the male Laser Radials category.
But it’s not all about winning for this enthusiastic athlete.
“Don’t worry about placing and just have fun with the sport,” Cordingley assures newcomers.
“It feels really nice to have the wind in your face and the sun shining,” said Tara Yuen, a Vancouverite (Vancouver-Squamish – Zone 5) who placed first overall in the Optimist Red Fleet division.
“Tactics, being out there with my friends, [and] trying to do better each time,” she said were her top priorities on the water, and this mindset has also served her well in exotic competition locales such as Argentina.
“She’s worked hard… we’re really excited and happy for her,” said Tara’s mother, who beamed with pride as Tara stood on the top tier of the podium.
The medal ceremonies ended at 5 p.m. with a heartfelt rendition of the national anthem and the rousing applause of happy parents and athletes.
by Rachel Davidson
(special to Black Press)