Each year, Kanata Sailing Club holds a “12-Mile Island” event as a long distance race. We’ll be doing things a bit different this year, so please read on.
Where is 12-Mile Island?
The island, also called Ile Allen, is upriver (i.e. away from Ottawa) a good distance from KSC. You sail North-West, past Pinhey’s Point, through the narrows at the Port-of-Call Marina, past Baskin’s Beach (both on the Ontario side), around the island, then back downriver to KSC. Note that we recommend that you stay near the centre of the channel, especially when you’re sailing on the Quebec side of the island as it can get a bit shallow there.
How long does it take?
Depending on the wind conditions, and the type of boat you sail, a round trip journey generally takes the better part of a day. The record, as far as I’m aware, is just over 2 hours (set in a fast catamaran, on a big-wind day, by ridiculously skilled and fast sailors). On a more typical day, it’ll take 3+ hours in a cat, 4+ hours in an Albacore. A light wind day could take 5 or more hours.
I don’t want to sail that far.
We have another option, and we’ll get to that. Please keep reading.
How is it fair to people who sail slower boats?
We “handicap” the time. There are generally accepted ratios as to how fast different boats sail. The RYA (the UK equivalent of Sail Canada) maintains the handicaps for a bunch of boats. According to their numbers for example, the Albacore is slightly faster than the Laser. So, if a Laser can do a course in 60 minutes then it should take an Albacore 57 minutes and a Hobie 16 catamaran should be able to do it in 44 minutes. We don’t consider the handicaps on our normal race nights, but will do so for this event. The 2017 list of Portsmouth handicap numbers for monohulls can be found here and for cats here (we’ll be using the “PN Look-a-like” numbers for the cats).
Smaller numbers mean the boat should be theoretically be faster.
Okay, so let’s say I want to participate in the 12-Mile Island Event. What’s the plan?
In previous year’s we’ve run the event as a “race” with a start line, and finish line, etc. This year we’re doing things a bit differently since it’s really boring for a race committee to wait 4 hours for a boat to finish.
We’re setting a target finish time of 3:30pm. You can start whenever you would like (be it 11:06am, 9:48am, noon, 1:21pm if you’re really optimistic, etc). There will be a bouy in front of the sailing club to act as a starting/finishing point. Sail from downriver, as close to the bouy as possible, to start your island rounding. Record what time you started. As you finish, pass the bouy as close as possible again and record your finish time. Alternatively, you can use a stopwatch to track how long the run took you.
We’ll figure out an “adjusted time” based on your elapsed time and your boat’s handicap.
Once everyone is back at the club (target 3:30pm with a 4:15pm cut-off) we’ll crunch the numbers and see who did the rounding in the least amount of adjusted time. Winners to be announced as soon as is practical after everyone is ashore.
As of July 25, the wind forecast is for moderate winds (maybe on the light side of moderate). I would encourage monohull sailors to target a start time of around 11:00. This would get you home right on time if the rounding takes you 4hr 30min. Having a group of monohulls all leaving at the same time also allows you to keep an eye on each other.
What to I win?
Bragging rights, and a round of applause at the club’s AGM. Also, this counts as one of the roundings for the 12-Mile Island Challenge and the trophies that go along with that.
12-Mile Island Challenge? What’s that?
KSC founding members Harry Adderley and Ken Eaves have challenged the members of the club to round 12-Mile Island as many times as they can in a season. There are trophies for those who complete:
- the most roundings in a cat
- the most roundings with a double-handed monohull
- the most roundings with a single-handed monohull
If you round the island as part of this event, it counts towards your yearly total. Note that in 2016, there were no single-handed monohull roundings, and only 2 (I think) double-handed roundings, so if you had done the 12-Mile Event in a Laser, you would have won. On a tangential note, I had heard that Carla challenged Norm to round the island in an Opti, so we’ll see if that pans out. Norm, I suggest you leave the club at 8:00am to make it back by 3:30.
I’m not ready to commit to that long a voyage. Is there another option?
Yes! I’ll be dropping a bouy in the middle of the river just past Pinhey’s Point. This is about 1/2 way to 12-Mile Island. We’ll actually announce two winners — the fastest time around the island, and the fastest time around the 1/2 way mark. So, if you can’t get to the club until say 12:30, you might be able to grab a boat and do the half-run before the cut off.
I’m sold, how do I sign up?
Just show up at the club on Saturday July 29, rig your boat, and start your sail! I aim to have the start mark in the water by 10:00, and the 1/2 mark shortly after. As mentioned, aim to finish as close to 3:30, as possible, so everyone arrives back at the club around the same time. Bring something to BBQ, a drink or two, and we’ll go through the results. We’ll consider boats not finished by 4:15 disqualified.
Boats are first-come-first-serve.
Why the 4:15 cut off time?
This gives us time to crunch numbers, announce winners, and go out in the powerboat to pick up the half-way mark. If we see any KSC boats struggling to make it back to the club, we’ll also give them a tow home, but please be advised that KSC should not be considered a rescue service. Use your good judgement to take into account your sailing skills, experience, and weather conditions (both forecast and observed).
I don’t want to sail solo. How can I find a skipper/crew?
Send me an email at email@example.com if you’re looking for someone to sail with. I’ll try to get people who email me in touch with each other.