Friday, May 14, 2010

Wrapping up the 2010 Profiles

Ken Taylor

Ken Taylor has spent the past few weeks knee deep in neoprene and fibreglass patching his wetsuit and his boat in preparation for another season as Commodore of VBYC. No need to ask what the frequency is this summer as Kenneth has shooed all the rats out of his sailing gear and stepped the proverbial mast for Summer 2010. Hopes abound that Kenny T and the rest of the Yacht Club membership can make at least one decision this summer after a series of well-publicized meetings held over the winter at his Cactus Cove home in the heart of the cruel desert of South St. Vital accomplished absolutely nothing. Alas, it must be noted that K-Dog's heart and soul are focused on competition and he will likely hold racing first and foremost. Rumour has it that Killer-T has wielded his power as Commodore to sanction a series of late-night single-boat 'races' on dates of which only he knows. Those points should help the defending champ hold onto the multi-hull title along with what VBYC racing analysts are calling a 'sure bet' for another Course Corrector trophy. Though last year's public celebration was remarkably reserved, suspicions of a private celebration were later confirmed. An interview with Traverse Bay Corner staff revealed that the old tar had purchased an entire case of Presidential Sparkling Wine in the hours leading up to the awards ceremony and the subsequent issue of 'Policeman's Corner' in the VB Herald put aside any doubt. The article read: "VB Police responded to complaints of excessive noise at approximately 2:40am early Sunday morning at a summer residence in the restricted area. Corporal Lindsey Stevens detained a wetsuit clad man pouring champagne (later identified as sparkling wine) all over himself as Queen's "We are the Champions/We will rock you" played on repeat at an inappropriate volume through a portable stereo. The man was later released as he cited an important pending engagment at 10am that morning at 2 Victoria Bay." Regardless of Summer MMX racing developments, late night revellers at the annual Wind-up can be assured of a sangria-soaked plea from K-Bomb for help de-rigging his boat.

More Summer 2010

Jonathan Beardsley

You thought he was dead? Or in Brazil? Yeah, so did we. But nope, Beardo has been in town all winter. Resting, presumably, for 2010. Whether he’s being torn into at his own Thanksgiving dinner, or bringing his hipster front to the sandy shores of CHouse Beach, this guy’s friendly demeanour always brightens the mood. An original windsurfer among his generation, look for The Big Struggle to be a force to be reckoned with this summer - or not, it’s hard to tell. But we love him.

Christopher Chipman

Slowly rebuilding the VB bridges he systematically burned one at a time through his teenage years, this wildcat is looking to contend in a serious way in 2010. A long-time windsurfer and founding Elk-Idaist, Chris brings the heat. Yet another strong curler (seriously, what is with the fucking curling?) Chippers is like a fine wine - in that they’re both awesome to party with. Though his work schedule conflicts with maximum shredding, at one point this spring he’s going to drive down to VB, stop by his cottage to grab Heshbag’s Iphone, cruise the Yacht, rig up Benny’s gear and blow everyone’s mind. Go Dip!

Jeremy Ritsema

Multi-hull extraordinaire. Some people thought this guy’s predilection for Hobie’s was a result of having the legs of a runway model. But then he got up on an old windsurfer pulled behind a motorboat and stayed on for almost two hours. At one point he lit a cigarette - with both hands. This guy’s good at anything water-based. It doesn’t hurt that Ol’ Jers has two mentors: not only is he the son of Kron Ritsema, he’s also been making challenging cuts for Hankus Lodekus for years. With his golden locks and benign temperament it comes as no surprise that Mr. Ritsema is a sought after name for companies hoping for endorsements. In the past year he has appeared in commercials for Heinz’s new juice line, HJ!; Export ‘A’ Gold cigarettes ("Ever smoked the Gold at the end of a rainbow?"); and Ya Ya, the popular energy bar. Whatever Jers is selling, we’re buying in 2010.

Ryan van Berkel

Superfriend Ryan van Berkel, where to start? A relative newcomer to Number 2 Victoria Avenue, Berkel has taken the place by storm. Two years ago he joined the club and quickly mastered windsurfing, without ever using his gear. Last year he followed in His Honour Orest Dackow’s footsteps and transitioned to multi-hulls. His racing season was hobbled by his innate sociability but he and crew Matthew Macleod were serious contenders for each of the Club’s two hotly contested bingo derbies. As a potential manager of Alexander James Tooley’s 2012 commodore bid, van Berkel has lately been the subject of intense speculation. Though insiders report that a tension-filled curling season opened a fissure between skip and crew, both camp van Berkel and camp Macleod claim they are on good terms and are hoping for the best in 2010. Furhter, reports surfaced last week suggesting that Mr. van Berkel was considering a purchase of the Moonlight-In. His lawyer, an Aikins star, denied those reports (or at least that’s what we think he was saying - he wasn’t, shall we say, perfectly coherent). A blog post drew attention yesterday when it speculated that Mr. van Berkle’s recent trip to Toronto was to visit a specialized dermatologist to treat a rare skin condition caused by uncontrollable rubbing of the neck. Yep, this guy is a gossip-mill: if he’s not the subject, he’s the source. Chances are, he’ll also be the source of some swell sailing for years to come.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

More Summer 2010

Benjamin Peterson

Two or three years ago, as the wind pushed past 30 knots, Aaron Vincent asked BoPie if he’d cruise by the pier for some action shots. Ben, having windsurfed all morning reluctantly agreed. He looked tired. After fighting through that widow-making onshore Clubhouse break, Benny screamed past the pier ten or fifteen times. Vincent crouched on the pier, his legs curled under him at impossible angles, a plastic bag stretched over his ridiculous camera. Back on the beach, we watched as Ben crashed onto shore, exhausted. Someone ran into the water to grab his battered gear. Benny vomited all over his wetsuit and then fell onto his back. Chenzo got off his towel and causally strode down to the water. He looked over the collapsed snarfer. "Peterson . . . if you don’t get closer to the pier, I’m not even going to bother taking your picture. You’re just wasting my time here." As Penny McMorris once pointed out from the Yacht Club deck, this kid is an aggressive fucking windsurfer. Though not a born windsman like fellow Elk-Ideist AJ Tooley, or a rig-mauling beast like Pooh-Bear Sorensen, Bennay is still his generation’s premier talent. If in 2010 you glance out onto that cruel mistress of a lake in a blistering gale you will see Roland, Ted, maybe a McCaig - and this fella.

Matthew Macleod

Matt Macleod isn’t actually that short, but for some reason he seems like it. Maybe it’s because he’s weighed down by his gravitas. Whatever, it’s killer on a boat. This guy is quickly making a name for himself among the old bulls around the Yacht Club. On day last year Kenneth Taylor asked who the young bearded gentleman was. Someone said ‘Mittens’. Kenneth said I thought that guy was Mittens. 'No' we said, 'that’s Muffin'. KT looked confused. But KT always looks confused so don’t sweat it. Another individual coming off a hot curling season, Mr. Macleod was long rumoured to be looking to trade-up to a more prestigious boat. Those rumours have died off but insiders report there are negotiations ongoing between Mr. Macleod and his skip Ryan van Berkel as to who will be in command for 2010. The only certainty is that together, they are an almost frighteningly friendly team. So when that flag pole starts clanking annoyingly as a crisp wind slaps across the bay, look for Macleod’s Cheshire grin to be replaced by a slightly more conservative smile: it’s business time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

More Summer 2010

Alexander James Tooley

With a group of friends, Sir Mark Tooley bought a limousine and drove it sporadically through much of the 1980s. Lauren Skelly was, as a newborn, brought home from the hospital in it. The gang gave a friend of theirs a chauffeur’s hat and paid her to drive them around. Once, they saw her wearing the hat off-duty. She was fired on the spot. Yeah, the Tooleys have great stories. And it’s likely AJ will make some new ones this summer. Some of those stories will undoubtedly derive from on-water antics. This aristo-cat has a legendary feel for the wind, and is technically among Elk-Ida’s finest sailors: it has been said he can maneuver a windsurfer through the neck of a beer bottle - but he claims he’s never tried. Fresh off an award-winning curling season, AJ is set to put it on smash. This Friday, he and Conrad Black host a white tie wake for Bryn Oliver where the glitterati will party like it’s 2006 - leave your Roots sweatshirt at home.

More Summer 2010

James Thomas

On rare occasions when he isn't dining with his family or reading a novel under the shade of an Elm tree in the Village Green, James Thomas can usually be found enjoying the sunny Western end of the Yacht Club deck. Indeed, on a beautiful Saturday morning James is often the first member of the non-racing crowd to arrive and can be counted on for a warm welcome, pizza bun, fresh Export Gold, and the latest news from the New York Times. The eldest son of Greg 'Big Cat' Thomas, renowned sailor and longtime VBYC member, is filling his father's sailing shoes confidently but respectfully as he keeps the family's monohull tradition alive with strong windsurfing skills and impeccable style. It has been alledged that his commitment to a single hull is so strong that James has never once set foot on a Hobie Cat. While the rumoured ambition of 2012 Commodoreship proved to be unfounded speculation and disappointed many members of the Club, it is reassuring to know that James is carrying a lot of sail into the unknown waters of Summer MMX.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Yacht Club 2010

This starts a week-long series previewing the 2010 Victoria Beach Yacht Club racing season . . .

Roger Ritsema

Rarely has crewing been quite so ice-cold. Mr. Ritsema famously brings a degree of menacing nonchalance and blue-eyed aloofness to 2 Victoria Street (where the venerable Yacht Club gazes out onto the steely water). Mr. Ritsema spent the winter training at the University of Winnipeg’s elite Nautical Centre under master skip and former federal Minister for Water Sports, Dr. Lloydington P. Axworthy. In January, Mr. Ritsema led a much-publicized research expedition to the frozen edge of the Elk Island World Heritage Site. An account of the expedition was published in Science but was questioned on the veracity of some of its more surreal assertions - piles of frozen fish heads and lone wolfs loping out into the frigid horizon? Yeah, right Rog. Known for his seriousness and dedication to craft, the North End born legacy of seafarer Kronald Ritsema was spotted last week crooning at a hip Village speak-easy. You can bet the song was from Top Gun because this young guy is a true Iceman.

Tom Aldridge

This Beach Cat has sired more rumours than Bruce Fuckin’ Willis (that's a pun on Rumer Willis for you losers who haven't torn the roof off with her and L.Lo at the Manning's formerly annual Gin Bash). Is this the year Tom gets back on a boat with his father, Chris ‘Adult Dance’ Aldridge? We honestly have no clue - but we did see his picture in the paper one day, which may or may not have been planted by the Aldridge’s PR people in advance of a high-profile comeback. Good thing he works for Canadian Linen, because if this fearsome pro is back on a boat this summer, his opponents are going to be wiping away a lot of tears.

Daniel Schott

Schootsie has more nicknames than the Wu put together. That’s the way this elusive cat rolls. Does he live at VB? Calgary? On Victoria Island? Bermuda? In February he was photographed sipping a Mulberry (believe me it’s a cocktail, it's just that people here aren’t cool enough to know about it yet) with Joe Biden, Chloe Sevigny, and the world’s foremost Grace Kelly impersonator at a hotel bar in Ibiza. Yeah, that Ibiza. So what does summer 2010 have in store for Za Muff? - You think we'd know? Speculation abounds that he has finally combined his one-seat hovercraft and 18 foot Hobie into a well-lacquered superboat. Don’t bet on it. Speculation abounds that he’s finally going to open his under-Shack lair-slash-windsurfing museum to his friends and the interested public. Don’t bet on it. Speculation abounds that he will replace his brother with Obama’s latest nominee for the Supreme Court, Elena Caveman Kagan, as his crew in high wind races. But you know, don’t bet on it.

- Compiled from briefing notes kept by Allen Willoughby