Sailing regatta hooks young officer

Acting Sub-Lieutenant Ian Marcoux competes during the Admiral’s Cup regatta at the Indian Naval Academy in Ezhimala, Kerala State. Photo by LCdr Charles Edgeworth

Acting Sub-Lieutenant Ian Marcoux competes during the Admiral’s Cup regatta at the Indian Naval Academy in Ezhimala, Kerala State. Photo by LCdr Charles Edgeworth

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

It was an initiation to remember for Acting Sub-Lieutenant Ian Marcoux, 22, as he tackled his first international regatta in the Land of Spices.

The Naval Warfare Officer trainee travelled to southern India’s Kerala State Dec. 2 to 8, 2017, representing the Royal Canadian Navy in the sailing competition held at Indian Naval Academy in Ezhimala.

He finished 50th in a field of 55 sailors representing 27 navies from around the world.

“It was a fantastic initiation for me into the whole concept of regattas,” said A/SLt Marcoux. “I learned so much in a short time, not only what a real race was like, but I also picked up on so many areas to improve technically as a competitor.”

In the opening phase of the regatta, he and the other novice sailors competed in single-person laser-class dinghies against elite-level sailors, some of whom had Olympic experience. 

“This was my first-ever race. I had learned some basic sailing skills, but now it was all about shifting gears quickly and learning all of the rules and the technical side of the sport that comes with practice and experience,” said A/SLt Marcoux. “As a sportsman I also wanted to live up to all those good Canadian stereotypes [during the competition], and the nature of sailing and right-of-way rules led me to apologizing frequently.”

The novice level sailors were eventually demoted to the competition’s lower division for the final two days of the competition.

The Russian team looked poised to win the Admiral’s Cup, but organizers ruled they fielded ineligible sailors, leaving the United States the regatta’s overall winners.

Members of the Canadian Forces Sailing Association and Naval Fleet School (Pacific) Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Chris Maier helped prepare A/SLt Marcoux, teaching him basic sailing and seamanship skills needed to safely compete and finish the regatta.

During the regatta, he was coached by his Officer In Charge, Lieutenant-Commander Charles Edgeworth, a competitive sailor with years of experience who works as a Senior Staff Retention Officer at the RCN’s Naval Reserve Headquarters in Toronto.

He watched the first of A/SLt Marcoux’ races from a nearby observer boat and said the young sailor showed great promise. He worked closely with A/SLt Marcoux on getting a better starting position and adjusting to the race course, which changed from a windward to leeward course as the competition wore on. 

“The credit I give him is that he always maintained good seamanship, a positive attitude and safety in the sailing of his boat, and followed the guidelines and rules of the competition,” said LCdr Edgeworth.

With his first competition under his belt, A/SLt Marcoux says wants to become a member of the CFSA and continue recreational sailing and racing in his spare time. Since his first experience sailing on fleet school’s 36-foot training vessel HMCS Goldcrest in 2015 he not only realized it was something he liked doing, but that mastering the age-old skill would also be beneficial for his naval career.

“I’d say sailing in general is something intrinsic to the navy and the more comfortable you are on the water, and the more familiar you become with the elements at sea, the more comfortable you are in your job at sea,” said A/SLt Maroux. “It’s one of those recreational activities that translates into a practical skill to have.”

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