September 17, 2010 posted by admin

What’s your first memory?

When I was four years old I can vividly remember being poised on the
rail of a sailboat in a distance race. I was sitting next to my mom.

The wind was howling at about 30 knots and the waves were crashing down
the side decks. I can still remember telling my mom that I wanted to go sit on
the low side. Here is where I got my first lesson in racing. She explained to
me how I needed to sit on the high side to help keep the boat flat in heavy
air! Fact is I had been sailing since day one on my family’s cruiser and racing
was in my blood from the start.

Throughout my teen years I graduated through sailing school programs and
then went on to teach sailing. It was great! Teach during the day then climb on
board and go racing in the evenings!

By the time I was 20ish, my husband and I bought our first boat….. a
Thunderbird. 26 feet of hard chine and one design racing….once she was put back
together again!  Did I mention she’s plywood?  With our new project we decided
to make Ashbridge’s Bay Yacht Club our home.

ABYC has an interesting heart to it.
They strongly value the spirit of helping out your neighbor.  Every Saturday morning there’s a work party
and people come down and pitch in with different projects.  It’s a way to keep costs down, but also
naturally build great friendships.  ABYC very quickly felt like home to us.  I
learned most of my carpentry skills there and ALL of my welding skills there while
maintain and building docks during the winters!
These core beliefs are what shaped a lot of who I am today and I have
ABYC to thank for that.

After spending 3 years putting the T-bird together with the help of our
new friends in the T-bird fleet, we were off to the races.  For years we were a 4 up team, racing in
local club functions and events throughout Lake Ontario and even into the
United States.  Problem is I’m always looking to the next horizon and something new to challenge me. Soon my next
target was single handed racing in the Lake Ontario Short Handed Racing Series.
There was something intriguing about racing alone.

I spent two winters converting our T-bird to
meet the rules requirements of short handed racing and by the end of my first
single handed race I was hooked! Next came the Lake Ontario 300….but I was
hungry for more. After a few years racing laps around the lake, my focus turned
to the Atlantic and the Mini Transat. What could be more amazing than racing
single handed over 4300 nautical miles…..solo, on a boat you can fit in your
living room and scream downwind at 20 knots!


Diane’s credentials
RYA Yachtmaster Ocean, Commercially endorsed
Sail Canada World Sailing Offshore Personal Survival Instructor
Sail Canada Keelboat Instructor of Basic Cruising to Offshore Cruising, Navigation and Racing
Sail Canada Instructor Evaluator