(photo and story submitted by Ali ten Hove)
I grew up in the amazing sailing community of Kingston which provided me with the rich experience of world-class sailing right in my own backyard. CORK was the highlight event every summer that I would look forward to and watch with amazement as Kingston filled up with hundreds of sailors from across the country and from across the globe.
My first time racing in CORK was in 2008 sailing when I sailed in the Opti fleet. I was 12 years old and finished 69/98 boats. Given the strong southwesterlies, I was proud just to finish all the races! I continued to compete in CORK for many years, progressing through Optis, 420s and i420s before graduating to the Olympic 49er FX class.
Anyone who has ever sailed a skiff knows that it is an entirely different beast. If you let it, the boat will want to spend all of the time upside down! You are constantly focused on balancing the boat using your weight and adjusting the power in the sails. This takes some time to learn, and the first year of sailing the 49er is often referred to as ‘swimming lessons’. Big wipeouts and punishing bruises are an inevitable part of process.
(Ali and Mariah Millen in the 49erFX)
My first time racing the 49er FX was at CORK OCR in 2016. In true Kingston style, we were greeted with strong thermal winds and steep choppy waves! I think I lost count of how many times we flipped upside down. Undeterred, I am happy to report that we finished every race! Never giving up and battling to cross the finish line each and every time. There are some funny photos of our team out of control crossing the finish – always with a smile on our face. We ended up finishing the event in 5th place!
Our team has continued to race in CORK OCR every year since. It continues to be one of our favourite events! CORK is a fun, safe and competitive event for sailors of all levels to come and test their skills. It’s always fun to think back to our first FX regatta as a team – getting dragged by our boat across the finish line! Never a dull moment sailing a 49er, especially in a big Kingston thermal!
(Ali and Mariah Millen with Danielle Boyd)
Thank you for sharing your story with us Ali!
If you have story that you would like to share with others tag us in a story on social media or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are looking forward to hearing from you!
The CORK Team
CORK website: www.cork.org
CORK Regatta Office: (613)-545-1322
Address: Portsmouth Olympic Harbour 53 Yonge Street, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.