Some might consider them a couple of crazy cats. Especially after they crossed the Strait of Georgia in their catamaran.
But Simon Sarty-Peterson and William-Patrick Blouin-Comeau are really only crazy about one thing – sailing their Hobie Tiger Formula 18 racing boat to the best of their abilities.
Sarty-Peterson (helm) and Blouin-Comeau (crew), both 18, are Team Wyred. They are coached by Andrew Robinson of Compass Adventure in Comox.
They crossed the strait on March 6, when conditions were optimal for the adventure. “We left Comox at 5:30 a.m. and drove to Nanaimo,” said Blouin-Comeau. “We left by 9:30 a.m. and got to Jericho Beach around noon, two-and-a-half hours.”
The trip wasn’t without incident. “We flipped three times,” says Blouin-Comeau. “The first time within 45 minutes of beginning. We were a bit edgy after that. And we flipped it twice in the middle of the strait.
“We enjoyed it, but it was not a comfortable ride. There were five- to eight-foot swells all the way there. It’s definitely something we would do again, but on a bigger boat.”
The duo decided to make the crossing during a training session last October and have been preparing for it ever since. “We were thinking of doing something out of the ordinary that not anybody does,” Blouin-Comeau said. “We presented the idea to Compass Adventure and our sponsor Helly Hansen and they were really supportive.”
The trip was also a way for Team Wyred to hone their skills with their high-performance sailboat. “We’re possibly the only people, at least in the North Island, that owns one. We’re the only youth F18 team in Canada. No other people under 20 that we know of sails this class of boat,” Blouin-Comeau said, noting “all other F18 teams are mostly 25 to 45” years of age.
“Our goal as a youth team in this sport is to challenge ourselves to compete in a mostly men-driven, older people-driven sport. We want to take a goal that usually takes five years and compress it into one year. We have to train five times as stronger, get mentally prepared, and get used to the boat itself.”
The team is now preparing for the North American Youth Wave Championships in Seattle this June and the Red Bull Around the Strait race in Vancouver in August. Their long-range goal is to compete at the World F18 Championships.
Sarty-Peterson and Blouin-Comeau are Mark R. Isfeld grads who have been involved in a variety of sports. “You name it, between the two of us, we’ve probably done it,” says Blouin-Comeau, adding that living by the ocean and mountains provides for excellent pursuit of outdoor activities.