Commodore’s Letter 2009

Dear Families, Friends and Supporters:

            The ice is long gone, the grosbeaks have left for cooler climes, the buds are budding and I am writing my first Commodore’s letter in anticipation of the 53rd season of the Sturgeon Lake Sailing Club.  Our Club continues to build on its 52-year foundation by making nervous first time sailors feel comfortable, by encouraging returning sailors to improve their skills, by welcoming graduating sailors into the instructor ranks and by providing a fabulous environment for making friends, having fun and learning to sail and race along the way.

For all sorts of reasons, we are particularly excited about what is in store for the summer of 2009 and this letter will set out in my lawyerly way the evidence to support that sense of excitement.

Programs 2009


We are delighted to confirm what readers of the website will already know, that we have what we expect will be an outstanding 2009 staff.  Pete Nyhuus is a former junior clubber, a racer and an instructor for two years, before heading off to teach in Ottawa last summer.  Pete is “pumped”! He will bring his enthusiasm, leadership and offbeat imagination to the program.  In addition to his Head Instructor duties, Pete will be coaching our Bronze 4 sailors.

Murray McCullough is also returning, after a one-year absence to campaign in the 49er Olympic class.  Murray is Murray: a truly outstanding race coach, someone who teaches good sportsmanship as well as racing skills, a very gifted sailor, someone who can combine serious work to improve skills with the sense of fun which is what we are all about.  We are thrilled to have Murray back as our Senior Race Team Coach. 

Evan Burtt returns after a great first year at Sturgeon.  Evan will be teaching the Bronze 5 Group and the Junior Racing crowd.  Evan thoroughly enjoyed his summer at SLSC and we thoroughly enjoyed having Evan.  Evan loves to sail and passes on that love to those he teaches.

Claire DesBrisay (a relative) asked to take on the challenge of teaching White Sail this summer after doing a great job with the Bronze V sailors last summer.  Claire has spent winters teaching skiers to overcome their fears and to navigate their way down a ski hill.  She is looking forward to doing the same sort of thing with our White Sail Group and she will be a great leader of that program.

Claire will be working with Kat Hutton and Ellen Lourie in the White program.  Kat is new to the staff, having taught sailing in the Grand Caymans last summer.  She is an accomplished racer and has experience in teaching younger sailors.  She has visited Sturgeon in the past and is really looking forward to experiencing an SLSC summer and we are looking forward to welcoming her.  Ellen Lourie is a graduate of the Silver Sail Program.  Known for her sense of humour and huge enthusiasm for Sturgeon, Ellen will be a great addition to the staff.

What really distinguishes this group is that they all love to sail and their enthusiasm will be infectious. You can read more about our staff of 2009 on and we could not be more pleased to have them all on board.

Morning Program Highlights

·      Mosquitoes Reign Again this Summer:  Ellen and Kat will be working with Claire to develop our Mosquito Program, which began last summer for eight and nine‑year old sailors.  The program will key in on making kids comfortable and happy in a sailboat and teaching them the basic skills of sailing in our Mosquito fleet.  It was a success last summer and we expect it to be a greater success this summer with a year’s experience behind us.

·      Wednesday Night Races will be returning after a number of years’ absence.  Prompted by the Commodore’s childhood memories of races on moonlit evenings, we have decided to return to the old format.  Early dinner at home, down to the club to get boats ready at 6pm, races held off the public dock and a gentle sail back to the Club as the sun is setting (with the mandatory singing of “Shine on, shine on harvest moon …”) for hot chocolate or cold chocolate served at the Club.  The races will be in 420s and will take place over seven Wednesday evenings from weeks one through seven of the program.  Silver sailors will be encouraged to sail with others.  Further details to be posted.

·      Silver Sail and Bronze Sail Racing:  We have a number of regattas and other events in which our racers will have an opportunity to participate.  These include regattas in Parry Sound, Port Credit, Ottawa and Kingston, as well as our own Mid-Ontario and Civic Holiday Regattas.  (More about these later).

·      Registration:  Enclosed you will find a registration package for the coming summer.  As in past years, we strongly recommend pre-registration, as it makes our planning process easier.

*A reminder to all sailors to bring the following on your first day at the Club:  life jacket (PFD), water shoes (no open-toed shoes), bathing suit and towel, hat, change of clothes, sunscreen and a reusable/refillable bottle of water.

·      Tuesday Night Movies and Friday Night Dances are returning.  Movie titles, times, dance themes and other important information will be provided in newsletters and posted on the website.  These are nights organized by the Silver Sail group and they are planning already, I am sure.


·      Program fees have been set this year at $175.00 per week per junior (and $140.00 for the four-day week following the Civic Holiday Monday).  This is an increase from last year, necessary as we continue to move the Club towards a financial position where operating expenses are covered by operating revenues.

·      As always, no one will be turned away because of financial challenges.  If you require assistance with fees, please speak with Leslie Thomas at 416-234-5506 (in Toronto) or at 705-887-2821 at Sturgeon Point.  There are a limited number of bursaries available.  All conversations will be confidential.

Adult Lessons

·      Pete Nyhuus is considering adult sailing lessons to take place during the summer, probably on weekends.  If you have an interest, please speak with Leslie Thomas, who is taking in expressions of interest and passing them on to Pete, who will do the organizing.


·      Sunday Afternoon Race Series:  July 5, 12 and August 9 and 16.

We are proposing the same format as last summer for the Sunday afternoon race series.  Show up on Sundays at 12:30, with or without a crew.  We will assign people to 420s, without spinnaker and without trapeze.  Individuals will carry their points from one Sunday to the next, regardless of who they sail with.  At the end of the summer, the individual with the most accumulated points under our scoring system will be crowned the 2009 Sunday afternoon race champion and walk away from prize giving with the world’s largest trophy.  Paddles will also be awarded to the top junior, top lady, top parent and top Bronze Sail 4-and-under sailor.  All sailors are encouraged to show up and participate, regardless of experience.  We will match more experienced sailors with less experienced sailors to ensure that everyone gets safely around the race course.  The emphasis on these races will be learning and very, very friendly competition.  Adults and juniors alike are welcome.  The first race will start at 1:30 p.m.  A notice of the race series will be posted on the website and on the community notice board by the park.

·      Civic Regatta:  Saturday August 1.

Juniors and adults alike are encouraged to participate in this annual SLSC regatta.  For those who wish to borrow a Club boat, there may be some available.  There will be a $30.00 rental fee per boat for those who do not have an immediate family member in the Junior Club Program. 

Mid-Ontario Championship Regatta

·      The Mids Regatta is back for the summer of 2009.  It will take place over the weekend of July 25 and 26.  Check out the website for details.  This year’s regatta will be the District 3 Laser, Radial and Laser 2 Championship, as well as the Provincial Club 420 Class Association Championship Regatta.  We are expecting the usual fabulous crowd and will be counting on the usual Sturgeon Point hospitality.  We would encourage and greatly appreciate it if those able to offer beds or campsites could to do so.  Please email me at [email protected] if you are able to help out with beds, campsites or on the water as a safety boat or lunch distributor.  We need as many contributors and volunteers as we can get.

Boat Slips:

There are a number of slips available for rent.  Rates are as follows:

Season (May-October) $250.00

Monthly:  $125.00

Weekend:  $25.00

Please go to the website and complete the form on the “boat slips” page if you have an interest.


We encourage those who are not regular readers of the website to click on  We try to keep adding new blogs and other postings to keep readers apprised of Club goings on.  We will shortly be adding to the gallery of pictures and, as a special project this Summer, we will be working on the history of the Club, which will be added to the History Page as the project continues. 

If you have anything you would like to post to the website, please email it to me and I would be pleased to add your post.  The website also allows anyone to provide comments on any of the items that have been posted, and I would encourage you to do so.

The website contains a count down ticker. If for nothing else, click on the website to see the temporal progress that is being made as the days, hours, minutes and seconds tick down to the start of Club at 8:30 am on Monday July 6, 2009 and get excited!

Best Regards,

Hugh DesBrisay

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