Commodore’s Letter 2010

Dear Families, Friends and Supporters:

The eighth and final instructor newsletter of the summer of 2009 began with these words:

“Alas, it is with heavy hearts that we come to this: the last week of sailing club! If only summer could last forever! Soon, it will be back to school and boredom and pasty skin and checking the 2010 countdown clock on every day in eager anticipation. But tears must not be shed yet, for it ain’t over til the fat lady sings (replace ‘fat lady’ with ‘all of us screaming to Paradise by the Dashboard Light this Friday night’!).”

Well, the great summer of 2009 did finish a week after those prophetic words and it did finish to the familiar voices of the Sturgeon Lake Sailing Club dance pack belting out the words of the Meatloaf classic: “Though it’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night, I can see paradise by the dashboard light”- sounds that have been drifting out onto Sturgeon Lake on the last Friday night of Club for decades.

But the sadness at the end of club in 2009 is now replaced by mounting excitement and anticipation: the summer of 2010 is almost upon us!  Our sailors are getting their dance shoes fitted, their lifejackets out of storage, their sun screen purchased.  Prospective Mosquitoes are a little nervously anticipating their first season of sailing, the race team is putting together its schedule, Facebook walls are being filled with notes from summer friends. Yes, we are beginning to gear up for another glorious season of sailing and hanging out with friends, of fresh air and morning games and sailing races and movies and pizza and, of course, Friday night dances.  The 54th season of Club is close at hand, the staff of 2010 is assembled, and I am writing my Commodore’s letter with a hearty heart and a great deal of excitement for what is in store. 

So, without further ado, a description of some of that ‘in store’ stuff:


We have an outstanding 2010 staff that will give us great leadership again this summer.  It is comprised of two instructors who are new to the club, two who are returning from last summer and two graduates of the junior program who have now joined the instructor ranks.  We have a group that is energetic, imaginative, enthusiastic and highly capable – and a group that can’t wait to get started!

Ian Hutcheson joins SLSC as Head Instructor for the summer 2010. Ian is a recent graduate of the Environmental Engineering program at the University of Guelph and has run a successful landscaping business for a number of years. He comes to us with plenty of experience coaching sailing as well as coaching skiing.  Last year he was Head Instructor at the Barrie Yacht Club, where our alumnus Mike Petrosoniak was race coach.  We have Mike to thank for steering Ian in our direction.  In addition to his Head Instructor duties, Ian will be coaching our Bronze V sailors.

Evan Burtt is returning for his third summer of coaching at SLSC, this year as coach of our Senior Race Team.  Evan is attending the University of Waterloo in the Applied Health Science faculty in kinesiology. Our race team is less experienced this year and they will develop their racing skills with Evan’s expert guidance.  Evan loves to race and passes on that love to those he coaches.

Chris Moore joins us from the Barrie Yacht Club and will be teaching our Bronze IV group. Chris is attending Acadia University in Nova Scotia and has taught sailing for a number of years at the Barrie Yacht Club. Chris comes to us after spending last summer at Camp Ponacka where he was a Bronze evaluator. Chris is a big sports fan and has experience as a hockey referee, so will be quite capable of managing the Bronze sailors! He will be a great addition to the gang.

Ellen Lourie is back this summer after a great first year last summer.  Ellen has wonderfully imaginative lessons.  She has an off beat sense of humour and huge enthusiasm for Sturgeon.  We are very pleased to have her back as our White Sail III instructor and overall White coordinator.

Kate Thomas joins the instructor ranks as our 8- and 9-year-old Mosquito group leader.  This program made great strides last summer and Kate is looking forward to taking it to the next level.  Her task: to channel the energy of kids who have lots of it.  She is perfectly suited to the task.  She will love the little guys.  She will instil confidence and make learning to sail great fun. 

Amy DesBrisay also joins the instructor ranks this summer as White 1 and II instructor.  For Amy, there is no better place in the world than SLSC.  She loves to sail.  She loves the club and she is looking forward to teaching the White Sail sailors how to make their boats go fast.

You can read more about our staff of 2010 on and we could not be more pleased to have them all on board.

Morning Program Highlights

·      The Buzzing Mosquitoes:  Kate’s Mosquito program is designed to make kids comfortable and happy in a sailboat, all the while having fun at SLSC.  Our youngest sailors learn the basic skills of sailing in our Mosquito fleet, supplemented by our two Optimist dinghies.  The program is designed for beginner 8- and 9-year-old sailors, but beginner sailors who are a little older are welcome to join if they are looking for a gentle introduction to SLSC.  The program combines sailing with games and crafts and fun and Kate will make it that!

·      Wednesday Night Races will be returning this summer…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.  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 will be set out in the weekly instructor newsletters.

·      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 Civic Holiday Regatta.  (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 instructor newsletters and posted on the website.  These are nights organized by the Silver Sail group and they are planning already, I am sure. These nights are very much part of the sailing club experience and they mix kids and instructors from ages 8 to 25.  All are welcome!


·      We have held our Program fees to the same as they were last year: $175.00 per week per junior (and $140.00 for the four-day week following the Civic Holiday Monday).

·      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.

Club Racing

·      Sunday Afternoon Race Series:  July 4, 11 and August 8 and 22.

We are proposing the same format as last summer for the Sunday afternoon race series: show up on Sundays at 12:30 p.m., 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 2010 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. 

·      Civic Regatta:  Saturday July 31.

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. 

The Canadian Laser Masters

The racing highlight of the summer of 2010 will be the Canadian Laser Masters Regatta, hosted by SLSC.  The regatta will be a great celebration of dinghy racing as a lifelong passion – with Canadian and international sailors aged 35 to 75 showcasing their skills. The regatta will take place from Friday July 23 to Sunday July 25 and we will witness some truly outstanding sailing from these masters of the sport. 

We have earned a reputation for hospitality and as a club that puts on great regattas and this event will be another wonderful opportunity to show our guests what a special community we have here.  We have offered to billet all of the competitors at cottages around Sturgeon Point and we will need lots of beds.  I would greatly appreciate it if those able to offer beds could to do so.  Sailors will be fed breakfasts, lunches and dinners communally at the club and on the water.  The Saturday night dinner will be at Wiseners’, so it is only beds (and not meals) that we are looking for.  We also need more volunteers for other tasks.  If you are able to help out with beds or otherwise, please email us at [email protected].  We need as many contributors and volunteers as we can get.

A Gala of a Different Ilk

We are hosting a different Gala this summer…Well not really a gala at all…more of…well, more of a gathering…a gathering of family and friends and supporters…with libations and hors d’oeuvres and chatter and a presentation and some fund raising activities added to the mix.  It will all take place…the gathering, the family and friends and supporters, the libations, the chatter, the presentation and the fund raising…and maybe other mystery stuff … on Saturday July 10. We’ll send out more teasers, but mark your summer calendars, because it’s going to be good and you’ll want to be there…mark my words!

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. 

If you have anything you would like to post to the website, please email it to me at [email protected] 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 Lake awaits its sailors and the sailors await their Lake. The website will soon have our count down ticker up – the countdown to the start of Club at 8:30 a.m. on Monday July 5, 2010.  The anticipation is mounting. It’s going to be a great summer!

Best Regards,

Hugh DesBrisay

Leave a Comment