SLSC at Big Sound Challenge Training Week and Regatta

Ten SLSC racers, Owen, Mich,  Keira, Emma, Megan, Thom, Jacob, Nick, John and Graham, headed off to the Big Sound Challenge in Parry Sound on Monday morning of the first day of Club, led by coach Evan Burtt and Elite Chaperone Leslie Thomas.  The Big Sound Challenge combines two days of coaching from top coaches (including ‘our’ Murray McCullough) with 2 days of racing.  Games and events were plannedin between to keep everyone busy and entertained.

SLSC sailors came from the farthest distance and had the greatest participation of all the clubs in the event…and the event was fabulous.  Many friends from other clubs were made.  Our guys sailed wonderfully, behaved throughout, represented us well, learned lots, had fun and came home with some hardware.  Evan was the busiest coach there, organizing our gang before racing and  fielding questions from all ten of our sailors between races…and Evan did a great job of juggling his many responsibilities.

What follows are excerpts from an article that appeared in reporting on the Challege and showing the medal winners at the end.

” The steady west wind of the Big Sound rose early in the mornings to meet the sailors at Sail Parry Sound. This year’s Big Sound Challenge was another resounding success.

Paula Liness, Regatta Chair, who earned the CYA Award for Recreational Event of the Year for last year’s Big Sound Challenge, planned two days of elite coaching followed by two days of first-class racing for the participants, punctuated with a social schedule to take advantage of their spectacular location.

Coach training was led by Ashley Lethbridge and Cody Coté; Elite Coaches Graham Fraser, Evan Lewis, Chris Hewson, Murray McCullough and Ashley Lethbridge handled training for sailors.

The sailors’ two days of on-water training included sessions on race rigging, fine tuning their boat, racing strategy, starting techniques and overall boat handling. Following the training days, the sailors all competed in two days of racing. Afternoon winds were 12 knots. The sailors were treated to 20 knots of wind for their last race of the event which provided some excitement, especially for those who had just learned how to fly a spinnaker.

Entrants from Lake Joseph Yacht Club, South Muskoka Sailing Club, the Sturgeon Lake Sailing Club, and Sail Parry Sound took part in the Big Sound Challenge.

Each evening the sailors, coaches, Ontario Sailing staff, chaperones and volunteers enjoyed Georgian Bay shoreline delights: a trip down the South Channel for a barbecue, a beach bonfire at Sail Parry Sound, an evening at the elegant waterfront Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts, with a catered dinner and a movie.

Ashley Lethbridge was enthusiastic: ‘The Big Sound Challenge provides training and mentoring for coaches and sailors that is not matched by any other event in Canada.  The week was filled with learning, racing and lots of fun. Sailors left with new friends, mentor coaches and new skills.  This is an event that everyone should put on their calendar. Sail Parry Sound and the organizers of the Big Sound Challenge make sure every detail is in place, making for a great event.”

Murray McCullough, Provincial Coach, Ontario Sailing commented, ‘The Big Sound Challenge lived up to its expectations of being a top training event in Canada! Not only were the athletes and coaches graced with exceptional sailing conditions, great support from parents and club affiliates, but most importantly the group was provided with the opportunity to train and grow as one united group with Ontario’s top core of 420 sailors and coaches.  It will be this unity between clubs, athletes and coaches that will enhance the level of performance among Canadian sailors at the club and provincial and national levels. I am not normally one to mark things on the calendar, but I already have the Big Sound Challenge 2011 marked off!  Looking forward to another great camp next year!”
Media on the water for the racing included Canadian Yachting, Moose-FM Radio, The Parry Sound North Star-Beacon Star, and Rez Radio 91.3. Jeff Beitz of Georgian Bay Marina donated the media boat. Spectators lined the shoreline fitness trail with good vantage points.

OS Past President Michael Vollmer hosted the mayor of Parry Sound, Glenn Lethbridge and Carolyn Gagnon from OS, and several other guests aboard his stunning yacht Chippewa. Mayor Richard Adams fired the starting gun for two races on Wednesday and the Chippewa whistle served as a horn for each boat crossing the finish line, with cheers from everyone aboard.

Regatta Chair Paula Liness summed it up, saying: “Once again, Sail Parry Sound has received amazing community support for our Big Sound Challenge. Our sailors and coaches were treated to four days of training and mentoring by an exceptional team of Elite Coaches from Ontario Sailing. This would not have been possible without the generous support of the people and businesses of the community, the Town of Parry Sound, the Township of The Archipelago, Seguin Township and Ontario Sailing.”

Sail Parry Sound is a not-for-profit volunteer-managed corporation established in 1997 to restore the sailing heritage of Parry Sound. It organizes and manages sailing races, and conducts sail training, especially for youth, seniors and people with disabilities. Among the regattas it has hosted was the 2000 Shark Worlds. In 2003, its sailing school won the CYA Wm Abbott Sr Award for best volunteer-run school in Canada. Its Sailing Centre opened in 2007.

Its success can be attributed to tireless volunteers, a culture which fosters excellence, broad community support and the great winds of the Big Sound.”

1st Spin Division – South Muskoka Sailing Club (SMSC)
Justin Cadieux
Devin Watson
Justin and Devin also qualified for the coveted spot at the Ontario Summer Games in August.

1st White Sail Division – Sturgeon Lake Sailing Club (SLSC)
John Gilchrist
Graeme Shea

2nd Spin Division – Sail Parry Sound (SPS)
Stephen Winkworth
Andrew Parkes

2nd White Sail Division – Sail Parry Sound (SPS)
Thomas Ord
Clark Schultz

3rd Spin Division – Sturgeon Lake Sailing Club (SLSC)
Owen Thomas
Michelle Agnew

3rd White Sail Division – South Muskoka Sailing Club (SMSC)
Alex Lowe
Michael Smith

by Marianne King-Wilson




Ontario Sailing CYA coaches helping young sailors go fast! – Big Sound Challenge –  Elizabeth A Kerr   Click Here to view large photo



Leave a Comment