The Commodore’s Letter 2011


June 10, 2011

Dear Families, Friends and Supporters:

“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
from Kenneth Grahame (The Wind in the Willows) [and with apologies to Water Rats Sailing Club for blatantly purloining their slogan for my 2011 Commodore’s letter]

…and for 54 years, the junior sailors of the Sturgeon Lake Sailing Club have been doing just that…making summer friends, making summer memories, having summer fun, getting fresh air while messing about in their boats. 
So bring on the 55th year – the Summer of 2011 is upon us!

Programs 2011

We have a 2011 team of coaches with familiar faces and home grown talent.  Kate Thomas and Ellen Lourie will be co-Head Instructors, with Kate coaching Bronze Sail V and Ellen Bronze Sail IV.  Amy DesBrisay takes on the race team/Silver Sail group as Race Coach.  Keira Webster will have responsibility for our young beginner sailors in the Mosquito Program and Owen Thomas and Kevin McPhee will take on responsibility for the White Sail I-III groups.  Claire Lourie will step in for Owen while he is away for 3 weeks at a leadership course in late July and early August.
This group has had many years to prepare for their new responsibilities and they are full of fresh ideas to make the 2011 sailing season a banner one.  They are well loved at the Club and they are full of enthusiasm to get started.  You will be able to read more about our staff of 2011 on and we could not be more pleased to have them all on board.

Morning Program Highlights
• Mosquitoes Reign Again this Summer:  Keira will lead the Mosquito Program, which is an introduction to sailing for our youngest sailors.  The aim of the program is to have these sailors feel comfortable and happy in a sailboat and at the Sailing Club and to teach them the basic skills of sailing in our Optimist and Mosquito boats.  It is so important that kids get off on the right foot and Keira is brimming with ideas for this group.
• 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, Lake of Bays and maybe Kingston, as well as our own Mid-Ontario and Civic Holiday Regattas.  (More about Mids and Civic later).
• Tuesday Night Activities and Friday Night Dances are returning.  Activities,  dance themes and other important information will be communicated through newsletters and posted on the website.  These evenings are organized by the Silver Sail group and they are planning already, I am sure…and I am told that there will be some twists this year…and not just on the dance floor.
• Wednesday Night Races will be returning.  Silver sailors will be encouraged to sail with others.  Further details to be posted.
• 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.  See below for an electronic registration feature on our website.
*A reminder to all sailors to bring the following on your first day at the Club:  life jacket (PFT), water shoes (no open-toed shoes), bathing suit and towel, hat, change of clothes, sunscreen and a reusable/refillable bottle of water.

Brand Spanking New Boats
• Thanks to the generosity of so many donors to the Sailing Club, we now have money to buy some new boats for the White Sail group.  The old Blue 420s have served us well, but they are getting long in the tooth.  We are replacing them with Picos, which are plastic-moulded boats that are getting rave reviews around the province.  They are lower to the water and much lighter and easier to handle than the 420s.  We think that they will be great White Sail Training boats.  Owen, Kevin and Claire are looking forward to instructing their sailors in a brand new White Sail fleet.
Registration and Fees
• We are going electronic with pre- registrations.  The website will allow you to preregister our sailors.  Go to and hit the Program page (button across the top) to find the pre-registration page.  We are not offering online payments.  As a result, payments will still need to be made at Leslie Thomas’ registration table at 8:30 on Monday mornings (with cash or cheques made out to SLSC), but registration time will be much reduced if we can have sailors pre-registered in advance of the start of Club.  It will also greatly facilitate planning.  So please give it a shot!
• 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 unchanged from the fees charged last year and the year before. 
• 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 with Leslie will be confidential.

Parent Curriculum and Meet the Coaches Night – Friday, July 15 -7:00 P.M.
• On July 15, starting at 7:00 p.m., we are hosting a meet the coaches and talk about the program night on the island by the flagpole at the Club, while the kids are dancing away upstairs.  Beverages and munchies will be served, coaches will give brief presentations and be available to answer questions and talk about ‘Club’.  Please show up if you are able, have your questions answered and offer your feedback.  Your presence would show your support for our staff and the work that they do with the kids.

• As some may know, we have run an outreach program in the afternoons to introduce sailing to community youth groups – Boys and Girls Clubs and other youth groups from Fenelon, Bobcaygeon and Lindsay.  This year, we have an expanded line up.  The programs are great for our profile in the communities that surround us and formed part of our funding proposals to Trillium Foundation, a past supporter of the Club.  The coaches love teaching these kids who are so appreciative of the opportunity to mess about on the water and we are so please that the program is carrying on. 

• Sunday Afternoon Race Series:  July 10, 17 and 24 and August 14.
We are proposing the same format as last summer for the Sunday afternoon race series.  Be at the Club on Sundays at 12:30 p.m., with or without a crew.  We will assign people to 420s.  We will sail 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 2011 Sunday Afternoon Races Champion and walk away from Prizegiving 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 come 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 30.
Juniors and adults alike are encouraged to participate in this annual SLSC regatta.  Priority for boats goes to sailors in the Junior Club Program. Boats not being sailed by Juniors may be borrowed; a $30.00 rental fee per boat will be charged for those who do not have an immediate family member in the Junior Club Program. 
• Mid-Ontario Championship Regatta:  Friday to Sunday, August 5 to 7
The Mids Regatta is back for the summer of 2011.  It will take place over three days – from August 5 to 7.  Check out the website for details.  This year’s regatta will be the Canadian National Club 420 Association Championship Regatta as well as being a Laser District III Gold Cup Regatta and part of the Ontario Sailing Grand Prix Series.  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 do so.  Please email Liane Kennedy 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.

• 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 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 our famous countdown timer showing the days, hours, minutes and seconds as they tick down to the start of Club at 8:30 am on Monday July 6, 2011.
Very soon now our sailors will be messing about in their boats and creating a brand new set of Summer memories.  I can’t wait!

Best Regards,

Hugh DesBrisay
Commodore, SLSC

1 thought on “The Commodore’s Letter 2011”

  1. Hugh,

    You better be careful, Water Rats might not like you using their slogan. (Of course they already stole it from the Wind in the Willows). Lookgin forward to Mids.

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