SLSC 2014 Newsletter Week 1: June 30th

SLSC NEWSLETTER WEEK #1    The boats are docked. The masts are stepped. The motors are running, and we stand on the brink of the most exhilarating summer ever at the Sturgeon Lake Sailing Club. Let us plunge into these fresh June waters…


UPDATES: RAFTS & BOATS   For decades at the SLSC, the raft has been the pinnacle of joy for our sailors. However, having been the home of too many raft wars, child-tossing, and corner-sinking, its retirement is long overdue. Tim Wisener, the great and handy, has sprung to the occasion and took a few hours of his time to construct a gargantuan masterpiece of a raft. Measuring 14 by 14 feet and weighing an un-liftable amount, the raft currently lies in the boathouse, awaiting additional man/womanpower to cast it out onto the lake.   The infamous Merman raft will remain on display in the back shed, where she will live out her remaining days under the close surveillance of the race team.   Corresponding to the predicted influx of sailors on the water, we’ve purchased a brand new Zodiak coachboat. Like all new coachboats, this is expected to be the subject of instructor disputes every morning.   Our Optimist league has also grown and the club has purchased a new Opti to account for a growing Wetfeet group. Much thanks goes to Ken Nyhuus and Jamie Wisener for picking her up in Ottawa.



Last summer we had to bid farewell to two of our club’s longstanding linchpins: head instructor Kate Thomas and race coach Amy DesBrisay. Both have been sailors and coaches at SLSC for many, many, many, many years and they have left metaphorically large shoes to fill.   But have no fear: Keira Webster has returned for another season to take the reigns as solo head instructor, as well as a “floater” instructor for the CANSail 3s and 4s. We would also like to note that she is the official self-appointed gardener at the SLSC, and her green thumb has led to the addition of this beautiful and unique planter.   planter

Returning also is Owen Thomas, our new race coach. He’ll be introducing a fresh group of sailors to the wonderful world of racing and crisscrossing Southern Ontario with the team to attend a plethora of regattas. Erik Nyhuus has come back to tackle the CANSail 1/2 job, as well as writing weekly newsletters, finally putting his arts degree to use. Claire Lourie is another familiar face at SLSC and will be the official CANSail 2 coach, a position she’s well acquainted with. John Gilchrist has also returned as the CANSail 3 instructor and couldn’t be more “stoked to the max”.

The Wet Feet program is the introductory level to the sport of sailing and the first step young sailors take from land to sea. It is undoubtedly the most important program our club offers and we’ve handed this role to Megan Thomas, with extreme confidence.

This summer, SLSC will be incorporating CANsail’s Chutes and Wires levels which focus on trapeze and spinnaker. Jacob Webster will be filling the role of Chutes and Wires instructor working along side Owen and John in the upper levels. Jacob is also the coach of the action-packed Junior Race Program, discussed further below!

Now, this is where it gets confusing. For the month of July, we have Michael Robson joining us to spearhead the CANSail 1 operation. Then, come August, Graeme Shea is filling in the role. Both race team alumni will return to their race team roles for the months they are not instructing.

Last but not least, Cameron Riegel has climbed aboard as Outreach Coach. The SLSC is always expanding its afternoon programing and Cameron, another Sturgeon local, is a well-needed addition.


There was an impulse purchase at the Canadian Tire in Fenelon Falls earlier this week, and Owen and Erik drove back to the sailing club with a handful of fireworks. So, to kick-off the SLSC season and to celebrate our nation’s 147th birthday, all SLSC sailors and sailors’ friends and siblings are welcome over for a bonfire and fireworks show on Tuesday night at 7pm! Entrance is $5 and they’ll be hot dogs, smores, and juice. Proceeds will all go towards the sailing club fund.



Beginning on July 8th, the club plays host to either a Movie Night or a Fun Night. Every Tuesday evening, sailors are welcome upstairs in the Boathouse for a double feature of unmatchable cinematic experiences. First movie begins at 7pm and then all those above the age of 13 may remain for the second movie, usually something on the spookier side. Each movie costs a dollar each, with 25 cent freezies for sale, naturally.   If the Silvers are not organizing a movie night, they’ve put together a Fun Night. Fun Nights feature games, swimming, and a literal ton of freezies, with hopes of multiple sugar crashes by the time the night ends.


For centuries, the first Wednesday “Fun Day” of the summer has been dedicated to “Dumping Day” as a means to introduce younger sailors to proper capsizing techniques. However, the ten instructors are throwing out the rulebook this year and jumping forward to the Treasure Hunt, another longstanding SLSC tradition. This Wednesday we’ll be crisscrossing the lake following a trail of clues leading to different Sturgeon Lake landmarks, in hunt for a secret, usually sugary, treasure.


Invented in Naples in 1889, the modern pizza arrived to North America after World War Two by American soldiers stationed in Italy. It has since spread to become a worldwide phenomenon, and the fantastic Leslie Thomas is on the forefront of its cause. Our first pizza lunch is this Wednesday, and the cost is now included in registration fees.


It is truly a blissful experience sailing beneath a sunset. Cruising on the lake is a heavenly way to spend an evening, and we urge all sailors to come out for Wednesday night races, starting next week, July 9th at 6:30. Racing experience is not necessary and points will be tallied at the end of the year to determine a winner. The first races will begin next week.   “Sunday Afts” is Sturgeon lingo for Sunday Afternoon races, a community tradition that dates back to perhaps the dawn of time. Come 1pm on the 6th, 20th, 27th of July and the 17th of August, all sailors, young and old, are asked to take part in this beautiful ritual.   boats2

FRIDAY NIGHT DANCE   In addition to the weekly Movie/Fun Nights on Tuesday, the Silvers run Friday Night Dances. Themes range from Blind Date to Toga Party, soft drinks and freezies are on sale, and the party lasts all night until 9pm. This week’s dance is pajama so bring your sleepwear and come on down to the club at 7pm with $2.



Over the years, the sailing club has produced a multitude of fantastic racers, and our competitive presence at regattas seems to improve every summer. Starting this week, we’ll be launching our Afternoon Racing Program to give younger sailors a taste of racing. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, any sailors interested in racing training are invited to stay at the club after the morning programming. It’s open to all CANSail levels from 2 to 5, but we ask the sailors to please bring their own packed lunches. We’ll be bringing back the Elite Optimist Racing Squadron (EORS) as well as introducing an official Feva racing unit (in need of a catchy acronym, please rack your brains for something clever). The Racing Program starts this week, Tuesday and Thursday at 1pm! The Afternoon race program is $300 for the entire season or $60 per week with a minimum two week participation.


As of this coming Saturday morning, we are now the SLYC (Sturgeon Lake Yoga Club). Don’t let Stony Lake know we’re borrowing the title. The terrific Colleen Moloney will be running yoga sessions in the Boathouse, every Saturday at 10am. There is no charge for the class. Yoga has always gone hand-in-hand with sailing; both can be mentally straining and mock one’s lack of flexibility. For more information, speak to Keira Webster.


At SLSC, we sail rain or shine and we ask our sailors to come to club prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws our way. Equipped in every backpack should be sunscreen, a hat, a change of clothes, a reusable water bottle, a snack and a rain jacket. Of course, PFDs and lifejackets are absolutely required on water and sailors are expected to bring their own.

To conclude this long-winded and overly extensive newsletter, I can speak on behalf of all ten instructors in saying that we couldn’t be more excited to get this summer started! The board is set for a truly fantastic summer; see you all Monday morning!

Much love,   Erik


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