“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails.”
I was stuck in irons all winter. Sails were luffing. Couldn’t bear off. Nor head up. Sometimes going backwards. It was a cruel and heartless season, and I only found warmth in the notion that the summer at Sturgeon is just a few months away.
But now it’s arrived! Tomorrow morning the club grounds will be littered with bicycles and backpacks – tell tale signs of eager sailors. Together we can skull out of our winter blues, cruise along — close hauled — with our sails pulled in tight, and begin heading windward into the 2015 summer season. And what a season we have ahead of us!
The instructor crew
Let me introduce you to the new team of instructors who will be skippering our club through the summer.
Firstly, I am honoured to return to SLSC for a third summer, and this time as head instructor. I feel prepared and excited for the task, and couldn’t be happier with this year’s instructor lineup, all of whom will provide excellent support.
This year we’re pleased to welcome Meagan “Support” Woodman – the first “off-Pointer” we’ve had in decades. Fresh from Whitby Yacht Club, she’ll be filling the role of CANSail 3 instructor, Junior Race Team coach, as well as Assistant (“to the”) Head Instructor.
Jacob Webster has climbed the ranks to become our official Race Coach for 2015. Owen Thomas has finally deserted the post and left room for Jacob, who is thrilled to lead the race team to regattas near and far, and to introduce a fresh group of sailors to the wonderful world of racing.
Megan Thomas is another seasoned veteran, entering her second year of coaching at Sturgeon. Coming from a long line of sailing instructors in the family, she will be handling the CANSail 1 group with relative ease.
And back from popular demand (his words, not mine), Graeme Shea has returned to coach the CANSail 2 group, after spending the school year “seeing the world” (his words, not mine).
But back from a little more popular demand than Graeme, Michael Robson will be lending his expertise to the CANSail 2 division. They make a competitive tandem and we’re lucky to have them aboard.
Adele DesBrisay is our newcomer and will be tackling the WetFeet program, by far the toughest job on the planet. She has been sailing at Sturgeon all her life and is an absolute expert when it comes to Opti sailing. Additionally, she will be running the Elite Optimist Race Team, a cornerstone to our Afternoon Race Program.
Do not hesitate to approach any of these coaches throughout the summer with any questions, concerns, or food! They are all friendly and equally enthused to be working at the SLSC.
Tuesday movie night
Our first movie night of the summer is this Tuesday! For those who are new to the club, the traditional movie night includes a double feature of back-to-back films, beginning with a first movie – open for everyone – and then a second film – for viewers aged 13 and up. The Silver Race Team (Kate Gilchrist, Madeleine DesBrisay, Maija Rix, Margaret Wilkins, and Sophie Heldman) run the show, so any movie requests should be directed their way.
Showtime starts at 6:30 and ends around 8:30, but sometimes earlier and sometimes later. It costs $1 per movie, and there will undoubtedly be juice and popcorn. We ask that sailors bring their own cups, for the sake of environmental sustainability.
Wednesday Fun Day: The Legendary Dumping Day
For the past 96 years, the SLSC has devoted the summer’s first Fun Day to the arduous task of regaining our courage in and above the water. We call this “Dumping Day”; and it is a legendary occasion. Sailors are taught (and re-taught) how to capsize their boats safely, one of the fundamental skills of sailing.
Come equipped with your best pirate attire because an all-out water war usually ensues. Getting in the spirit is your best defence.
Wednesday Pizza Lunch
After many many summers (not that many though) Leslie Thomas has stepped down from the role of Pizza-Lady, handing the torch to Christina Hall, a keen newcomer to the unforgiving world of pizza delivery. Christina will be taking your pizza orders at the beginning of the day (cheese, pepperoni, Hawaiian, or vegetarian (still waiting on donair)). Following our Legendary Dumping Day, and all other following fun days, a full-on pizza party will erupt.
Pick-up time for Wednesdays is typically 1PM, more-or-less, depending on how fast your child can consume two pieces of pizza.
Friday night dance: Pyjama Party
The weekly Friday Night Dance series kicks off with the infamous Pyjama Dance, a tradition that has lasted three centuries. Come to the ole clubhouse at 7PM this Friday, dressed in your finest pyjamas, be it a silk robe or a fuzzy onesie. Entry costs $2 at the door and there will be soft drinks ($1) and Freezies (25cents) on sale. The party lasts til 9PM!
Afternoon race programming
Our afternoon race program will debut next week, once we’ve regained our firm grasp on the many functions of the SLSC. Please consult the club’s website for registration. We offer race training in 420, Feva, and Optimist classes, and our coaches include Jacob Webster, Meagan Woodman, and Adele DesBrisay, each one a veteran in their respective racing field!
This summer, Sturgeon Point appears to be hosting a small family of black bears. It is fascinating to have such incredible animals so nearby, but our new neighbours can be nuisances and sometimes even dangerous. We urge that villagers remain prudent and vigilant, especially with their small children biking to and from sailing club. The near-flawless “buddy system” is my recommendation for the daily commute, and making noise along the road wards any bears away. I also suggest this quick read on being bear-wise this summer: http://www.wilmot.ca/cmsAdmin/uploads/Bears.pdf
While we are very comfortable in our beautiful summer dwellings, occasions like these are reminders that we do live in the rugged Canadian wilderness. It is the home of the beasts; we’ve only built houses here.
The sailing club could not function without the tireless contribution of the parents – they carpool to movie nights, volunteer at regattas, and pack delicious lunches, far better lunches than the ones my parents ever packed me.
This being said, we, the instructors, would appreciate a swift departure of the parents after their child or children has or have been dropped off. The club performs at its best performance when only instructors and sailors occupy the playing field. The watchful eyes of parents can stifle the SLSC atmosphere, but I mean that with the utmost respect.
Have no fear, your children are in safe hands!
We ask all our sailors to please come equipped with the proper necessities for a full morning on the water. This includes a lifejacket, a towel, a change of clothes, foul-weather gear, closed-toe shoes, a snack, a water bottle, a hat, and sunscreen. These mornings in July can be strange and inconsistent. It’s best to prepare for the weather as best as you can.
Additionally, we have a strict no-gadget policy during our morning programming. Sailors, please leave your cell-phones and iPods in your backpack, unless they’re needed for emergency, or semi-emergencies. It is the summertime, after all!
Finally, we’d like to remind bikers to a) wear their helmets, and b) take the path to avoid the Sturgeon Point Road and Golf Links Road intersection. And, of course, drivers are cautioned to drive at an almost painfully slow speed around these traffic-heavy roads.
Let us now begin our eight weeks of liberty on the lake! The summer is forecasted to be incredible, all the experts agree.
See you tomorrow!