Monday, April 22, 2024

Ready to Set Sail For Another Season

By Stephen Vance, Staff

sailing school new bldg468

Organizers of Meaford’s Sail Georgian Bay sailing school have been busy preparing for the coming season, including the construction of a new boathouse.

The new boathouse will allow the school to store their boats on site, and will also provide shelter for students on rainy days.

It’s going to save us some money as well,” Sail Georgian Bay board member Barry Altman told The Independent. “There’s a lot of time and logistics involved in moving the boats off-site every year. It will allow us some space during inclement weather.”

Construction of the new boathouse was made possible by donations – including labour and some of the materials – from many in the community. Many of the donations for the project were made by former sailing school students, while the local business community also supported the project, including a $5,000 contribution from Royal LePage Locations North.

Altman and Debra Gilas, also a Sail Georgian Bay board member, said that the municipality was also very supportive of the project.

The town of Meaford has been unbelievable, they’ve been behind us 100 percent. We’ve been blown away by the town, they’ve been amazing,” said the two board members.

Sail Georgian Bay is a not-for-profit, volunteer driven community sailing school that has been operating out of the Meaford Harbour since 2001 during the months of July and August. The school serves youth from the ages of 8 to 18 primarily from Meaford and The Blue Mountains.

The number of children served by the school is typically 100 to 150 students each summer. The school uses the CANSail Dinghy Program developed by Sail Canada, and currently offers Levels 1 through 4. They also have an introduction to racing program that runs one night a week for students who want to try competing in a fun and supportive environment.

The school provides summer employment for students who have obtained the necessary credentials from Sail Canada. Most of the instructors have gone through the school themselves and return as instructors, who are passionate about sharing sailing with the new students. There is also a junior instructor program whereby students who are considering becoming instructors themselves can volunteer their time at the school and work directly with a certified instructor to obtain experience, and also to decide if they would like to pursue their instructor status. The instructors have to continually upgrade their skills through courses at Ontario Sailing in order to remain certified, giving the school a very highly qualified staff.

While the school has always offered sailing courses for youth, this year they are also offering a course for adults, provided at least six adults register for the new course.

Information about Sail Georgian Bay, including registration information can be found on their website – sailgeorgianbay.ca

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