Saturday, July 31, 2010

English Bay Scramble - The craziest race on the bay

A unique local race called the English Bay Scramble is coming up August 14th.

It may be the only race where it pays to take a different course than your competitors, because there is no set course!  You can sail around any two marks in any order, then through the start/finish, then around the rest.  The winner is usually determined by their strategy, rather than having a good handicap rating.  The race has been won by little boats like Cal 20's or M242's or on windy years by bigger cruisers.

It's all up in the air after the start gun, with boats dispersing all over the bay, coming together at the marks, then scattering again.  Makes for a very chaotic day.  Totally un spectator friendly, but cool and really fun for the racers.

See the link below for info:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

505 Mentor Night

Coming up is a mentor night for the 505's at KYC. This is for KYC students or members with White Sail III or above who have trapeze and spinnaker experience. This is your chance to get out on a 505 and sail a racing machine! Next date is August 17th, 530 pm. Email to sign up.

Social sailing days with KYC Lightning fleet

 social sailing days with the Lightning fleet at KYC are coming up. Come give sailing a try or check out a Lightning. 

days are: Aug 1st, Aug 15th and Aug 28th. 11am start with destination to be set by the people who turn out. Possible 
destinations include: Caulfeild Cove (AKA Tiddly Cove), Dundarave 
Wharf, Ambleside, the deck at Bridges (requires paddling past 
Burrard Bridge).

Anyone, whether you are a KYC member or not, is very welcome to participate, with prior arrangement. If you'd like more information on how to participate, email me at

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why sailing rocks

I want to start with a statement that most would disagree with. Sailing rocks because it is affordable. Most look at the pretty boats moored at expensive marinas and just assume that our sport is out of their league. The "Yacht Club" sailing model with those gorgeous sailing machines in large marina's is not the only one out there. Sailing clubs and co-ops are affordable alternatives. They represent one of the many methods of sharing the cost of ownership.

In the Vancouver area we have several options. Most of these are based out of the Jericho Sailing Center. In the interest of disclosure I should tell you that I have been a member there for several years. The center operates much like a community center. Individual and club memberships are available. Each individual member owns their own boat, while the clubs share a fleet with their members. Two clubs I've been a member of, Viking and Discovery, include access to cruising keel boats as well as a small fleet of dinghies. Membership with the JSCA is much more affordable than storing a boat at a marina, but it does mean you are limited to a boat that you can winch up and down the ramp. The Hollyburn Sailing Club on the north shore of English Bay is another club setup fairly similar to JSCA with both private owners and a co-op fleet.

Shared ownership is another option. I know several families that own boats together and keep them at the Kitsilano Yacht Club. Again in the interest of disclosure I should say that I work at KYC as the Sailing Director. Most boats at the club are owned by more than one person and some have up to four partners. This makes the cost of ownership considerably cheaper. KYC also has a dinghy pass that allows members to sail the training program's boats.

Storing the boat on dry land is one of the ways to control cost. This works well for dinghies, but does put some limits on what you can own. If you want something you could do some cruising in there are several good options, all of which are light enough to be raised up by a crane or winch and stored on the hard. Personally I like the J24 the best. It has accommodations and a galley below and still manages to perform nicely under sail. Google Martin 242 or Siren 20 for two other options.

The point of this entry has been to talk about affordable options available to get out sailing. Personally I have sailed at co-op dinghy clubs here in BC and in Manitoba. There are clubs available on most lakes and rivers in the country. Good examples are the Glenmore Sailing Club in Calgary and the Toronto Island Sailing Club. You can find more searching the internet for sailing clubs in your area or check out the CYA webpage for sailing clubs.

I have really enjoyed sailing from a club. I like that I get access to a varied fleet, so I can choose a boat to suit my crew or the weather conditions that day. I also really like that I always have somebody to sail with. As soon as you join you are part of a group of active sailors and rarely lack a sailing partner. It's also really nice to have people to share the boat maintenance chores with! All in all I think sailing clubs are the way to go and I'm sure you can find one near you.