DUNROBIN – Three new sailboats geared at teaching novice sailors how to sail solo is the prize thanks to a provincial grant the Kanata Sailing Club (KSC) announced Saturday (Aug. 20) afternoon.
On Saturday, the KSC (1610 Sixth Line Rd.), located on the shores of the Ottawa River near Dunrobin, hosted a recognition event to celebrate the $36,100 Resilient Communities Grant they received from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19 by purchasing three sailboats suitable for use by newcomers to the sport under physical distancing conditions.
Members of the club gathered Saturday to announce the grant and to celebrate with the first ‘sail past’ the club has held since 2019.
“This is a very special occasion,” KSC Commodore Corinne Civalleri said of the grant and celebration. “We are the right place, doing the right thing.”
Unable to attend, Kanata-Carleton MPP Dr. Merrilee Fullerton nevertheless sent her regards.
“Sailing on the Ottawa River is one of the wonderful recreational pastimes we are fortunate to have in Kanata,” Fullerton released in a statement. “Supporting the KSC and their programs to teach new sailors is an important way to ensure more residents of all ages have the opportunity to take part in sailing. I am very pleased these funds will help the club in purchasing the needed sailboats to grow its membership.”
The club identified a technology gap in its fleet, specifically a lack of versatile, intermediate boats for use by novice sailors. This was most keenly felt when physical distancing rules applied, and they were required to sail solo on the Ottawa River.
“We didn’t have a good fit for people to be in boats individually, but at the same time, we had great demand for training,” KSC training director Ken Skublics said.
Since the club’s existing fleet of single-handed boats required expertise to avoid capsizing in challenging conditions, many of these novice sailors found it hard to improve their competencies. This grant allowed the club to purchase intermediate, stable-platform sailboats that allow newcomers to the sport to sail with confidence, growing their skills and their commitment to this lifelong activity.
“This Ontario Trillium Foundation grant supports and promotes active lifestyles in our rural community,” Civalleri said. “These new modern boats make it enjoyable to learn to sail, and to participate in club sailing activities. This timely upgrade to the club fleet increases the satisfaction and confidence of new youth and adult sailors, enhancing their commitment to active living, to sailing, and to our club.”
The three new boats are RS Fevas and, after extensive research, will provide the KSC with a versatile and rugged sailboat perfect for those new to the sport.
“Worldwide they have a good reputation,” KSC vice-commodore Deb McPhedran said. “The grant allowed us to focus on boats for physical distancing. We were a good candidate for the grant thanks to our past programming.”
The 47-year-old club celebrated the announcement with a so-called sail past – the first since before COVID. The commodore was taken out on to the Ottawa River on the bow of a boat while club members in a variety of decorated sailboats, sailed by and gave a salute (or wave) to the commodore who offered a secular blessing to the sailors.
Following that, around 50 members enjoyed a roast pig dinner at the club, again the first time the KSC has hosted such an event since the start of the pandemic.
“One of the things I love about this club is the community and the friendship,” Civalleri said.
For more information on the KSC, please visit the club website at: www.kanatasailingclub.com.