DUNROBIN – Due to the extremely high Ottawa River, last Saturday’s (May 6) Kanata Sailing Club open house was held on the high ground, hosting a number of landlubbers and sharing their love of the open water with them.
Up top, there was still plenty of room for the small club to show off their fleet of boats and host a number of community members, showing off what makes the sailing club a popular place over the sailing season.
The KSC is situated on the Ottawa River near Dunrobin off the Sixth Line Road. Normally the club has about 30 feet (nine metres) of mostly shale rock beach. All of that is underwater at this time due to the 2023 freshet and high water this spring.
But there was plenty of room above the beach at the KSC’s clubhouse to host the event.
Organizers said it was a success with many new members and curious sailing fans dropping by to tour the club.
“The water is high at the beach so we can’t have any boats down here, but it’s a beautiful, sunny day,” KSC training director Ken Skublics told West Carleton Online from the shore. “We have lots of people coming out asking questions, so that’s good. There’s been a steady stream of people coming in since we opened our doors.”
Skublics is responsible for organizing the several adult and youth programs the club hosts each season. He has been with the KSC for about 15 years.
“Well, we’re waiting for the water to go down so we can get our boats on the beach,” Skublics said. “We have our boats set up in the parking lot right now. So, the next step is to move the fleet down on the beach, and get our dock in and our power boat out so our members can go sailing and we can get our students on the water when the courses start.”
Adult training starts on May 17 and mid-June another program starts up and then “it’s kind of full-on training courses every week through the end of August.”
“We have our own boats, which are there for the members to use, once they are checked out on their sailing abilities, that you have the skills,” Skublics said. “We have a mix of boats. We have some brand-new boats from last year, a fleet of RS Fevas and Quests that are the backbone of our training programs. We have some little Optimist dinghies for the kids’ training program. Then we have some Catamarans and some Lasers and other boats for members to sail.”
Members have free access to any of the KSC’s fleet.
“Those new boats have been fantastic,” Skublics said. “They’ve really amped up our training, having new boats that are all easy to rig and stable on the water. They’re not duct-taped together, and all a little bit different like our old fleet. It’s fantastic for helping new people learning to sail get comfortable and wanting to come back.”
Skublics says there’s a number of reasons he has stuck with the KSC for 15 years.
“First, it’s a fantastic location,” he said. “Having access to the fleet of boats is unique. Most clubs, if you don’t have your own boat, it’s hard to get on the water. And there’s a good bunch of people. It’s like a quasi-cottage. It’s close to the city and there’s a lot of nice water, so it’s fun.”
Theoretically, sailors can sail east as far as the rapids at Britannia. Upriver as far as Fitzroy Harbour “but that’s more than you can do in a day in a dinghy, so you can sail up to Constance Bay if you want.”
“There’s lots of river you can play with,” Skublics said.
There are still a few spots open for youth and adults who would like to learn to sail this summer and you can find lots more information on the Kanata Sailing Club at their website here.