Sylvan Lake Sailing Club embarks on weekend race

Club gauges community interest by inviting newcomers onto the water

Several boats and crews of local – and prospective – sailors took to the waters of Sylvan Lake under Saturday’s clear skies, for a race to raise awareness of the Sylvan Lake Sailing Club and its openness to new members.

The pursuit race held on June 16 entailed 10 boats with crews of sailors versed and new to the sport, working as teams to sail around the lake in a race that spanned the afternoon, concluding with a wine tasting and social hosted downtown, at the location of the upcoming Wing ‘n It restaurant, which is set to open this summer.

The sailing race was open to anyone interested in finding out what the club is all about, with several guests from the Sylvan Lake area trying their hand at sailing.

Commodore Bill Young said he found the race to be a wonderful experience overall, adding he enjoyed the sunshine and levels of participation.

The only regret Young had was the drop in the wind speed during the race, occurring later in the afternoon. The lack of wind plagued the sailors in the latter portion of the race forced the club to limit their sailing race to one lap, “but that’s sailing for you,” said Young. “You have to be aware of the weather – you have to have an eye to the horizon to see what’s coming.”

He noted that after the race, some of the crews took advantage of the winds perking up again, to cruise around a bit more before returning to terra firma.

Young said the purpose of the race was to let the community know the club is always welcoming new members – it was meant to be an opportunity for those who are interested in getting out on the water.

Fleet Captain Don Ulsifer said it was difficult to keep track of how many times the fickle winds shifted Saturday afternoon – creating conditions that made for some interesting standings in the race, with the lead changing hands many times.

Norma Turner, skipper of L’eau Rider – the first place vessel in Saturday’s race – said the varied winds were a good way to challenge participants and get newcomers used to the twists and turns of fortune that boat racing can entail. She added it’s a combination of luck and skill that wins sailing races.

Young emphasized such events are held primarily to gauge interest in the club, to show people how there is a strong social aspect to the club, and that they are “not just about the competition.”

He added, “The purpose of these events is to bring people interested in sailing together.”