Female sailors arriving to compete for national title

The waters of the lake will be dotted with sailors this weekend as Sylvan Lake Sailing Club hosts a national women’s competition.

The waters of the lake will be dotted with sailors this weekend as Sylvan Lake Sailing Club hosts a national women’s competition.

The Canadian Yachting Association Women’s Keelboat Nationals are being held from today (Thursday) to Sunday.

All teams will be racing Martin 242 boat described as 24 foot high performance racers.

Events start with a meet and greet Thursday night. A boardroom clinic takes place Friday morning with guest coach Michael Clements (current Martin 242 Canadian National Champion and Fleet Captain of Royal Vancouver Yacht Club). Then it’s down to the docks and onto the water for more coaching and practise.

The clinic will conclude with a practise race or two under the direction of multi-Olympic race officer Paul Ulibarri.

Racing gets underway Saturday morning.

Eleven teams are registered, according to a list on the sailing club’s website.

Team Ontario is from Nepean Sailing Club, while other teams are from Royal Victoria Yacht Club, Kelowna Yacht Cub, Central Okanagan Sailing and Glenmore Sailing Club.

Four teams represent Sylvan Lake Sailing Club. They include Team TRYM with Marg Phelan as skipper and Rita Johnson, Tracey Andersen and Yvonne Bradshaw as crew; Team Boom Booms with Norma Turner as skipper and Debbie Russell, Linda Ethier and Grace Ford as crew; Team Sorcerer with Kathy Martin as skipper and Joyce Ulsifer, Laura Larsen and Heather Tee-Saganis as crew; and Team Chicks Ahoy! with Linda Boyd as skipper and Cheryl Murdock, Gail Surkan and Nancy Smith as crew.

The event is not just about racing, states the website. Four socials are scheduled Thursday to Sunday and there will be lots of time to meet new sailors and visit old friends.

Norma Turner, commodore of the local club, said in an interview earlier this year this is the first time the championships have been hosted in one of the prairie provinces. They alternate between east and west every year.

The association requires the host club to have a fleet of boats of one design for use in the championships. Sylvan Lake’s club has 15 member-owned Martin 242 sailboats and all of their owners have generously offered them to be used in the regatta. “This is one of the unique elements of the regatta,” said Turner.

“One design racing provides the opportunity for all crews to have an equal chance of winning based on their skills, therefore, it is about the boatmanship and strategy, not the boats,” she said.

In previous years, Sylvan Lake’s club has sent teams to Kelowna and Ottawa to compete in the championships.

Spectators will be able to view the races from the shore or on the water it they have their own boats. Suggestions to the spectator boats would be to keep some distance, keep their wake to a minimum and mind the directions from the marshalls that will be on the course during the races, said Turner.