With an aging membership, the Sylvan Lake Sailing Club is seeking new members to ensure the sport’s longevity in Sylvan Lake.
Vice commodore Jim Barclay said the physically demanding nature of sailing means the club’s members typically begin to drop off as they hit a certain age. With the majority of boat owners being in their 60s, younger members are being sought.
“We wouldn’t discriminate or turn any older members away, but it would be really healthy for the club and fabulous to attract some 40-year-olds,” said Barclay, “It’s a demographic problem that’s all over North America — younger people haven’t caught on to the sport.”
Barclay himself began sailing around the age of 35, and quickly became hooked. He’d now like to see others try it, and hopefully eventually follow suit.
To that end, he invites newcomers to the sport to attend a club outing aboard an existing member’s boat, departing from the club’s Marina Bay launch site.
“It’s something that you have to try to appreciate it,” he said. “You never know, you might just get hooked.”
There are various types of sailing, he added — each with its own perks. For instance, racing, he explained, might appeal to more competitive sailors, while casual sailing offers a much more relaxed experience and way to enjoy the lake.
Barclay said the club is trying to achieve a balance between the two, and he understands a certain degree of competitiveness can be intimidating to new sailors.
“We tend to scare some people away because of how intensive our racing is,” he said. “We really have some good sailors and good racers in Sylvan Lake.”
Newcomers don’t need to own their own boat at the start, he added.
“They can come out and get an introduction to the sport and they don’t have to buy a boat. The annual membership fee is $100, but we wouldn’t ask that of a person if they just wanted to come out and go for just a ride.”
Further information on the club is available at www.sylvansailing.ca.