Sail on by

There’s nothing like the wind in my hair, the sun warming my skin and the smell of the ocean to transport me into the role of pampered aristocracy.  Not that I’ve had the opportunity often.  There was the time I managed to sweet talk my way onto a sailboat going back to the mainland from Thetis Island, Derek willingly? letting me go with 3 young men we had just met and driving the car back alone.  There was much excitement as the sails were hoisted and we optimistically headed out into open water, but soon the sails hung limp and the motor kicked in to complete the voyage.  I lounged on the fore deck, closed my eyes and imagined myself carried away into adventure.  The cool evening air and approaching twilight completed the magical setting.  It’s really hard to beat the sensation of sailing even if it’s by gasoline.

So, let’s head on down to the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club’s weekly Wednesday Races between English Bay and the Jericho Clubhouse.  First stop is a visit to the web site  www.royalvan.com  to check out the starting time and registration.  There’s lots of other interesting stuff to explore on the RVYC web site and soon I’m distracted by the exciting clips of the Canadian team at the Beijing Olympics hangin’ ten (does one do that on a sailboat?) as they compete for the gold.  I think you know what I mean.  They hang on by their feet and lean the entire rest of their body out over the water to counterbalance the effect of the wind in the sails.  Pretty exciting stuff!  There’s photos of the Canadian team, the race schedule, tv schedule when we can watch the action and great videos of the team in action. 

The RVYC Wednesday night race happens every Wednesday night until September 12.  Racers gather for the start at 1800 hours, (6 pm for us land lubbers) and the races go on for 40 minutes and 90 minutes after which there is a great feature buffet dinner to enjoy with the crew and friends.  There’s even prizes for each series of the racing and more partying when the presentation of prizes are made in November. 

I followed the ISAF, International Sailing Federation, link to learn more about the Olympic sport.  Sailing is one of the oldest sports on the Olympic program and started out with large boats and crews of 8 to 10 people.  Women were always allowed to compete with the men, but they got their own category in 1988.  Viking tradition held that women were bad luck on a war ship, but that superstition died out in the early 1900’s and women have always been welcome on modern navy crews.  The ISAF offers a sailor registration where people can sign up and get a sailor ID and keep up with all kinds of sailing information.

The Canadian Optimist Dinghy Championship www.opti2008.ca takes place right now from August 17 to 22 in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia.  The words ‘optimist’ and ‘dinghy’ hooked me into this site thinking that maybe there’s a chance for me, and dinghy is probably closer to my speed.  What it turns out to be is a great opportunity for budding sailors up to age 15.  On the list of competitors, I found 3 young people from the Vancouver area, Sam Atkins, Graham Harney and Cameron Ho who are competing in this week long event. Good luck to you Sam, Graham and Cameron.  Have fun!

That’s it for today’s nautical adventures.  Happy sailing, and may the wind be always at your back.  Cheers, Kathryn

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