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Children set sail for adventure on the Ottawa River Kanata Sailing Club and YMCA offers sailing course for kids Blair Edwards

EMC sports - “Loosen those sails!� The shout carries across the water to the ears of Sam Kuntz, a 12-year-old Glebe boy, who is struggling to steer his sailboat on a path marked by two buoys bobbing in the Ottawa River. Sam tugs on a cord connected to the sail on his Optimist boat, a one-seater used by the Kanata Sailing Club to teach beginners, and corrects the course of his boat. The 12-year-old boy is one of 10 children selected to participate in a one-week pilot program from July 9 to 13 run by the YMCA-YWCA Ottawa and the Kanata Sailing Club, created to teach children ages 10 to 13 how to sail. The sailing club has agreed to hold another one-week learn-to-sail program will be held in August, said Lisa Bottriel, commodore of the Kanata Sailing Club. “It’s full both weeks and there’s a waiting list,� she said. The sailing club purchased 10 Optimist boats, small single-handed sailing dinghys, from the Nepean Sailing Club this year so it could launch the learn-to-sail program. “We haven’t had a kids’ component to the club before,� said Bottriel. “We’re really doing two weeks to see what the impact is on the

Blair Edwards

Sailing instructor Charles Lucas looks over his charges as he steers his motorboat ahead to set an obstacle course with buoys. club and members and our resources.� So far so good, said Charles Lucas, the program’s sailing instructor. Lucas, a University of Ottawa student who teaches children how to sail during the summer, said his students have really taken to the water. “So far they seem to be enjoying themselves a lot,� he said. The children learn theory and practical sailing skills, such as steering, rigging and de-rigging a sail as well as

basic knot techniques, during their week-long course, running everyday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. At the end of the course they will earn CANSail 1 certiďŹ cation, formerly known as white sail level one, the beginners’ learn-to-sail course. The children have already picked up the lingo, said Lucas, learning to turn their craft starboard and port – right and left for landlubbers. On Friday, July 13, Lucas and Stuart Nichols, an assistant sailing instructor, guide

dents trail behind the motorboat like freshly-hatched goslings, their sails apping hesitantly in the wind. From time to time the two instructors move the buoys to different locations to mark a shift in the direction of the wind.


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their charges out on the river to negotiate a makeshift obstacle course. Lucas and Nichols, who were travelling in a motorboat, drop two anchored buoys to mark the course for their charges. The edgling sailing stu-

“It’s really hard to set a course because the wind constantly shifts,� said Lucas. But the long dry-spell in Ottawa have created ideal conditions for sailing, he added. “We’ve had really good weather,� Lucas said. “It’s been windy and it hasn’t been raining.� Dylan Butler, a 10-year-old Nepean boy, said he’s enjoyed learning how to sail. “My dad has a sailboat and he wants me to sail with me,� said Dylan, as he turned his craft, named the Dalek, starboard. At the start of the course, the children were allowed to name the optimist boats, coming up with handles such as: The One, Rune, The Argo, The Knotty, The Unknown, The Epic, Da Boss, RKSC Avenger and The Green Machine. For more information about the learn to sail program run by the YMCA visit the website or call 613-832-1234 or visit the Bonnenfant Y Outdoor Education and Leadership Centre, located beside the Kanata Sailing Club at 1620 Sixth Line Rd., in Dunrobin.

Blair Edwards

William Van Eiepen, an 11-year-old Westboro boy, steers a boat he named Da Boss along the Ottawa River on Friday, July 13.

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West Carleton Review EMC  
West Carleton Review EMC  

July 19, 2012