All Summer One Sport: Sailing

Taming the Reservoir

Splish, splash, I was taking a bath – this is what I was thinking when I was about to meet with Nollind van Bryce, Communications Director with the Glenmore Sailing Club. The last time I was out on the reservoir, I was less than graceful, so I was hoping this time I didn’t end up swimming. Thankfully for me, I had an experienced captain with me, who would (hopefully) turn me into the next James Cook.

Sailing always seemed to be a sport for retirees and rich people. Being neither of those, I was interested in how I would enjoy this ancient activity. When I first saw the boat, there was one thing that took me aback. Where was I supposed to sit since there were no seats? I quickly learned that the sides of the boat were the seats. We set off from the dock and the boat started to lean over… a lot. I immediately closed my eyes and made peace with my fate – we were going under.

Nollind looked at me and chuckled. He “forgot” to mention that these boats are made to “heel” quite substantially and to only worry if there was water coming into the boat. Within no time we were upright cutting through the reservoir, wind blowing through my hair like Rose from the Titanic. I now understood why so many people have fallen in love with coasting along in the open water.

At first glance there were seemingly millions of ropes quickly moving around me. I learned that I only had to take care of two. I was in charge of the jib – the little sail at the front of the boat. As our sturdy vessel was only a foot above the water, we had to balance carefully on board. I moved around too much at the start trying to get comfortable, nearly causing myself to fall in.

Turning or tacking, as it’s called on the water, worried me initially. The first time we tacked was a little shaky to say the least. However, with practice comes perfection. Needless to say, it took me 15 minutes to learn how to pull a rope correctly. Once I had mastered that skill, we were ripping around the reservoir, perfectly in sync (or at least I thought we were).

Not into leisurely sailing around the reservoir? You’re in luck as the club hosts a race series every Wednesday at 6:30pm. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be an expert to participate in these races. If you are still figuring your boat out, you just have to fly a blue flag, so other boats know you are new and they will assist you and give you extra room. With weekend regattas included, members can race 35 times in a season which runs from May to the end of October.

Like I said previously, I didn’t think sailing was going to be a sport for me due to the cost. How am I supposed to afford a $4,000 sailboat, if I can’t even afford to order something off the value menu at McDonald's? Luckily, the Glenmore Sailing Club has a fleet of boats available to members. Even if you don’t have access to a personal boat, there are free options available to prospective sailors.

1.      Crew List- If you want to try your hand out on a dinghy or keelboat, you can try sign-up for the crew list. This list is sent to skippers of boats looking for someone to join their crew.

2.      Racing School- This program is geared towards those aspiring sailors looking for the fundamentals of competitive sailing.

Whatever your ability, there is a way for you to get out on the water. With two Martian 16s, which are a completely accessible boat, the Glenmore Sailing Club is committed to igniting the sailor in each of us.

While I might not become the next great navigator of the seas, I do have a greater appreciation of what it takes to sail. Who knows, maybe next year you will find me sailing the seven seas!


Check out some of my other recent All Summer One Sport adventures:

1) Sledge Hockey (Para Ice Hockey)

2) Pickleball

3) Flying Trapeze


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Walter Woodroffe-Brown