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YO HO HO! And a Boat full of Fun! (Posted On: Thursday, July 20, 2006)

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Ahoy there would-be sailors!

The weather is perfect. The gentle, well-protected Collingwood Harbour beckons you. Georgian Bay is an excellent location to learn how to sail.

Whether young, or young at heart, the Collingwood Sailing School in association with the Town of Collingwood Leisure Services Department offers a summer training program designed just for you. Until August 25, weekly courses are offered by qualified Canadian Yachting Association instructors.

It's a great way for anyone from the age of 8 years old and up to learn how to dinghy sail. As past student Laura Vlahovich puts it: "It's AWESOME".

Sailors must be able to swim 50 yards fully clothed while wearing a life-jacket. Choose from the following sessions for just $145/ session: 9am-12noon / 1pm - 4pm. That offers 15 hours of fun on the high seas under the watchful eyes of a trained crew.

While many adults join youth & teens in the daytime sessions, in addition, evening sessions on Monday and Thursday are also offered for the working folks, from 6-9pm for just $110/wk.

Some of the skills that will be learned include: boat handling, sail trim, knots, sailing terms, capsizing, water safety and rigging. Plus, teamwork, terrific exercise and enjoyable outdoors training. It's a life skill which everyone can enjoy.

All you need is: a sun hat, sun-screen, rain gear, water shoes, a change of clothes and an approved life-jacket.

The curriculum follows Canadian Yachting Association Standards and certificates in White Sail Levels I, II, III & Bronze Sail Levels IV & V are offered. The instruction boats include: Dinghies which range in length from 7.5 feet (suitable for one small person) to 16 feet (for 4 persons) including: Albacore, Optimist and Mistrals. The smaller boats have one easily managed sail and the larger boats have 2 sails, plus spinnaker gear on some. Boats are matched to the experience and needs of the students.

The Collingwood Sailing School is a non-profit organization governed by a volunteer board of directors whose mandate is "to educate students so that they attain the skills required to safely and competently handle small sailboats in a seamanlike and safe manner and to promote boating safety for our community".

Graduates of White Sail III may join the Volunteer Assistant program which aims to develop a core team of youth interested in sailing and in helping others learn to sail. The program provides "on the water" practice and further instruction in boat rigging, care and maintenance. Participants learn to assist instructors in operating the School. Volunteer Assistants sign on for a minimum of 3 sessions without cost and the time can be used for Secondary School community service requirements. It's an excellent way to prepare to become an instructor as well as earning enjoyable community service hours.

One of the instructors this season has actually graduated from this process. Says Collingwood Sailing School director, Brian Bailey, "In addition to returning instructors Kyle (who also graduated through the program) and Philippa, we're pleased that Devon has joined our staff this year. After four summers of training and assistant coaching along with earning his Green Instructors' certification, Devon is a terrific addition to our instruction team. That's the optimal cycle of training!"

Collingwood is the perfect place to learn how to sail - clean water, minimal boat traffic, easy sailing close to home. A few July and some August registration spaces are still available.

If you're interested in learning how to sail at any age, register at the Collingwood Town Hall, (705) 444-2500 ext. 3236, or in person at : 97 Hurontario Street, Collingwood, ON, L9Y 3Z5. A printable registration form is available online at: www.collsailschool.ca.

You may also contact: Brian Bailey, Collingwood Sailing School at: (705) 445-5659 or visit: www.collsailschool.ca


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