Promoting Sailing Across Atlantic Canada

Sail Canada Programs Well Utilized by Participants

From learning to sail in a dinghy to officiating at world class events, Sail Canada training programs are an anchor for clubs across the country.

“Every member club is impacted by the Sail Canada programs,” said Frank Denis, executive director of Sail Nova Scotia in an interview. “Some use all. Some just use race officials or junior sailing. All of them offer some form of their programs.”

Denis said Sail Canada puts together nationally recognized training programs for everything from instructors to coaches to race officials.

“They also lead the discussion on national required policies to make the sport a safer place. They work with the Coaching Association of Canada on all things certification-wise. They also designed the recognized sailing program for kids. That’s what our clubs are offering, the Sail Canada learn to sail instructional program.”

With Nova Scotia scheduled to host the 2022 World Championships for three Olympic classes, the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17, on Sept. 6 to 11, 2022, there “will be some opportunities coming up” for people who have sailing experience and want to be involved with officiating at the international level, said Sam Crothers, Sail Canada program manager in an interview.

David Greening photo

Sail Nova Scotia won the rights to host the 2022 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships, in partnership with the Hubbards Sailing Club, St. Margaret Sailing Club and Sail Canada. About 400 of the world’s best sailors from over 35 countries are expected to compete on St. Margaret’s Bay during the six-day event.

“That will become a big focus for some of the officials and clubs in that area, getting ready to host internationally,” said Crothers.

Sail Canada provides internationally certified training for race officers, judges and umpires. Since COVID-19 struck, Crothers said a number of courses have been delivered virtually which has “been a great opportunity to engage some new people and continue development for some others.”

Crothers said it is great to see how sailing clubs across the country are trying to adapt to COVID-19 and offer different types of programs so they can accommodate as many people as possible.

David Greening photo

“That is great to see and we hope that that will continue,” she said. “Clubs were able to learn last year with COVID-19 training.”

Considering by its very nature, sailing already incorporates social distancing and small bubbles of people, “we hope this is an opportunity to bring more into the sport,” said Crothers.

“One of the beauties of sailing is there are so many ways to get involved for people of all ages. It can be a sport for kids and families but there’s also lots of opportunities for people as they grow older. There’s lots of ways to get involved without owning a boat or any big expenses… volunteer race night or for an evening cruise to just try it out and get involved at the community level. There’s lots of opportunities to get involved that way.”

Sail Canada, through its provincial counterparts, also offers keelboat and cruising courses for older youth and adults ranging from first stepping on a boat up to more advanced levels including weekend cruising or racing opportunities.

Sail Canada also works closely with the Able Sail Network who supports a number of programs across the country including in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

“We all work together to deliver the programs at the local level,” said Crothers. “The provinces are the ones who support the clubs,” and encourage people to reach out to the provincial organizations if they want to get involved.

Just what the racing scene will look like in Canada this season is “hard to know for sure,” said Crothers. “For the most part, clubs are continuing the planning process for club racing and local regattas. Regional and national events are more unknown at this point.”

Last year in Nova Scotia, clubs were able to offer some racing in smaller numbers and with protocols in place, so they got some practice with that adapting and all the different requirements, said Crothers. “I’m optimistic we will see some local racing and regattas at the club level in all the provinces.”

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