Hubbards Sailing Club Dedicated to Youth

For more than 50 years, the Hubbards Sailing Club has been dedicated to teaching youth in the community life skills through sailing.

“We don’t have one keel boat. We don’t have a senior membership. Just youth,” says Commodore Bill Doane. “We’re 100 per cent dedicated to learning to sail programs. Our biggest mandate is to make it as accessible as possible to the youth of our community.”

Approximately 180 youth between the ages of five and 18 go through one of the club’s sailing programs every summer, says club manager Andrea Edwards.

“We have both recreational and competitive sailing,” says Edwards. “We offer Wet Feet which is a kind of introductory program for little kids to get their feet wet, to get them exposed to sailing, to find out what it’s like and make it fun and enjoyable so they want to come back. CanSail starts at age eight and we do all six levels. We have races at our club and a race team also that competes at the local regattas and some of our racers do go out of province to other events.”

Edwards said a lot of the kids that go through the sailing programs come back as coaches.

A coach and one of his sailors from the Hubbards Sailing Club take a break between races at the Bay Wind Regatta. Contributed photos

Students gather around a coach at the Hubbards Sailing Club, which is dedicated to teaching youth life skills through sailing.

“We have 12 coaches and of those 12, 11 all went through the program. We’re doing something right. They like it. They want to stay. They know what it was like to go through the program, what the culture is like, the atmosphere and they preserve that by staying and coaching.”

Doane said the Hubbards Sailing Club gets a lot of community support. “We do a lot of fundraising. We have a lot of great supporters. In early July, we have our annual barbecue and auction. That’s a huge help to us. What makes the program run is the community support. We’re trying to make this accessible to people so we keep our prices as low as we can,” he said.

The Hubbards Sailing Club undertakes instruction during July and August using optis, 420s and lasers, says Doane.

“They thrive,” says Doane, speaking from the experience of watching his own daughters go through the sailing programs and end up coaching at the club.

“I’ve seen first-hand. You take a six-year-old kid, put them in an opti and send them out sailing. It’s like giving them the keys to the car when they’re six years old and saying go drive. It’s what’s boating is all about. Getting that confidence and having fun.”

This summer, the Hubbards Sailing Club, the St. Margaret’s Bay Sailing Club and Sail Nova Scotia are co-hosting the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships in St. Margaret’s Bay from Aug. 31 to Sept. 5.

“It’s really an opportunity for the kids in St. Margaret’s Bay and all of Nova Scotia to rub shoulders with these world class sailors. I can’t wait to watch,” said Doane who is event co-chair.

“One of the great things about hosting this event is the partnerships we’ve formed. Working with St. Margaret’s Sailing Club, working with the Hubbards Planning Waterfront Association. The Hubbards Planning Waterfront is a small marina. We’re working with them. Most of the event will be hosted on their land. That’s been a tremendous partnership,” said Doane.

Many of the youth sailors and their families in the area have been signing up to volunteer for the world championships, said Edwards. “It’s going to be a spectacle for sure,” she said.

For more than 50 years, the Hubbards Sailing Club has been dedicated to teaching youth life skills through sailing.

A 420 and an Opti are two of the types of boats/dinghies used at the Hubbards Sailing Club to teach sailing. Contributed


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