Fostering the Sailing Ecosystem in St. Margaret’s Bay

Earlier this year, the St. Margaret’s Sailing Club (SMSC) in Glen Haven, Nova Scotia, played host to Olympic and National laser-class sailors from across North America to train in their waters and pass their knowledge and experience on to local youth in turn.

“Sail Canada came down and they trained what they call ILCA (International Laser Class Association), which is lasers. They brought their team here and they trained out of St. Margaret’s Sailing Centre, and they did that for two weeks,” said Kevin Stover, an ambassador of Sail Canada to St. Margaret’s Sailing Club.

“During those two weeks (May 10–21), there were some of our top performance athletes across the country, and there were some invited from Mexico, the States; and they trained in really harsh environments. What they were trying to do is get them experienced so when they go to a really big wind, big water to race, they were prepared for it.”

As a bonus, Sail Canada took the combined years of experience of these world-class athletes and passed along their knowledge to youth in the community. For two weeks, youth sailors trained both mentally and physically to better their skills in laser-class competitive racing.

“When the people went to train at the Canada Games Centre, these young potential future athletes got to go with them, got to see what it was like to do psychological training, physical training, nutritional training and they were able to participate for two weeks,” said Stover.

“The kids, in some cases, took time off school and literally trained every day for two weeks with these high-performance athletes.

After two weeks of intense, world-class training, the youth sailors got the benefit of participating in a regatta to put their training to the test. According to Stover, the sailors’ resolve was trialled as they battled massive waves, howling wind and torrential rain as they raced over two days in St. Margaret’s Bay.

“It was really quite an event for high-performance racing at the highest level and for further development for the ecosystem of future generations of high-performance sailors,” said Stover.

The regatta, known as the “Spring Fling Regatta” was divided into the ILCA 4 and ILCA 6 fleet races. Coming in first in the ILCA 4 class was SMSC sailor Mattea Nakatsu, followed by SMSC, Royal Canadian Yacht Club (RCYC) and Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron (RNSYS) sailor Baruch Saffer. The third place title for the ILCA 4 class was taken by SMSC sailor Anderson Perry.

In the ILCA 6 class, Elena Oetling Ramirez from the Chapala Yacht Club took first, followed by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club sailor Lilly Myers and RNSYS sailor Ryan Anderson.

According to Stover, the young people that attended the two-week training camp were equally excited and stunned by the intense training taking place on St. Margaret’s Bay. To him, opportunities for young sailors like the ones who sailed out of SMSC were a dream come true for what he wants for the future of Canadian sailors.

“They didn’t understand the level of intensity that was there as far as what it took to be a world-class athlete,” said Stover. “The summer for our athletes has just been all about development and building and scaling it back; starting fresh with a new program and putting those pieces together to put people on podiums or make them stronger sailors.”

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