Local youth to hit open waters

Mobile Optimist Sailing School coming to Sooke from July 9-13

sted in setting sail and kayaking in Sooke’s open waters will now get the chance with the Mobile Optimist Sailing School.

The sailing school, organized through Sailing BC with certification from the Canadian Yachting Association, will take place in Sooke from July 9-13.

Lessons will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day, inside and at the dock behind Mariner’s Village.

“The purpose of this program is to build a legacy of youth sailing programs in communities that don’t already have access to them,” said Candice Suchocki Weir,  MOSS program facilitator.

Weir decided to contact Sailing BC and facilitate the program, after she learned Sooke did not have an on-water program for youth.

“If you’re a child in Sooke, your option would be to drive into Victoria if you were interested in learning to sail,” she said.

“I grew up sailing, I coached sailing professionally for years and it just shocks me there was no program in Sooke. I just think it’s such a great community for it.”

The program has an emphasis on how to be safe and have fun on the water, which Weir said is of utmost importance for children living in coastal communities like Sooke.

Kids will learn all the basics like: how to determine the strength and direction of wind; steering, manoeuvring and balancing a boat; proper parts of a boat; leaving and returning to the dock; and different points of sail.

A majority of the lessons will be facilitated through hands-on activities and on the water, namely the Sooke basin.

Seven-foot Optimist sailboats and two-person kayaks will be used. By the end, participants will be able to sail and kayak safely on their own.

The program is geared towards children between the ages of 6-14. Due to the potential age gap between participants, learning outcomes are determined by age, capability and ability.

“They are in the same boat, doing basically the same thing, but the objectives at the end of the day might be a little bit different,” Weir said.

The MOSS is held throughout dozens of communities in the Yukon and B.C., and costs $250 for the week. Children unable to bear the total cost of registration, can apply for KidSport bursaries.

The fee includes coaching costs, equipment, a work book and t-shirt.

Funds left over after expenses from running the program will go back to the community, if there is a desire to build a sailing school.

The registration deadline is Friday, June 29.

To register and find out more information, check out: www.moss.bcsailing.bc.ca