Octavian Lacatusu/Sooke News Mirror Sailor-in-training Mitchell Johnson, left Gord Fulcher, Bob Tully, Ethan Munro and Robert Chouinard.

Sooke Sailing Association ramps up for the summer

New boats and more to explore is in store for the sailing program this year

The Sooke Sailing Association is ramping up once again for a summer of fun out on the water.

Bookings for the association’s yearly kids (ages 6 to 14) Optimist Dinghy Sailing program at Coopers Cove have already begun, taking seats for the beginner to advanced level course that runs from July 10 to 14, as well as from July 17 to 24.

Training includes water and boating safety, launching, docking, steering, balancing, basics like wind speed and direction, leaving and returning to the dock and different points of sail — some of which are taught both on and off the water.

“The idea is to learn something new and fun and show people just how much there is to see in the Sooke Basin alone,” said Gord Fulcher, president of the Sooke Sailing Association, adding that there’s sufficient variety to fit anyone of any age.

In its fleet, the Association has nine little boats, six two-person dinghies and a 27-foot Catalina keel sailing boat where adults and families can sail together as part of the program’s Sailing Co-op section.

Two weeks at Coopers Cove will feature smaller dinghies, while one week takes out the bigger boats, and later an extension of the program will run in Oak Bay.

Two instructors and several certified and experienced volunteers run the show, some just as young as their clients.

Ethan Munro is a two-person dinghy sailor and assistant coach; he took out a boat to help others learn how to pilot a small sail craft on Sunday.

Given the sunshine and good gusts of wind, Munro seemed pleased with his experience as safety driver.

“Good wind today, had a really good time. Once in a long time sail today,” he said.

Helping Munro out was also Sooke resident Robert Chouinard, an experienced sailor who’s enjoyed sailing on local waters for more than 20 years.

“What people don’t know about Sooke is that this is a prime location for sailing … we have the harbour, then the basin, and then you have the ocean,” he said.

The sailing program itself remains the same for the most part, though prices have gone up a bit this year as higher insurance rates and costly boat repairs have become an expensive affair.

As it stands, it’s $50 a sail and $130 per family.

Still, for that you still get a nearly endless amount of water surface to explore and navigate, Fulcher added.

For more info, contact Gord Fulcher at 778-425-4030 or visit sookesailing.com.

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