Yesterday’s Boom mishap was soon rectified with the help of Director Bob who fixed our battered spar and returned it to the clubhouse the same evening. It sure felt stronger than new and made it through a strong wind day without a hitch.
It was a sunny and blustery morning with a reported 40 knots in Johnson Strait not very far away. Fortunately Browning Harbour is protected on 3 sides, providing an ideal location for young sailors. We were probably running closer to a steady 10 knots close to shore and 15 further out in our anchorage, making for a lively yet controlled introduction for our students. Our flag flew proudly and despite the higher than normal breeze, all boats were fully crewed on the water.
It turned out to be a supreme water day for everyone as winds tapered in the afternoon, yet stayed steady throughout the day. Judging by the squeals of delight we knew they were have a great time – managing their boats in lively circumstances. We never did get to see a boat dawdling as they all seemed to be stuck with a foot on the accelerator. The old adage that a sailboat spotting another sailor automatically transforms into race mode sure was true of our participants today!
Despite the boisterous water antics, lunch together followed by the finer points of instruction from Nathan provided the backdrop for the afternoon session back on the water. We suspect our students will sleep well tonight!
Day 2 represented our capsize event. Traditionally held at the end of the course, Capsize Day has been advanced as kids self-confidence noticeably grows after a successful rescue. Instructor Nathan provided a demo, walked attendees through the steps, then assigned teams and circled in case of any needed assistance. Our students were troopers with the final group opting for a cold swim to the beach to bask in their success.
Among the more unusual events, one of the student Flying Juniors suffered a broken boom. Fortunately no one was hurt and our students enjoyed a free tow back to shore from the Instructor Boat. After their return to the lot, all returned to the water on the Instructor Boat at which point we adopted a cycle policy of mixing crews to ensure everyone had a full afternoon on the water. It was a happy example of quick recovery from a mishap and sharing of duties among participants to focus on the positives. Below is our boat back on shore with the broken boom which will be repaired tonight.
It was a pleasure to see the mixture of new and established skills. Dr. Don took the opportunity to escort a few of our newcomers on their own expedition across the waters. There is no better way of gaining confidence than in the hands of a pro! On the flip side, returning students were already self-launching their vessels on the 2nd day of activities. Thanks to the returning crew of 8 veterans, most boats handled their beach launch with aplomb and zero fuss.
And on a lighter note – on this day of infamy where Germany humiliated Brazil in World Cup activity, our own shore activities were uprooted by a 4 legged ball-hogging thief. He was clearly the audience favourite on Pender – lol.
Monday dawned overcast as 8 veterans and 4 newcomers convened in Browning Harbour. The weather Gods soon cooperted as it was clear that our sailors were determined to get out on the water that very morning. By 11:00 the group was on the water and doing a great job sailing in the bay.
That continued throughout the day with a short break for lunch and the weather steadily improving. By the afternoon it was clear skies, mild winds and warm temps. A true Pender summer day!
Here are a few pictures of our first water day of the season.
Our thanks to the Board, almost all of whom turned out for this starter day. We had cleaned boats (cleaned a weekend ago) and a spruced up parking area to show for their collective efforts. Happy and safe sailing to everyone.
May 3rd dawned grey and listless as over a hundred Penderites convened in a life memorial for a stalwart of the sailing community. John Quitzau was a life-long sailor, leading the PI Yacht Club racing program in mastering the Gulf Islands’ “liquid assets”. With an ever-ready smile he combined a mastery of tides and wind with words of encouragement to fellow sailors.
Saturday morning was John’s final race as 7 boats convened for a last sortie from Otter Bay Marina. The Junior Sailing program contributed two boats manned by five of our directors in honour of the occasion. In a moving tribute, John’s ashes were then committed to the waters by his son Lester accompanied by the morning’s race vessels.
Shortly thereafter, Angie Quitzau, Lester and Honey Mae hosted a memorial dinner where we shared reminisces of a friend, community leader and avid sailor. It was a day of recognition, love and hope as only Pender can offer.
As a living memorial the family has asked that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Pender Island Junior Sailing. These can be dropped off at the Junior Sailing folder at the Pender Realty office or mailed to Anne Burdett or Dr. Don Williams.
We mourn John’s passing while gratefully appreciating his legacy in supporting future sailors.
5 Lasers are used for advanced sailors enrolled in the CANSail 3 program. The boats are of varying age and were contributed by islanders. While not up to racing specification, the units undergo regular maintenance by the commodore. Rigging/sails are tagged to each unit to facilitate rigging by our students.