The fifth annual Black Sturgeon Sailing School was another success. Held over two days, the boats were provided by SailManitoba, and surrounding neighbours. Six single person Pram’s and four two person boats (Laser-II’s and an Enterprise and a Kalabri) were on the water. The participants ranged from complete novices to intermediates. One participant, learning for the first time, said, “I’m so impressed I learned how to sail this weekend! I feel like I stretched my boundaries.”
In a previous school year, Phil Burns, one of the hosts of the event, taught a participant how to read the winds by drawing it on a plate. The plate was brought out again this year, and the visuals were extremely well appreciated by the students.
Twelve students learned to sail with two instructors, from SailManitoba. Dylan taught the younger students aged from 9 to 12. Graham took the older students, aging in range from 13 to “mature”.
On day one the skies were blue, but the wind was intermittent and modest, until the afternoon. The gusts “turtled” a few boats, but that is part of the learning. The end of the day was celebrated by a geat BBQ hosted by Ted and Marni Melnyk, complete with a sailing cake!
On day two of the course a few participants were scared away due to threats of a thunderstorm. The morning was exciting with a stronger wind than the day before. The afternoon was equally as exciting with a few white caps and a brief but intense shower. With the rain clouds out of the way, the sunny afternoon was full of students practicing their new skills.
Why all this work by Phil and Kanning Burns to host a yearly sailing school? Perhaps it is summarized by a couple of statements. Marnie Melnyk said that 15 years ago, when they first moved to Black Sturgeon Lake, they had one of the only sailboats on the water. Passionate for the outdoors, and especially for riding the wind, Marnie was emotional when she reflected on the scores of boats on the water now, due in a great part to the sailing school.
Another reason, perhaps, that the sailing school is such a success is again from words overheard from a student. She said, “Sailing is such a fun way to get around.” And the smiles on all the students confirmed that to be true.