The CanSail program is geared towards skill development more than age. A sailor who starts when they are older may be able to progress through the initial levels more quickly than a younger child ( this is obviously child dependant). I Can Sail and level ½ starts the beginner sailor off with familiarizing them with the boat, it’s parts and the basics of sailing. It is also important to note that the student progresses at their pace, not ours, so may achieve multiple levels in one session if they are older beginners.
All sailors MUST have a brightly coloured, Canada Coast guard certified life jacket, with a whistle attached. This must be worn on the docks and in the boats at all times. Students will also need a lunch (no garbage please- it attracts the wasps and seagulls), a refillable water bottle, a bathing suit and towel (wearing the suit in the morning means they can get on the water faster), a hat, sunglasses, closed toed shoes ( that can get wet) and a change of clothes, including warm layers.
A brightly coloured life jacket makes your child easier to see during unintentional capsizes (which is fairly often when they are first learning) and makes it faster and easier for an instructor to assess whether help is needed in any given situation. A whistle is important so that your child can signal distress to the instructor in the event that this happens. PLEASE NOTE: Sailors who blow their whistles inappropriately may be asked to sit out a water session.
Please know that your child’s safety is of our utmost concern!! I Can Sail and level ½ sailors often sail in our Optimist dinghies ( affectionately called “ optis”) which are safe, sturdy, reliable, responsive dinghies for the learning sailor. Our coaches attend to the students on the water from motorized inflatable boats, and are only ever a few meters away.
There are lots moving parts on a sailboat, many of which are both the right size and level to catch toes, which can cause significant damage if the toes are in the wrong place at the wrong time….and when on the dock, there are heavy boats being moved around, and splinters just waiting for a foot to make home!!
In recent years, more awareness has been made regarding Electric Shock Drowning. This is a form of drowning actually caused by an electric current passed through the water from exposed wiring on docks and potentially boats. Please take a minute and read this article:
The docks at MBSC are maintained regularly, and checks are made to ensure all wiring is safely encased- but the muskrat, otter and beaver that make their homes in the area have been known to chew through the conduit- so to make sure everyone is safe, we have instituted a No Swim policy within the club’s harbour.
It is important to remember that sailing is a progression of skills, not a pass/fail sport. It takes many sailors time to master all the skills required at each level- on average 2 sessions per level. That is, of course, just a guideline, and our Sail Canada certified instructors are trained to accurately assess these skills, and progress sailors when they are ready, not just when they have finished a session. It takes a lot of knowledge, skill and confidence to master sailing and each sailor will progress as they are ready both in skills development, and confidence levels. It is important to note that many lifelong sailors are always looking to improve themselves all areas of sailing.
While it seems very counterintuitive to sailing, there is such a thing as too much wind!!! Strong, gusty winds can make handling a sailboat difficult, even for a very seasoned sailor. It can be both dangerous, and frankly, frightening, for a child just learning to sail to be out in a strong wind. To this end, our instructors are constantly evaluating the weather, wind, and skill of the sailors in each session to make a judgement on whether to sail or not. It can be very disheartening, and tiring, for smaller kids to spend a whole afternoon capsizing, struggling to right their boat, only to have it go over the other way!! Please be assured that we do our best to make sure that on land lessons are still continuing, any games we play are sailing based and work to further their knowledge, and in the event of a prolonged bad weather event – any movie they may watch will be both age appropriate, and hopefully sailing based!!!
No, you do not have to be a member of the club. We welcome all sailors!