Students enjoy travelling sailing school

The BOOM sailing program breezed into town last week to set local kids on course towards become longtime enthusiasts of the sport.
Six local sailing students took part in the five-day camp between Aug. 20-24.
“We teach them basic sailing skills,” said BOOM instructor Jamie Copeland. “It’s been very good. The kids have taken to it very quickly.
“It’s not a one-week deal. As they go along, hopefully they’ll build on what they’ve learned here,” he added.
He and fellow instructor Corey Caheck wanted to stress safety–while no motors or hihg-tech equipment are involved with sailing, kids are coming into contact with the elements.
“You have to be careful in the boat,” said Copeland. “So obviously safety is one of the first things we teach them.”
Sailing student Tim Drew’s first brush with sailing came during a community sail hosted by the Rendez-Vous Yacht here during the summer.
“I’ve went out a few times when I was younger,” he said. “This is my first real experience.”
Drew went on to describe several things he’s learned at the camp, including the act of “in-ironing” or moving a boat’s stern into the wind. He had learned that the hard way, however.
“We were doing a course and I was about to turn, but I lost speed and I almost fell over,” he recalled, but was still not deterred from planning to buy his own sailboat–when he gets older of course.
The group did eventually venture as far as 15 km north from the Pither’s Point beach shore on the second last day with no problems.
BOOM, based in Hamilton, has been providing sailing lessons across the province since 1971. It stands for Best-ever Ontario Optimistic (type of boat) Mobile. Would-be sailors aged 8-18 regularly take part in its summer offering.
Copeland said sailing is taken very seriously as a sport around many places in North America, including he and Caheck’s hometown of Vancouver.
Fort Frances is the last stop for their travelling school, which has entertained students in other provincial communities such as Arnprior, Port Dover, Peterborough, and Stormount/Cornwall. The two brought upwards of 15 vessels measuring about eight feet in length to every town they visited.
“It’s best for the kids to learn with a very basic rig before moving up to more advanced ones,” noted Copeland.