Some of the best women sailors in Canada are in the Okanagan this weekend as the Kelowna Yacht Club plays host to the 2015 RE/MAX Sail Canada Women’s Keelboat Championships.
The competition begins Friday on Okanagan Lake and features crews from all across Canada, and one from the U.S.
“We have 19 teams from as far away as Halifax, as well as the Caroline Grant team from Nantucket, Massachusetts,” says committee chair and skipper Gillian Thomson. “The races take place over three days out on the water by the yacht club and spectators can get a good view from Waterfront Park.”
Canadian competitors include B.C.-based teams from Kelowna, West Kelowna, Summerland, Vernon, Penticton and Victoria, as well as teams from Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia.
The women sailors will all race in Santana 525 boats.
Designed by Shad Turner in the 1970s for Schock Boats to meet the international offshore rule standards, the competitive 25-foot day racer is still comfortably to host a family for a weekend trip. The light high-performance boats are especially suited for the shifty and often light wind conditions of Okanagan Lake.
Kelowna Yacht Club boasts the largest Santana 525 one-design fleet in the world.
Competitors will gain an edge in the national championships thanks in part to the coaching of Bobby Brooks of North U. Regatta Services of Florida who ran a pre-regatta training camp and provide daily post race video debriefs. A veteran trainer, Brooks coached the ladies Rolex team to a top five finish in 1992.
The event is poised to build on the success of the 2007 championships held in Kelowna.
Over the last eight years, the enthusiasm for women’s sailing has grown with more women coming out every year. The club hosts a women’s sailing series every Monday night in May and June.