The EYC Junior Sail Program, commenced trial operations in the summer of 2000 by bringing in the Ontario Sailing Association’s BOOM program. This is a turn-key mobile delivery of a sail training program by the OSA. Since the BOOM program at EYC was well attended in each of the summers of 2000 and 2001, we felt confident that if we set invested in our own sail training dinghies and coach boats, we would have a good chance of being successful.
We applied for and received a Trillium grant and set about building up our own program. During the fall of 2001, we acquired the old original clubhouse of the Humber College Sailing and Power Boat centre (which was a surplus school board portable classroom) to be use as our boatshed. We put electrical service into the boatshed and acquired some tools and set about building our boats.
By late fall of 2001, we had ordered 6 Club 420s and started construction of 16 wooden Optimists since the grant wasn’t large enough to buy all the boats we were going to need. Building boats to the stringent measurement requirements of the International Optimist Dinghy Association proved challenging. The first boat off the jig did not measure correctly, but with perseverance over the course of that winter we completed all 16 Optimists. With the alternative mahoghany and obeche wood gunwhales, were the prettiest Optimists ever built.
In the summer of 2002 we have our first season as a stand-along program. We had some excellent racing results in that some of our C-420 crews placed in the top 10 at eah of Steerers and 4-Sisters and did well at other regattas in Sarnia, and Kingston’s CORK.
We had similar regatta successes in 2003 and in 2004, we decided to add a laser race team to our program. We had some podium finishes among our radial team over the next two years. Since transitioning from an Optimist to a Club 420 was like moving from a Volkswagen to a Porsche, in 2005 we decided to build 4 Chevrolets (aka Blue Jays) as transition boats between Optimists and Club 420s. Henceforth, while the White Sail levels I and II were still done in Optimists, the White Sail III level would be done in the Blue Jays.
The beautiful wooden Optimists we built were very labour intensive to maintain, taking between 1,000 and 2,000 hours to refurbish each winter after a season on the water. We decided reluctantly that the time had come to sell them and replace them with roto-molded Oppis (essentially an Optimist built of heavy almost bullet proof plastic). We retained two of the original Optimists to convert into cabinets for the trophies earned by our sailors.
By 2007 we wanted to expand the program. We applied for an additional Trillium grant, to be used to replace the old club docks that we pressed into service in 2002 and which were falling apart. The grant also allowed us to acquire to lasers and 2 Optimists to facilitate our best students to participate on laser and Optimist race teams.
By 2008, we sold the Blue Jays and replaced them with 4 RS Fevas, a British built small skiff which like the Oppis has a plastic hull and is less prone to damage than a wooden boat. We have found the Feva to be such a good boat, in 2014 we acquired 2 more. These new acquisitions were equipped for racing with a larger mainsail and asymmetric spinnakers. Although the regatta circuit for the RS Feva is small, our sailors had some success in the events in which they competed. We like the boat so much we are actively promoting it as a racing class with other sailing schools in the GTA. This spring (2015) we expect to take delivery of a further 2 FEVAs, bringing our fleet to 8.