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Sailors ready to reclaim Alta Lake

Fun races and provincial youth events planned by Whistler Sailing Association



Most Whistler residents are thinking about pulling out their warm weather toys as the snow slowly retreats back up the mountains.

ATVs, dirt bikes, mountain bikes, paddle boards and kayaks are coming out of winter storage while Whistler Sailing Association (WSA) members prepare their sailing vessels for the season.

The association's head coach and operations manager, Francois Hebert, said his third season with the association would include weekly Wednesday evening fun races on Alta Lake, a youth regatta in July and a ski and sail regatta at the end of this month.

Hebert, who spends the winter months teaching ski lessons, said the number of young people who have taken sailing lessons through the WSA has grown steadily with more than 150 kids taking lessons last year. He said kids who live in Whistler attended the sailing classes along with a smaller number of kids with second homes in Whistler and even smaller number of vacationers who came from as far away as Singapore and Hong Kong. Summer lessons will return next month through August.

The association's sailing base is at the old hostel on Alta Lake Road. Hebert said the location is good for a number of reasons.

"It is a really safe place to learn and because we have wind all the time we can get the kids sailing a lot," said Hebert of the sailing centre that has been supported by a number of organizations in Whistler.

Last year the Optimist Class Provincial Championships were held in Whistler and Hebert said that attracted 40 competitors.

"This year we have a pretty large event coming," said Hebert.

A BC Circuit Event is planned for Alta Lake July 20 and 21.

"We're expecting between 80 and 100 athletes," Hebert said. "It is quite a bit larger than what we did last year. We're expecting all types of boats."

As well as Optimists, competitors will sail Lasers and 420s in the July races. Optimists and Lasers are small dinghies while the larger 420s are crewed by two sailors.

To kick the season off, Herbert said the annual Ski and Sail Regatta is planned for April 27 and 28. The first day of the event is a ski day and the second day is an afternoon of sailing.

Association details can be found at