by Dave Naples
MANITOULIN – The Little Current Yacht Club (LCYC) was originally conceived as a vehicle to run a race from Mackinac Island, US, to Little Current, Canada. This was thought of as a way to bring tourists to the Island, but a funny thing happened when they went searching for the first Commodore. Roy Eaton said he would only accept the Commodore’s position if the club would offer a youth sailing program. Mr. Eaton struck to the heart of almost every yacht club in North America in that they all have youth or junior sailing as part of their charter.
In the beginning, LCYC hired from the Canadian Yachting Association (CYA) a pair of traveling instructors who came to town and held classes for Little Current kids over a two to three-week period. It didn’t take LCYC long to figure out that this was very costly and not conducive to long-term stability for the program. The club then sought out instructors from other areas to come and stay in Little Current for the six to eight weeks that the program ran. This proved to be a successful formula to move the program forward.
The biggest success is that out of this program we have a Haweater instructor who lives in Little Current, is well known and trusted by our citizens. Bryce Mastelko will be in his third year of running the program. It is important to remember that the program is sanctioned by the Canadian Yachting Association and that Bryce has been trained and certified by the CYA. He has an assistant who is in his second year, and both instructors are on the water with the students at all times, either on the sailboats giving instruction or on a power dingy following the boats. Safety first.
Bryce started sailing in 2008 with the White Sail program, completing White Sail 3 by 2009. With a program change in 2012, Bryce and Jake completed CANSail 3 and 4. In 2013, Bryce was certified to instruct CANSail 1 and 2.
“This program has given me a love of sailing for more than 10 years now, and allowed me to purchase my own boats to further my sailing knowledge, and then proceed to pass it on to new sailors each summer. Currently I am looking to get my Keelboat Instructor certification and CANSail 3 and 4 certification.”
This season will be a little different than the last two since there will not only be classes in Little Current but plans are in place to have a week of instruction, July 8-12 in Manitowaning and July 15-19 in Gore Bay as these communities are further from Little Current than is practical for parents to shuttle their kids back and forth daily. If your child wants to get a taste of sailing, LCYC is offering an introduction day course on July 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Manitoulin Island towns are basically seafaring communities and nothing is more important than training our youth in boat handling and safety. Regardless of whether or not you have had your children on a boat, they will come home with boating skills and self-confidence.
If you are interested in this program go to www.lcyc.ca or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.