Yacht Club plans full summer of events

A youngster plies the North Channel aboard a Pico boat courtesy of the youth sailing program.

 Youth sailing back for another season

LITTLE CURRENT—Fourteen years after the Little Current Yacht Club was formed, it is still going strong following the ideals of the founding members. When the LCYC was formed in 2003, the two priorities were to establish an International Yacht Race from Mackinac Island to Manitoulin Island (soon known as the MacMan) and to offer a Youth Sailing Program.

The MacMan has morphed into the North Channel Race Week. Instead of racing through the North Channel in the middle of the night, this race now has only daytime legs. The race starts in Hilton Beach and visits Thessalon, Blind River, Spragge, Gore Bay and Little Current. Instead of racing through the North Channel this port to port format allows the racers to visit different areas of the North Channel and learn of new places and meet new faces. The race still ends up with the Classic second leg of the MacMan racing from Gore Bay to Little Current. Each leg of the race ends with an awards party and good fellowship for all involved. The race also allows for all levels of skill and crew, from the fully crewed spinnaker class down to the ever popular Jack and Jill husband and wife style teams who choose to race with just a jib and mainsail. This event runs from July 17-21. If you care to have an exciting week on the North Channel go to the LCYC website, www.LCYC.ca to register.

The Youth Sailing Program is also up and running this year after a one year vacation that was needed to reorganize the program and obtain some new instructors. The program is under the guiding hand of Tracey Chapman. She is already putting together the dates, venues and fee structures for the upcoming season, which will accommodate children of various ages and skill levels. This information can also be found at: www.LCYC.ca/index.php/youth-Sailing-Program. If you have a youngster who you would like to be in this program please call or register on our website to reserve a spot.

The Cruisers’ Net was not part of the vision of the founding members, but run by Roy Eaton it has become a very important part of the boating season. This program is recognized by the Canadian Coast Guard, Canadian Air Search and Rescue Patrol, as well as the United States Coast Guard. These entities regularly contact Roy when looking for missing boats.  During the 2016 season, the Net had contact with over 850 different boats with over 5,600 calls recorded. The Net has done it all, from helping boats in trouble to arranging weddings.

This year thanks to Past Commodore Mel Wallbank of the Great Lakes Cruising Club and our very own Anchor Inn, the Cruiser’s Net will have a new feature the “AIS system.” This system will add another level of safety for our summer visitors. The system allows Roy to monitor location, speed and direction for those boats with an active sender. This will make locating a boat in distress easy.

The Cruisers’ Net broadcasts on VHF radio channel 71 every morning at 9 am. Boaters are invited to witness a live broadcast and see what it is all about, by visiting the conference room on the second floor of the Anchor Inn. Please arrive before 9 am so you don’t interrupt the broadcast with a late entry.

The local racing season kicks off on June 24 and 25 with a regatta style weekend. Saturday will be the Cooper Cup, while Sunday will be the first ever Loco Beanz Coffee Cup. This season, the race program will be overseen by Vice Commodore O H Rodgers, Brent Masson and David Naples. Of course, the fall sailing weekend is still on the menu and starts September 9 with the new Manitoulin Brewing Race and is followed on September 10 by the season ending Anchor Inn/Labatt Fall Classic. These races will also welcome boats that want to race with spinnakers and those who don’t.

This year, the Club will also revive the dingy poker run which will be run in conjunction with the Cruisers’ Net rendezvous on August 22.

So, if you are a boater and have not joined the LCYC, this could be the time to do so. There will be a lot of activities for power boaters and sailors alike. Just go the club’s website www.LCYC.ca and join the fun.