It was 1985 when several ambitious sailors formed the Sylvan Lake Sailing Club. It was a very small beginning, with a few catamarans and dinghies and a couple of 24-foor cruisers. We had no place to call "home" at this time.
Three or four years later, the developer of Marina Bay offered the club 20 slips at $20 each per year. The club immediately grew much larger and soon we were asking for more slips. We now had a place we could call home. Boats got bigger and fancier (would you believe two had wood burning stoves in the cabins?), but we didn't do much except putz about on our boats and visit with each other.
The Hendley Regatta (not to be confused with the Henley Regatta on the Thames) had begun a couple of years earlier and consisted of decorating your boat and parading to the "race course," which was usually a very sheltered bay down the lake, with two row boats in tow. Once anchored and rafted together, the "course marshals" would begin to set out the course, while the rest of the crews sampled the offerings of appies and wine. Once we were fed and watered, the "match racing" would begin. Each boat would offer up their best oarsmen to do battle on the race course! Those who weren't racing were given a demonstration of synchronized swimming by three of the 1962 Aqua Bells from the University of Alberta. We were all winners at these events...good food, good friends and a fine time.
Then, the inevitable happened: we started to race our sailboats! The keelboats were all located in Marina Bay, while the laster fleet sailed form Mrs. Beluik's property in Jarvis Bay. With the eventual sale of her property, the laser fleet disbanded.
In addition to the Wednesday Series, we would have several long distance or Pursuit Races on the weekends. These would always end up with a party and awards at someone's home.
At first, we had the biggest fleet of Paceship 23s in the world - five of them, to be exact, plus many odd-ball boats (not to mention odd
skippers). Gradually, the focus of our club became racing and enjoying our sport with a lot of good friends.
The SLSC has been represented at the Canadian Match Racing Championship and twice at the CYA Women's Nationals. Our boats have travelled to the Whidbey Island Race Week, RIPS Canadian Race Week, Montana Cup, the Prairie Enduracne Challenge & Ghost Lake Regatta and Blossom Time Regatta.
As told by Allan Fisher, member of the Sylvan Lake Sailing Club since its inception in 1985.