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Jericho Sailing Centre in the wind

Ahoy JSCA Members:
Here is what's "in the wind", coming events and items of interest at the Jericho Sailing Centre, Vancouver's Ocean Access Community Centre, for April 11-18, 2008 and beyond:

Sailor Sam Sails Home

I first met Sam Sullivan on a typically grey Vancouver day in October 1988 on the tarmac in front of the Jericho Sailing Centre. He rolled into the compound with a "Sunbird" sailboat, a third hand gift from British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher via Rick Hanson- a trinket from Rick's "Man in Motion" around the world tour. Never the seafaring type, Rick didn't know what to do with it, so he handed it off to Sam, a specially designed and engineered, adaptable sailing dinghy which could be tailored to allow people with varying degrees of mobility in their limbs to experience the freedom of sailing on the sea under their own command. As enlightened as I felt at the time by Rick Hanson's inspiring odyssey aimed at highlighting the abilities of people with disabilities, I didn't think taking a person from their wheelchair and launching them into the sea in a small boat on their own seemed like a very good idea: and I plainly stated as much. Fortunately, I was the new guy then, and no one listened to me.

It didn't take long to change the minds of those who might've doubted the program would hold any water. Sam and his fellow sailing test pilots, the founding members of the Disabled Sailing Association, went about putting the "'bird" through her paces, sailing it in all wind and sea surface conditions under the careful, sceptical scrutiny of the Jericho Rescue Team. Four hundred pounds of lead in a drop keel made capsizing an intact boat almost impossible, but she sailed upwind like a tug. She tacked like a tug towing a barge. Her Beluga bulbous, rounded hull gave her freighter-like reflexes: her tablecloth sized underpowered sails and foam filled buoyancy compartments were all geared toward compromising performance for safety and soon earned her the respect of knowledgeable doubters. 

The newly formed DSA quickly drew new members; many former sailors who thought their disability automatically meant they would never sail again. The program was drafted, evolved and redrafted, many times. The variety of disability types served expanded from physical to include functionally and mentally disabled folk. The scope of the program widened from leisure, to include racing, experiential and rehabilitative. Many people experienced sailing a Sunbird as part of their transition from post trauma facilities to their new regular life as a person with disabilities.  Leaving wheelchairs on the beach to sail with the seagulls quickly became more and more popular, more boats were added and the DSA launched hundreds of sailors each year. The program drew interest from other Canadian cities and other countries.

The first sailing regatta for people with disabilities, the Mobility Cup, was held in 1991 and for the next seven years it drew disabled sailors from all over the world to Vancouver and the Jericho Sailing Centre. The last Mobility Cup at the Jericho Sailing Centre was in 1997: since then its been all over the world coming back to Vancouver in 2006 when it was hosted by that yacht club down the beach whose name escapes me at the moment. The disabled sailing program that Sam Sullivan started at the Jericho Sailing Centre in 1988 has grown worldwide with 30 branches in Canada alone. If Rick Hanson alerted able-bodied folk to the fact that people with disabilities have more ability than we previously recognized, Sam's sailing program punctuated the point, with a sprig of sea spray.

Sam served on the Jericho Sailing Centre Association board of directors for two years prior to being elected to Vancouver City Council. What stood out in that time was his thoughtful reserved manner no matter how tempestuous the debate and his ability to bring people with passion, diversity and yes, sometimes even malice, together. Sam's calm, rationale style was that of a navigator charting a course, bringing all variables and viewpoints into consideration, always looking for the best route before setting our organizational sails in any given direction. Sam arrived on a divisive, dysfunctional board and departed two years later leaving a board that strived to set the best course by building consensus in his wake.

Sailor Sam returns to his home port, the Jericho Sailing Centre, as Vancouver's Mayor this SATURDAY, April 12 from 1400H-1600H for an informal "Coffee with the Mayor" session and is inviting JSCA members to attend and share ideas and visions of the future for this city named after another famous sailor.

Member Opinion Straw Poll - Jericho Ocean Access Centre?

There was a philosophical discussion at this past weeks JSCA Board meeting regarding the name of the Jericho Sailing Centre. People often confuse us with a yacht club or think that ocean access opportunities here are limited to sailing. What's your opinion? Do you think the JSCA should consider a name change, and what would you call it? We will report percentages of your YES or NO responses and tidbits of your qualifying remarks in future issues of "in the wind".

20th year of Penguin Cup Racing begins This Sunday at 1230H

The first Penguin Cup race series was run in 1989 at the request of Jericho's Tasar Fleet who were keen to start the racing season early in order to practice for the Tasar Worlds held that summer at the Jericho Sailing Centre. The series runs in the spring and fall, before and after our regular Sunday/Tuesday race series.

Annual Spring Boat Wash This Weekend

The JSCA is encouraging all members to come out this weekend and shine up your bottom (and the rest of your boat too!). We'll have power washers, buckets, scrub brushes, sponges and soap on hand to facilitate getting your boat prepped for the season.

Earth Day Vancouver - April 26 Jericho Beach Park

Our friends at Evergreen are celebrating Earth Day in Jericho Beach Park and are looking for volunteers to help with planting, restoration work, engaging children, assisting with creative performing, helping performers, set-up and tear-down, and more. If you are interested in helping out contact Alston Bonamis, Earth Day Volunteer Co-ordinator at (604) 689-0766 Ext. 31 or

Pay Parking Commences May 1

Members who wish to purchase a $60 season parking pass for Jericho Beach Park can pick up the forms in the JSCA office or from the JSCA website, or by emailing your form request to . Pay parking is in effect from May 1- September 30, 2008.

Jericho Sailing Centre-Summer Staff Wanted

The Jericho Sailing Centre is in need of summer crew for various duties including reception and office duties, storage and maintenance, water safety and racing. If you are an ocean oriented person interested in serving Vancouver's ocean access community in a dynamic team oriented atmosphere please send your resume and cover letter to

 April is Tire Exchange Month

In April, members who currently store their craft on tires may trade these tires to the JSCA for foam blocks at no cost to them. The tires will be collected by the JSCA under the BC Tire Stewardship Program and sent for recycling. Members are asked to help us rid the compound of tires, a breeding ground for mosquitoes which could potentially spread the West Nile Virus, as soon as possible. While we prefer not to tamper with boats stored on tires, any tires remaining under boats after the end of April may be removed by volunteer work parties.
CYA Judging Seminar

The False Creek Creek Yacht Club is hosting a CYA Judging Certification Seminar on April 14 & 15. The program includes a Rules and Tactics Seminar on the 14th and a Protest Hearing Process on the 15th- all good information that would benefit any racer. The cost for each evening is $25 or $40 for both. 

Outrigger Canoe Paddling Development Program-Starts This Weekend
The Jericho Outrigger Canoe Club has been a fixture at the Jericho Sailing Centre since 1993. These magnificent hulls glide through the chop of English Bay as smoothly as silk propelled by teams of 6 paddlers. If you've ever wondered what it's like on board here is your chance to find out: sign up for the Canadian Outrigger Racing Association's Outrigger Paddling Development Program for an introduction to the fundamentals of outrigger paddling and steering. The program goes every Saturday April 12 to May 17, and, if you choose, a seat in the Jericho Iron Classic race on May 24. Times are 1000H-1200H. Registration is $50 and includes your 2008 CORA membership. For more info or to register contact (I can tell you from a sailor's point of view, paddling in a 6 person outrigger canoe is a great rush!)
JSCA Volunteer Work parties
Thank you to all the members who have participated with our volunteer programs to date; you folks put the wind in the sails of the Jericho Sailing Centre.

April 12 & 13        Rack Moving
JSCA Office Hours

April Hours 0930H-1630H Weekdays. 0900H-1700H Weekends. Gates open at 0700H and are locked at Dusk. (approx. 1945H).

Upcoming JSCA Meetings:

Programs               April 28 @ 1900H
Operations            April 29 @ 1900H
Board                     May 12 @ 1900H
Join the Jericho Rescue Team

The Jericho Rescue Team is looking for experienced sailors, windsurfers, paddlers and rowers who are interested in developing their seamanship and water safety skills, and are willing to volunteer to assist their fellow boaters. The Jericho Rescue Team provides safety and rescue support for all on-water events facilitated by the JSCA. This year our Rescue Team members will provide rescue coverage for the over 90 on-water event days on our 2008 events calendar. Qualified candidates can sign up for the Jericho Rescue Team Training Course which will be conducted on April 26 & 27. We provide training in water safety and seamanship, Boathandling, boat rescue and first aid. Course graduates must complete ongoing Rescue Team training including the Pleasure Craft Operators Certification, VHF Radio Licence, emergency first aid and CPR Certification (all provided). If you are interested please contact me in the Jericho office to discuss your qualification for this program.
On the Water, Your Safety is Your Responsibility
Please remember that launching in Vancouver spring conditions requires an extra emphasis on boat safety for yourself and your crew. Jericho Rescue and other boaters are notably scarce at this time of the year so you must take extra care to ensure a safe on water session. It starts with a check of the weather forecast and tidal activity. Let a friend or family member know you are going, where you are going and when you expect to be back on shore (follow-up with an apr├Ęs sailing phone call). Do a meticulous pre-launch check of your craft and equipment. Recognize when conditions are beyond your ability and choose not to launch. Make sure you are properly dressed-wetsuit/drysuit/hat/booties/gloves-including your PFD. Double check your safety equipment-paddles, bailer, whistle, flares. Know when the sun is setting and understand that the wind often shuts off abruptly in the hour before sunset. Don't go farther from shore than you care to paddle back if you or your equipment should fail or the wind shuts off.
One final tip: enclose your fully charged cell phone in two sealed sandwich bags and keep on your person. In the event of a sea disaster you can't solve yourself, dialling *311 will put you in touch with the Canadian Coast Guard's Rescue Coordination Centre.

Fair winds,

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