63rd Windsor Scouts Learn to Sail Camp 2014

The 63rd Windsor Scouts have been busy for much of this spring with a major project: building a Mirror Dinghy from a kit (graciously donated by Mirror Sailing Development). They have been assisted in this project by OMDA members Steve Richardson, who is also a Scout leader, and Don Alp, who knows a thing or two about building Mirrors. The scouts have been keeping a boat build blog with lots of photos of their activities.

On the weekend of June 7-8, OMDA and the 63rd Windsor Scouts held a joint event at Pittock Lake Conservation Area in Woodstock. Many OMDA members were able to attend to help celebrate the launching of the Scout's beautiful new boat No Regrets, and then to take the scout's out in our boats and teach them some of the basics of sailing.

We had perfect weather for the event on Saturday. Plenty of sun, and enough wind to keep things interesting without getting anybody too worried.

First, scouter Steve outlined the days plans for the scouts and OMDA members.

Photo: Scouter Steve Outlines the Day's Activities Photo: The OMDA Members Take Advantage of Some Shade

Then it was time to show the scouts how to rig a Mirror.

Photo: OMDA Members Demonstrate How to Rig a Mirror Photo: Steve Shows How the Spinnaker is Rigged Photo: Shelley Found a Shady Spot for Rigging

Launching No Regrets

With all the boats rigged and ready for the water, the first orders o business was to admire the scout's handiwork on No Regrets and mark her launch with a small ceremony. She's a beautifully constructed boat, even though she was missing a final coat of varnish. Don Alps ruptured appendix had delayed some of the finishing touches.

Photo: The Proud Builders of No Regrets Photo: Scouts, Leaders and OMDA Members Celebrate the Launch of No Regrets

As part of this, No Regrets was christened with sparkling grape juice (this being a scouting event after all). Don't worry Don, nobody contemplated breaking the bottle over the bows, and No Regrets emerged from the ceremony without a scratch!

Photo: No Regrets is Spritzed with Sparkling Grape Juice Photo: I want a Swig too Photo: The Scouts Quaff a Sample Photo: Are You Sure it's Non-Alcoholic?

After that, it was time to launch No Regrets into Pittock Lake. Much to everybodies relief, there were no nasty surprises when David and Sam took her out for her maiden voyage.

Photo: A Second Spritz Just Before Launching - You Can Never Be too Sure Photo: The Moment of Truth Photo: Who is Going to Volunteer for the Maiden Voyage Photo: She Floats! Photo: David and Sam Take No Regrets Out for Her Maiden Voyage

Sailing Lessons

The rest of the scouts who weren't lucky enough to be sailing in No Regrets were divided amongst the other boats from the OMDA fleet and everybody headed out onto the water. Derek piloted Charger, so we had a safety boat in case anyone needed help. It also provided a great platform for capturing photos of the event.

Photo: Now it's the Resto of the Scouts Turn Photo: Time To Launch the Rest of the Mirrors Photo: Elaine and Kinyara Photo: Steve with His Pupils Pranav and ? Photo: Sam Thinks David is Doing a Fine Job on Helm Photo: Natalie is up to the Challenge of Two Scouts Photo: An Impromptu Race Photo: Pranav Takes a Turn at the Helm Photo: Aleid Relaxes While his Pupil Takes the Helm Photo: Is the Sail Supposed to be this Floppy? Photo: Steve Relaxes While his Pupils Sail Photo: Ian and ? Photo: Watch Out for the Boom Shelley! Photo: Aleid and Sam

We'd clearly been out for a while ...

Photo: You're Supposed to Sail on the Water, Not in the Weeds! Photo: Scouter Steve Shows Tory the Ropes Photo: Elaine and Kinyara Photo: Time to Hike Out David!

By about 2:00 pm, we persuaded most of the scouts that they should come in and have something to eat.

Photo: Heading in For Lunch Photo: The Fleet Stands Ready

The scouts feasted on tube steak, while the OMDAites ate whatever we had packed in our coolers. We were amused to notice that none of the scouts removed their life jackets while eating lunch - they were clearly worried by rumours of non-sailing activities in the afternoon, and they weren't taking any chances. In the end, the scout's wishes prevailed, and we headed back onto the water to continue the sailing lessons.

One of the scouts decided to tackle a more advanced bit of training by staging a man overboard drill!

Photo: Man Overboard! Photo: Shelley and ? Head Over for the Rescue Photo: Pulling ? Back into the Boat Photo: Safely Aboard

Even the other scout leaders got lessons

Photo: Scouter Steve Teaches Scouter ? to Sail Photo: Ian and ? Enjoy a Nice Reach Photo: Happy Scout, Happy Leader Photo: David's Pupil Takes the Helm Photo: Keep a Sharp Lookout Photo: Derek Manned Charger, the Safety Boat Photo: Tory Takes the Helm Photo: Kinyara Thinks Sailing is Fun

After dinner and a hike to see the dam, the scouts amused us around the camp fire. Eventually we all retired for a well earned rest.


Sadly, we woke up to to less appealing weather on Sunday. There were plenty of signs of rain in the not too distant future. The scouts organized an excellent breakfast of sausages and pancakes, which we all enjoyed. Then it was time to pack up our gear and boats before the rain arrived.

Photo: The Fleet is All Packed Up and Ready to Go Photo: No Regrets All Packed Up

The camp was a big success with both the OMDA members who attended and with the scouts.

Many thanks to all those who helped teach the scouts to sail (Peter, Ian, Natalie, Aleid, Shelley, Steve, Elaine and Steve), to those who lent their boat (Paul), and to Derek for helping out with Charger.

Photo Credits

Thanks to all those who provided photos: