Many of you have thought about it, I know I have, “one day I’m going to have my own boat”.
On a beautiful summer day we’ve looked out over Lake Ontario, and watched a sailboat peacefully floating across the water. We’ve all dreamed of being out there, enjoying all the good times that come with boating.
Then reality, and life, put an end to that dream. We start thinking “boats are for the rich, the one per cent, I can never afford it,” so we bury our dream and get on with life. I did that, and for many years that dream lay dormant.
I’m not sure why the dream resurfaced, but a few years ago I decided to take some sailing lessons.
I took several courses offered locally in Durham region, and I’ve never turned back. I’ve come to learn that everyone can be involved in boating, regardless of your financial situation.
Durham region has many marinas, and yacht clubs, putting most residents within a short drive of at least one. Frenchman's Bay Yacht Club, (Pickering), Whitby Yacht Club, Whitby Marina, Port Hope Yacht Club, and Cobourg Yacht Club, to name a few.
How many of you read “yacht club”, and rolled your eyes?
You’re thinking “yacht clubs are for rich snobs.”
Again, I thought so too, but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. In the years since I joined the boating world I’ve met people from all walks of life at yacht clubs, and I can honestly say that boaters are the nicest group of people you will ever meet.
Most yacht clubs offer a variety of memberships, which are sure to suit your situation.
A social membership for example, is for someone who doesn’t own a boat. This membership allows you access to the club, and to attend all events.
What you will quickly learn is that most boat owners are always looking for someone to jump aboard to help sail their boat, and even if they don’t need help, they still invite you aboard to enjoy a day on the water. The Whitby Yacht club for example, offers a social membership for $250/year, a very affordable way to make new friends, and get into the boating lifestyle.
You don’t even need to take lessons. After being out on the water with fellow members, you quickly start to learn the basics.
If you decide you want to have your own boat, it’s still an affordable option. Small used sailboats are always available at reasonable prices, and are a good entry point for the new boater.
These boats allow you to learn the sailing basics, as well as how the different systems on a boat work. Once you find a boat you’re interested in, head over to the Whitby Yacht club website www.wyc.ca . There you will find a fee calculator that allows you determine what your fees would be before you make any commitments.
As you’re all aware, summer, and by default, the boating season, are short in Durham Region. Don’t let that scare you away.
While the boats are out of the water, there are still many social events taking place at the various yacht clubs. It’s year round fun.
I have one regret since becoming a boater, and it’s that I wish I had started sooner. I had no idea how affordable, and easily accessible, the boating world was.
I look forward to seeing you all out on the water.