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New boating club has wind in its sails

It's anchors aweigh for Yukon's first sailing school. The Yukon Breeze Sailing Society's first summer has gone well - it's been smooth sailing.

It’s anchors aweigh for Yukon’s first sailing school.

The Yukon Breeze Sailing Society’s first summer has gone well - it’s been smooth sailing.

The society has purchased boats and reached capacity in a pair of weeklong summer camps and there are big plans for next year.

“My goal for next season is to run camps for June, July and August - to run full-time summer programming as soon as we’re able to,” said society president Shannon Jones. “What that will take is purchasing more boats and eventually the club will be self-sustaining, in terms of finances as participants pay their camp fee and that will keep things running along.”

Yukon Breeze was able to cast off with the help of the B.C. Sailing Association’s Mobile Optimist Sailing School, which travels to communities through B.C. and Yukon to teach kids 6-14 how to sail. The school, which has come to Whitehorse the last two summers, teaches using small sailboats called Optimists.

With funding from Lotteries Yukon and the City of Whitehorse, Yukon Breeze has purchased four of its own Optimists dinghies.

“They’re not too powerful. They’re just really good intro boats,” said Jones.

“Six people in town bought Lasers, which are bigger, and they are letting the club use them on an as-need basis.”

Yukon Breeze has also received permission from Whitehorse to install a storage container to store the boats at the Schwatka Lake boat launch for the next two years.

“So the Mobile Optimist Sailing School was running their camp and right beside I was running a Laser camp,” said Jones. “They came up last year to help us run the camp.”

Enrollment in the camps, which finished last week, reached capacity with about 45 youth taking part - the camps were chock-a-block, as a sailor might say.

Yukon Breeze is now starting weekly clinics for the students of the summer camps.

Not only is Jones the president, she’s the instructor. She knows the ropes.

“I used to teach sailing and this whole initiative pulled me out of retirement, so I went back down to Vancouver, got recertified,” said Jones.

Once Yukon Breeze acquires Lasers, the society will be able to offer camps and lessons to both children and adults.

For more information, visit the Yukon Breeze Sailing Society’s page on Facebook.

Contact Tom Patrick at