The Sudbury Yacht Club launched a fleet of new boats Monday morning.
As a result of an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant for $66,400, which was announced last fall, the club was able to purchase 11 new dinghies for its sailing school.
"We've had a really aging fleet of boats," Robert Montgomery, commodore, Sudbury Yacht Club, said.
"When we started the program, we only had a few boats, but it has grown so huge, that we actually now require a fleet of at least 11 boats to be able to serve all the kids of Sudbury and the adults who want to learn to sail."
He said the investment will keep the program affordable for the students in the sailing school, "and give them the most modern equipment to be able to perfect their sailing skills."
The small sailboats, the 420 model, are the boats used by competitors in the Ontario Summer Games, Canada Summer Games and even the Olympics, Montgomery added.
The older boats that are being replaced by the new fleet will be put up for auction to the Yacht Club's members, and then to the public.
"In the early days, there were no grants so it was actually the club members themselves who pooled together to purchase those boats," Montgomery said.
Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci was on hand Monday morning as a group of sailing school students and yacht club board members christened the new boats with "non-alcoholic" champagne.
He said the investment is important to the club, and the community, in a number of ways.
"First, it continues to define us as a unique, progressive community," he said. "Two, it provides opportunity to people of all ages from eight to the oldest class member who we've heard is 82, to learn sailing skills. Those are skills that will remain with our children for a lifetime and provide our seniors with very positive recreational opportunities.
"Third, it defines the Sudbury Yacht Club for what it has been since 1959 — an area where people can come and not only learn, but hone those sailing skills."
He said there is an obvious passion for sailing in Sudbury.
"We look forward to helping to foster that passion, through the Ontario Trillium Foundation, by providing opportunity for lessons in modern boats ... in a safe environment."
Visit the Sudbury Yacht club at www.syclub.com.
Posted by Laurel Myers