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Despite restrictions, cancelled races, sailing club membership grows (6 photos)

Although informal races tend to happen when there's more than one sailboat on the water, says Algoma Sailing Club representative

Over the years, Saultites have become accustomed to seeing sailboats race on the waterfront on Wednesday evenings. I decided to reach out to Algoma Sailing Club to check the status of the situation given this year's COVID-19 restrictions.

"The Algoma Sailing Club is not currently running any formal races. We have advised all members to keep incursions into American waters to a minimum, and to avoid approaching the American shoreline," said Algoma Sailing Club commodore Alan McLean during a recent interview.

Members have been cautioned whenever possible to avoid close proximity to the American shoreline to mitigate any possibility of misinterpretation of COVID-19 restrictions due to the uncertainty within the various levels of government.

Algoma Sailing Club had also been advised of an increased probability their vessels may be boarded. Restrictions allow travel through US and Canadian waters, but does not permit anchoring, lingering or approaching US vessels by instruction of various US and Canadian agencies.

"To date, we have no reports of any negative encounters from our members, and several have been able to traverse these waters without incident," said Mclean. "They remain proactive in their approach.

"However this does not stop several members of the club from still enjoying their boats. Individuals and small groups have made a few trips up and down the river.

"Some members have chosen to hold their own informal races. Also, when two or more sailboats are found on the same body of water, a race is usually forthcoming.

"Others have chosen to make more extended trips along the North Shore. Still others have taken this time to do repairs and upgrades on their vessels," said McLean.

In an effort to practice social distancing and good hygiene, the Algoma Sailing Club has no social events planned or offered so far this year. The main clubhouse areas remain closed.

"Some of our members have chosen to have their vessels remain on shore for the season," said McLean.

Despite the current COVID-19 situation, membership to the Algoma Sailing Club has grown. Current membership stands at around 50. Most members own boats. In addition, there are several associate members, some of whom maintain small day-sailers, dinghies or canoes.

If you would like to learn more about Algoma Sailing Club, you can visit them on Facebook.

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About the Author: Violet Aubertin

Violet Aubertin is a photograher and writer with an interest in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma's great outdoors
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