Sailing instructor Alastair McKay

Sail away at Sailapalooza!

Sailapalooza is your chance to try sailing for free today at Lakeside Park beach by the boat house thanks to KLSA and NDCC.

The white sails are flying this breezy afternoon at Lakeside Park for Sailapalooza! Today is your chance to get out on the water with free sailing instruction and boat rides hosted by Kootenay Lake Sailing Association and the Nelson and District Community Centre.

Sailing instructor Alastair McKay has been working for the summer sailing programs for ten years and is there to help introduce new comers or anyone interested in being taken out in a small sail boat until 5 p.m.

This is the first Sailapalooza and McKay explained it’s to open the world of sailing to more people and make them feel welcome.

“It’s to expose sailing to a bigger audience. Traditionally it has been though of as something for a higher class but it doesn’t have to be. Sailing is really awesome and an equal sport. Women are some of the best sailors in the world.” McKay also explained it’s a sport accessible to people with disabilities, including quadriplegics.

The collection of smaller sailing vessels was impressive. Chris and Joanna Cochrane had their International Moth 2.0 out. McKay pointed out the three lasers which were designed by Canadian Bruce Kirby, the 420 which is a North American collegiate sail boat, and the Flying Dutchman which is an old Olympic class boat. And then there were all the Optimists. Built in the 70s they are used for youth racing and training. “You can fit two little kids or a fourteen year old in it,” said McKay. “They are the most popular sailboat in the world; there’s around a quarter million of them.”

Sailor Jay Blackmore is there too taking people out all day in the Enterprise sail boat. “He’s one of Nelson’s more experienced sailors,” said McKay.

As part of the event, Laser dinghy race races took place mid afternoon with trophies going to the winners.

Sienna Drake, summer student employee of Friends of Kootenay Lake was also by the boat house helping out and signing up new FKL members. FKL do water quality testing in the West Arm and run various workshops.

If you missed out on sailapalooza there is Beer Can racing off the Prestige Marina dock every Thursday at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. for those who enjoy “stressless” racing or just want to try it out for the first time. Changes are usually posted on the KLSA Facebook page and

Check back for the results of the Lazer race results.


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