Local sailing club picking up speed | ParkRecord.com

Local sailing club picking up speed

Christopher Kamrani, The Park Record

Ken Block said every time he sets sail on the Jordanelle Reservoir, he sees a picture that many aren’t able to see or fully appreciate. He’s trying to change that with each new sailor.

"Sailing on a sailboat with Deer Valley and Mount Timpanogos in the background, most people can’t really relate to it," said Block, vice president of the Park City Sailing Association (PCSA). "Most people think of Lake Tahoe and other mountain lakes as preeminent sailing mountain lakes, but this is it right here."

In its fourth year of existence, PCSA is still growing. Every Monday night for the last month and a half, the association has welcomed an average of 60 sailors to the weekly sailing demo sessions a majority of them children. The last PCSA sailing demo is scheduled for Aug. 8, Block said.

"It’s creating a community feel," he said. "It’s not just a place where parents drop their kids off."

On Monday, a race course was set up at Jordanelle Reservoir and a northerly breeze allowed markers to be merely 20 feet from shore, where parents were able to stand and cheer on kids in the boats.

As Block says, "It’s my favorite night of the week, but we work our tails off."

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Recently, the PCSA acquired a 22-foot sail boat, the "J-22," that allows adult and family sailing lessons and excursions.

According to Block, the association has reached a point where it has become "financially solvent." That has allowed the association to donate hours of Junior Sailing Camps and time on the J-22 to be auctioned off by local nonprofit organizations.

Block said PCSA recently gave away weeks of sailing to organizations such as Women’s Ski Jumping USA, the Park City Christian Center, Niñas On Skis and the Norwegian Outdoor Exploration Center.

"We’ve been able to provide five full scholarships for a week of sailing for kids who can’t afford it," he added. "The organization has a new term that is, ‘Pay it forward.’"

Block said PCSA is also in discussions with KCPW as the station prepares for its large telephone auction during the month of August. That means more sailors on the dock.

"We give something to them, but at the same time, it continually exposes us in ways we might not get through other forms of media," he said.

He said the only way the organization will continue to grow is if it gets recognition and cooperation from the community. As the end of the summer sailing season approaches, Block said PCSA has instructed over 150 different children on the art of sailing. Including Monday night demos, that number is well over 200.

On Aug. 15, there will be a sailing racing seminar. An end-of-the-summer sailing sendoff is also in the works.

The association will also be hosting the "No Coast Championship" major national regatta on Sept. 24-25 at Jordanelle.

"We’re expecting boats from all over the country," Block said. "We already have people from California signing up. Our goal is to have 35 to 40 boats participate in that."

As for promoting his sport and organization, Block’s tentacles have no limit.

"I have been offering (sailing to) Summit County council members, Mayor Dana Williams and Mel Brown," he said. "Everyone."

For more information on PCSA, visit http://www.sailparkcity.org .