Sail-A-Palooza an unexpected hit at Jordanelle
June 5, 2012
At one point, Ken Block thought the dock would sink.
The vice president of the Park City Sailing Association said he didn’t expect 150 participants to make their way to the Jordanelle Reservoir Saturday morning.
The Sail-A-Palooza event that Park City Sailing (PCSA) marketed locally with such verve paid off in a way no one expected as one of the largest turnouts in the history of the association showed up to see what sailing on the Wasatch Back is all about.
"Keeping it in all perspective, that’s an incredible number," he said. "You look at our area, how many people who live here who move to Park City who want to sail.
"It was just unbelievable."
The Sail-A-Palooza, which Block described as a community open house, offered free sailboat rides, a barbecue and in-depth information regarding adult lessons and youth camps. Block said the event attracted children as young as four years old along with adults in their 70s.
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"There is a tremendous market for adults wanting to sail," he said. "We’ve helped people to learn to sail and learn how to race. What was really resounding was the combination of people wanting adult lessons along with people wanting to know how to become qualified to sail."
The PCSA has two 22-foot boats available for use in lessons, and Block said, for $350 anyone can have seasonal access to one of the boats. He said that price is akin to paying for one day on a 22-foot boat in other parts of the country.
"You just have to become qualified by sailing with us and showing competency," he said. "That’s an unheard-of price."
When Block returned home after the surprisingly-popular outing, his wife, who is the treasurer for PCSA, a nonprofit organization, said the phone was ringing off the hook.
"She said, ‘You won’t believe how many people signed up today,’" he said. "The turnout was incredible. With the size of organization we are, to have an open house and to have people show up, and the fact that people started signing up, is huge."
Block said reservations are up 38 percent from where they were a year ago. And along with making waves in the adult sailing community, PCSA has perhaps carved another niche for itself in the family sailing department.
"We had a number of requests for family lessons, people saying, ‘I want to come and bring kids and husband, because this is really great,’" he said. "People are accepting it."
While the local community is taking notes, PCSA is growing on a larger stage. Block said he has taken out local Scout troops from across Northern Utah and has other appointments being scheduled from outside Summit County. The organization has also built relationships with the Park City Adventure Camp, Utah Olympic Park and Basin Recreation.
Starting June 25, PCSA will hold family sail night every other Monday.
Asked why attention may be shifting toward PCSA, Block said the sport is a way to unwind and simply try something new.
"I think that it’s something different," he said. "If they didn’t sail before, they’re able to make that complete now. You can be offered mountain biking, soccer, whitewater rafting, and all that stuff which you expect in Park City. This is enormous for us."