Cruise the Jordanelle with Park City Sailing
When Park City Sailing started in 2008, it was comprised of a group of sailors who got together once or twice a week to race Laser boats.
Quickly, the group began to grow, acquiring seven more boats in 2009 and now boasts a fleet of 41 boats heading into the 2016 summer season. Park City Sailing has more than 1,200 people join them for at least one event or lesson during the summer and frequently donates time to the National Ability Center and various Out Reach programs for handicapped and veterans support groups.
Though the group will continue to expand its Out Reach, adult and junior programs, Vice President Ken Block said there will also be a renewed focus on getting back to the social aspect of sailing.
The first major event of the season — Sail-a-Palooza — is scheduled for Saturday, June 4, at the Jordanelle Reservoir from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Block said it’ll be a great way for current and prospective sailors to check out the Park City Sailing fleet and talk with experienced sailors.
"Sail-a-Palooza is really going to embody where we were and some of where we’re going back to," he said. "We’re not just about racing or just about kids. We’re really a club where you join and you get more than a T-shirt. You become part of a community that’s really doing great things with boats down at the Jordanelle."
Block said Sail-a-Palooza will be both educational and fun, and that those who attend will see what Park City Sailing is all about.
"We operate out of the park and have metal cargo containers and a used sail that flaps in the wind as our clubhouse," he said. "Sailing is very much a sport where, after a day on the water, people get together. You have a burger, sit on the yacht club porch and drink a few beers. We’re really trying to bring that aspect of sailing back into Park City."
But, Block added, there will still be plenty of opportunities for junior sailors, adults and others who want to try the sport to get in a boat. He said he anticipates another year of growth for the club.
"If you compare our number of participants, we’re actually bigger than a number of the best sailing and junior sailing programs in the country," he said. "If you want to tear my statistics apart, you’ll find that a lot of those numbers are just people who come down and sail with us for one afternoon through the NAC or with our Sail-a-Palooza. But we’re exposing a lot of people to the sport in a place where sailing is still unusual. On Tuesday nights and Thursday nights when our boats are out racing, cars pull off U.S. 40 into the rest area and get out and stand there watching the boats."
Registration for adult and junior lessons is open and Block said there will be junior camps all summer long. But, he added, Park City Sailing understands that summer is a busy time for Park City children.
"Park City kids are different than kids who live on the ocean or next to a lake," he said. "The majority of them are not going to sail with us for nine consecutive weeks. Park City kids belong to Young Riders, they’re going to a soccer camp or they’re up at Mt. Hood because they’re an aspiring slalom or giant slalom Olympian. Kids can come sail and have a great one week or they can come for multiple weeks."
The programs with the NAC and Wounded Warriors are some of Block’s favorite lessons to give. He said that opportunity was part of the club’s organic growth that has drawn more people to the shores of the Jordanelle every year.
"No one could envision what the club is now," he said. "It was a Tuesday night hang out at the Jordanelle where we’d do a couple of races, maybe have a beer and then we all went our separate ways. There was never a long-term vision. Each year, another opportunity presented itself and we went, ‘Well, let’s try it,’ and each year, it was successful. We’re taking this vehicle that we love — sailing — and using it to provide a service to this community. It really changed the complexion of the organization and, for a number of us, it has been truly life-changing."
Overall, Block said, the 2016 season is shaping up to be a busy one for Park City Sailing. And, he added, the water levels are looking like they’ll cooperate and provide an excellent venue for sailors of all ages and ability levels.
"The reservoir is filling up nicely and the park is thinking the [water capacity percentage] will be in the high-80s or low-90s," he said. "It’s coming up quickly right now. The Provo [river] is ripping and there’s whitewater coming into the Jordanelle. We think we’ll be good this summer."
For more information on Park City Sailing, or to sign up for camps or lessons, visit http://www.sailpc.org .
Summer Sailing Schedule
All events at the Jordanelle Reservoir
June 4 — Sail-a-Palooza
June 13 — Junior Sailing Camps begin
July 30-31 — Summer Regatta
Aug. 15-16 — Junior Sailing Regatta
Oct. 1-2 — Fall Regatta
Tuesday nights — Laser racing — 5:30 to 9 p.m.
Thursday nights — Elliott and R19 racing — 5:30 to 9 p.m.
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