Royal Victoria Yacht club shows its colours

Historic open house Saturday June 16, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Members of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club join the sailpast and receive a blessing with holy water by Honorary Chaplain Edward Taylor during the opening day of the club

Members of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club join the sailpast and receive a blessing with holy water by Honorary Chaplain Edward Taylor during the opening day of the club

For the first time, the Royal Victoria Yacht Club is opening its doors to the public at an open house on Saturday, June 16.

“We don’t think the club has done enough to show how it can make boating in Oak Bay’s fabulous waters accessible to local residents, particularly younger people,” said Jeremy Smith, the RVYC Commodore. “While participation levels in both racing and cruising are the highest they have been in over a decade, the club has noticed that with changes in demographics and economics, there are fewer junior sailors staying on as young adult members, and the average age of members continues to increase every year.”

The club is taking steps to reverse this trend in an attempt to return to a more even and sustainable age distribution. To achieve its goal, the club is promoting boating activities that will appeal to all ages and has even reduced fees for younger members.  The club has a fleet of sailboats available for use by its members, ranging from sporty dinghies to stable 24-foot keelboats, making sailing accessible to members that don’t have a boat.  The club also offers summer youth and adult sailing lessons which are available to non-members who just want to give it a try.

“We see that yacht clubs are most vibrant and healthy when there is an interaction and bond between generations, such as when people learn to sail in dinghies or bigger boats, alongside older and younger people,” said Smith. “Sailing as a sport is almost unique in that people of all ages race, cruise and socialize together, and knowledge passes down through the generations. It is an absolutely perfect recreational activity for families.”

The open house will allow anyone with an interest in boating to enjoy the club for the day and learn more about it. Programs include sailing classes for young and old (also open to non-members), year-round youth and all-age racing, cruising, kayaking, and more.

The open house includes tours and on-the-water demonstrations, as well as hot dogs and activities for kids and a draw for prizes.

The event takes place on Saturday, June 16, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., The Royal Victoria Yacht Club is located at 3475 Ripon Rd., just off Beach Drive.

For more information, contact the club administrator at 250-592-2441.

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