Winches, pushpits, pulpits, stanchions, the babystay and forestay, capital costs, insurance, navigation, mooring costs and swabbing the deck – there is a learning curve, elbow grease, and finances involved in learning the sport of sailing.
Co-operative sailboat ownership has been introduced to the Oak Bay Marina by the Victoria Sailing Co-Op. This has made taking the plunge of learning to sail much easier. The premise for the co-op is that for a small capital investment and a reasonable annual fee, members can sail for at least 150 hours during the summer months, and more when the boats are available. Overnight and weekend reservations can be arranged.
In the year since its inception, the co-op has enrolled 25 members who have access to two sailboats, a 24-foot C&C and a 30-foot Catalina. Use of the sailboats is through a graduated system of qualifications. The Victoria Sailing Co-Op has certified instructors available and a reservation website is designed to notify crew members of sailing availability with certified skippers.
There are many different motivations for joining the co-op, but two of the top benefits are the sharing of costs and maintenance (20 hours per year). Members also appreciate the shared skill sets which different people bring to the co-op. While some members are sailing gurus, others have experience in carpentry, rigging, wiring, mechanics, painting or dinghy repair.
A “day sailing” skipper is required to have a Pleasure Craft Operating Card, a marine radio licence and the appropriate certification for the 24-foot or 30-foot sailboat.
Safety is also a primary concern with the sailing co-op. Flares and fire extinguishers are checked regularly and everyone on a sailing trip wears a personal floatation device at all times. Each boat has a depth sounder, radio and paper charts.
The Victoria Sailing Co-Op is one of several co-operatives in the Pacific Northwest.
More information can be found at the website: victoriasailingcoop.ca.