Optimist sailboats, or Optis, will be at the Vernon Yacht Club’s boat show May 6 and 7 for young sailing enthusiasts to check out. (North Okanagan Sailing Association photo)

Optimist sailboats, or Optis, will be at the Vernon Yacht Club’s boat show May 6 and 7 for young sailing enthusiasts to check out. (North Okanagan Sailing Association photo)

Yacht club sails into season

Boating season is about to make a splash.

As the Vernon Yacht Club gears up to hit the water, the public has a chance to check out a host of events on board.

The clubhouse opens its doors to the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce for Business After 5 on Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m. with BX Press Cider and Ex Nihilo Wines.

Then there will be some high-flying action for Crane Day April 22 from 8 to 11 a.m. where Armstrong Crane and Rigging will lift boats back into Okanagan Lake.

“There are approximately 30 boats, both power and sail that go back into the VYC marina,” said Pamela Miller with the club.

While Crane Day will put boating season into action on the water, the club will be busy preparing for a major event on land.

The 28th annual Vernon Yacht Club Boat &Watersports Show gets underway May 6 and 7, which fills the parking lot and marina with fun for all ages.

Boat show highlights include the best in boating and watersports on and off the water, jetski demonstration, the McLellan Formula One boat demonstration (both days), Canada 150 celebrations and you can take it all in from the club’s new deck.

Among the long list of vendors attending will be a mystical creature from the depths of the water.

The mermaid from Project Mermaid Okanagan will be available for photos while she spreads awareness on how to protect our lakes.

Kids can get a taste for sailing with the North Okanagan Sailing Association by sending out small sailboats and climbing aboard the Optimist sailboats.

These boats go back to 1947, when the Optimist Club issued a requirement for a sailboat to be built for youth to learn how to sail, according to NOSA’s Marc Reinarz.

“That was the birth of the Optimist sailboat, or the Opti, as it is popularly called,” said Reinz. “At NOSA we use three Optis for our learn-to-sail program delivered to the very young, and we are very thankful and pleased that this year the North Okanagan Optimist Club is donating two Optis to NOSA for use in that program and for racing. A generous investment by the Optimist Club in youth and sailing in the Okanagan.”

Optis are generally sailed by youth between six and 12 years old, sometimes older. The boats are eight feet long and have a gaf-rigged mast with a main sail only.

“Today Optis are used worldwide, wherever youth of that age learns to sail, and to spur them on, many races are held,” said Reinz.

Along with learning about and touring Optis at the boat show, there will be sailboat rides for families, colouring fun for children by the Vernon Paddling Centre, activities with SunFM and KissFM, demonstrations of custom built remote control boats and some student inventors.

The Nakusp Senior Secondary student inventors will have flint demonstrations and tryouts.

“They’ve invented a flint products that ignites when wet,” said Miller. “They’ll also show their infamous fishing lures.”