I started sailing at the age of 13 (10 years ago) when I joined the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Vindictive. It was there that I leisurely sailed on a multitude of boats ranging from Whaler’s, Echo’s, Pirate’s, etc. This is where my passion for sailing began. I spent the summers of 2010, 2012, and 2013 away in Comox, British Columbia and Kingston, Ontario, sailing. While I was away, I worked on enhancing my sailing career and gaining my CANSail levels (4), hoping to teach one day; I had the ability to learn to race on C420’s. In 2014, I received a job at Sail Thunder Bay (STB) as an instructor; teaching young kids and adults how to sail and race. It could be considered a dream come true. The best thing about having a job you love is that when you wake up at 8 am to go to work, it never feels like work. While working at STB, I had the opportunity to start racing Lightnings and Keelboats. I began participating in the weekly Wednesday night Keelboat races, landing myself a spot as permanent crew. In both fleets, I was given the opportunity to travel to out of town regattas as well and I soon realized that this was something I wanted to do one day with a boat of my own.
Being an athlete with passion and purpose helps drive my determination in becoming an improved sailor; one who acquires new knowledge, and challenges myself in new ways. One of the best things about sailing is the people. No matter where I go, I always find sailors who are willing to help and give advice pre/post race. Sailing can be very challenging at times and it is the best feeling when you find something new that works for you.
Without a doubt, sailing is always the greatest time. No matter the weather, the place, the people, it always makes for the best memories. One, in particular, involves myself and two other girls from TRSC driving down to New Jersey for the Women’s NA’s. 20+ hours in a car to get to a regatta means sleepovers squished in the back seat of our Skipper’s vehicle, hours of karaoke, and being very thankful to have arrived at our destination. When we got to Metedeconk Yacht Club, everyone already knew us as the “Boat Grant Girls” and we were immediately offered help, advice, and other tactics along the way. It is always so nice to think of a club as more of a family and to have people so willing to help you succeed!!
The best piece of sailing advice I’ve ever received was “what happens on the race course, stays on the race course”. Sometimes there will be accidents on the race course, some more damaging than others and it is important that as sailors we model excellent sportsmanship and not take the ‘bad’ things home with us to get upset about. Take each day as a new one to start all over and improve.
by Courtney Rizzuto
Temple Reef Sailing Club