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The boats are on, the trailer is hitched, and the Shells and Sails mobile unit is travelling across Ontario. This is the third year for Shells and Sails, a free program that works with rowing and sailing clubs across Ontario and their local communities. Supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Shells and Sails is a partnership program with Ontario Sailing. Shells and Sails is proud to announce their hire of two mobile coaches for the summer to run Try-it-days through the Get Out On the Water campaign which promotes rowing and sailing. Matthew Wortley and Victoria Restivo are two enthusiastic coaches and are eager to promote their sport to others and will be working with Shells and Sails. Matthew Wortley will also be working with the RowOntario office on communications and events. We are pleased to introduce Matthew and Victoria!

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    Matthew Wortley                                                            Victoria Restivo

What are your first thoughts on working for Shells and Sails?
Victoria: Working for Shells and Sails as the Sailing Instructor has been an exciting experience. I’ve been given the opportunity to travel to new places in Ontario and have been exposed to a different side of sailing than I usually am. As a previous intermediate sailing coach and member of a few high performance race teams, Shells and Sails has given me the opportunity to work with beginners and help to encourage people of all ages to get out on the water. I already loved teaching the younger ages, but even after only a few weekends away I’ve had some great moments teaching adults! In addition to sailing, I am also learning more about rowing through Matt Wortley, it makes me want to join a club and start rowing myself! My goal this summer for the Shells and Sails initiative is to increase participation in both the sport of sailing and rowing as well as provide developmental support to clubs, I hope that each participant we have has fun, learns something new, and gets out on the water in their community!
Matt: I am extremely excited to be working with Shells and Sails! I truly feel that the Shells and Sails Program is an excellent way to connect clubs across Ontario and make sport easily accessible to the community. As the rowing coach, I am really excited to share my passion for the sport with others. I am also learning a lot about sailing and Ontario Sailing through Victoria, and I am really excited to get in a boat this summer and learn from Victoria.

What is your favorite song while being on the road?
Victoria: As much as I love Matt’s lip-syncing skill and belting out all the top hits , my all time favourite tune since before I could sit in the passenger seat is Mambo No. 5 – Nicki Minaj has nothing on a little bit of Lou Bega.
Matt: I am pretty open to any kind of music, as long as it has a good tune and beat. Apparently I lip sync a lot of songs so if the song is really catchy then I get into it. I’ve been listening to a lot of Mambo No. 5 for some reason.

What would your spirit animal be?
Victoria: I will say Squirt, from Finding Nemo.
Matt: I think my spirit animal would be a Polar Bear. They always overcome their challenges, they are resilient, and quite simply they are awesome.

What are you looking forward to most about the summer?
Victoria: I’m most looking forward to our trip to Northern Ontario for a few reasons. First, who doesn’t love a road trip that means extra bonding time in the truck with Lynsey and Matt? Second, I’ve never been anywhere up north and I can’t wait for a new fresh-water sailing experience. Finally, a week of sailing…who could resist?
Matt: I am really looking forward to seeing other clubs that I have never visited before. As I am from Southern Ontario, I have only been to a few major rowing clubs so the summer is my chance to really explore rowing in Ontario. I also intend on learning how to sail because it looks like a lot of fun.

How did you get involved with your sport and what was your initial reaction to the sport?
Victoria: When I was younger my parents worked during the day throughout the summer; the alternative to being home alone all day was going to day camp! I initially got involved with sailing through Learn to Sail camp at the Burlington Sailing and Boating Club where I completed my first few levels and eventually began racing. I definitely wasn’t a natural when I first started sailing. I can still remember, I wouldn’t even touch the tiller; there was no way I was going to steer this thing on Lake Ontario. So I stuck to switching the sails and having fun with my friends for the first three years. Eventually I began racing; I decided that I wanted to be in control of my own fate on the water and began skippering (steering) the boat. It took a while to get the feel of it, but I grew to really love it, now I would rather spend my time on the water than doing anything else.
Matt: I got involved with rowing in Grade 9 at Mayfield Secondary School and we rowed out of Island Lake Rowing Club in Orangeville. My initial reaction to the sport was that it was so much fun, and while it took a while to understand what I was doing in the boat, I could not help but always have a smile. Ever since that first day I was hooked and followed my passion for the sport to Brock University and was fortunate enough to represent Canada at Under 23 World Championships last year in Italy.

What would you say to someone who wanted to try sailing/rowing?
Victoria: The water is a completely different world than the land, it’s worth it to get out on the water and see what you are missing.
Matt: I would definitely recommend they contact the closest club in the community. Both sports are a lot of fun and the clubs are very welcoming to new members so it’s a great chance to meet new friends while being active.

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