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“Our Shells and Sails experience was the highlight of the season for the Upper Canada Rowing Club. Over 45 individuals were able to get into a boat and experience for themselves the unique feeling of being out of the water. As a small club with fewer boats it definitely a boost to our presence in the community and a chance to grow our membership.”

-Sylvie Sabourin, President of Upper Canada Rowing Club

“Shells & Sails is an awesome opportunity for the local community to have a positive interaction with rowing & sailing. Our experience was a wet one, as the weather was not the greatest. However both coaches, Matt W. & Alex H. were knowledgeable, flexible and very enthusiastic to show case both of their respected sports. We would definitely host this event again in the near future. Hope to see you on the water.”

-Emily Durward, Kanata Sailing Club Head Coach


The Shells and Sails Mobile Unit hit the road for a week-long excursion throughout the Ottawa Region. From June 26 to July 3, Shells and Sails visited Britannia Yacht Club, Kanata Sailing Club, Manotick Rowing Club, Ottawa Rowing Club, and Upper Canada Rowing Club. The team of Matthew Wortley and Ontario Sailing’s Alex Hamilton were kept busy the entire week with outstanding participation every day.

The Mobile Unit visited established clubs like Britannia Yacht Club, Kanata Sailing Club, and Ottawa Rowing Club. Weather was a big theme throughout these visits.  Britannia Yacht Club had blue skies and lots of sun, which brought out a great number of participants who tried rowing and sailing. Leaving the harbour and into the wide open river was fantastic for participants to experience what Britannia has to offer.  The following day at Kanata Sailing Club saw high winds, rough water, and a storm that pushed the sessions on land. Both Matt and Alex, aided with the great enthusiasm of the local club members, showed participants around sailing and rowing equipment and showed videos of sailing and rowing, which was only heightened the interest in the sport for the participants. Ottawa Rowing Club hosted Shells and Sails for a Canada Day special. Though a storm was predicted to hit the club at noon, the team got lucky and had sun until 3pm. With the added sun, participants were able to make the most of a great Canada Day session and get out on the water.

The team was also able to work with less established clubs. One of the team’s host, Andrew Sliasas, is looking to establish a rowing club in the town of Manotick. As a former rower at McMaster, Andrew is working with community members and rowers in the region to create a club that will be for the community and help the local high school. After a fantastic two days on the water, the Shells and Sails team is excited to watch the progression of the club. Upper Canada Rowing Club is another, newer, rowing club that the team visited; the club only being a few years old. The team had a tremendous turnout, and in one day worked with 45 participants to get out on the water. With great interest growing in the Upper Canada Rowing Club, we are certain that we will be hearing more about their fantastic club and members. Shells and Sails is proud to work with clubs and help build community interest in rowing and sailing alike.

The Shells and Sails Mobile Unit would like to thank everyone who volunteered; you all made a great trip that much more memorable. The team is still on the road, visiting Grand Bend Yacht Club and Mississauga Sailing Club the weekend of July 11-12.

If you would like to see if the Shells and Sails Mobile Unit is docking in a community near you, please check out their website.