On Thursday evenings in May through October, you will see sailors of all ages from the Calgary Yacht Club (CYC) racing sailboats on Chestermere Lake. These sailboats include single-handed (one sailor) dinghies: ILCA/Laser & Optimist, and the double-handed (two sailors) C420 dinghy and 29er skiff. But the Albertan and Canadian sailing worlds are wide and both youth and adult CYC sailors venture out to test their skill at Provincial and Canadian championships. Youth teams train and practise evenings and weekends in several boat types and some athletes commit to a busy schedule of travel and competition.
In May 2023, the CYC Youth Team travelled to Victoria to compete in the Spring Dinghies Regatta where CYC sailor Zairyn Mierau placed third in ILCA 4 (Laser 4.7).
Calgary Yacht Club was then delighted to host speaker Jim Turner who presented about AC40 Team Canada’s upcoming participation in the prestigious America’s Cup, an international sailing regatta dating back to 1851. Jim is a highly accomplished sailor with over 20 years of America’s Cup experience. He is also an Olympian and 15-time world champion. Under his leadership, AC40 Team Canada aim to win the inaugural Women’s America’s Cup in October 2024 in Barcelona, Spain. Canada will also send a Youth Team to the respective Youth event. New to America’s Cup, all Youth and Women’s teams will compete race the innovative one-design AC40, a four person, 40-foot (12.2 metres) foiling monohull with an impressive anticipated top speed of 44 knots downwind.
Calgary Yacht Club has experience with America’s Cup as CYC’s own ILCA sailor Peter Wilson, and 1960s CYC Youth member Dave ‘Shorty’ Shaw competed in the positions of navigator and mast man, respectively, on Canada 1 at the 1983 America’s Cup.
CYC sailors competed in other annual sailing competitions this past season: the CYC Icebreaker Regatta at Chestermere, Prairie Winds Regatta at Newell Lake and Sail Canada’s Sail West Championship at Lake Wabamun where CYC sailors dominated the podium: Isaac Bussin ( 1st in ILCA 7), Lesley Reichenfeld (1st in ILCA 6), Lee Nagy (2nd in ILCA 6) Bernice Cao (1st in ILCA 4), Zairyn Mireau (2nd in ILCA 4) Samuel Mierau (1st in Optimist), Finley Hoffmann (2nd in Optimist), U17 Regional Champs in C420 Barrett Duff and Aryan Virk, and U17 Regional Champ in ILCA 4 Zairyn Mierau.
In August, CYC celebrated Chestermere’s own Brianna Brand, CYC Head Coach, retiring to focus on her medical studies at U of A. In 2016, she inherited a youth race team consisting of three Opti sailors which she grew to a strong fleet of 40+ CYC athletes, in Opti, ILCA, C420, 29er and 2.4mR boat classes. A local champion for many, many sailors, Brianna received a great honour in September when Sail Canada selected her as Canada’s 2022 Coach of the Year. Sail Canada was impressed by her achievements noted above as well as her youth team’s 2022 results. For example, at Sail West 2022, CYC sailors dominated the podium in 29er, ILCA 4 and Opti and her athletes made up the majority of Alberta’s seven-sailor team at the 2022 Canada Summer Games. Two of Brianna’s sailors were also named to compete at the 2022 29er World Championships in Spain and where she joined her athletes, largely at her own expense, to coach them (and other Canadian athletes) alongside national coach Steve McBride, a former CYC Head Coach himself. She is shown here with the 2023 coaching staff front row left and also on her own.
CYC also bid a sad farewell to beloved coach Andrew Baird who is pursuing other academic and professional interests. He is shown front row right.
Off across the country to the annual international CORK Regattas, at Kingston, Ontario where CYC sailors competed in 29er, ILCA 4, and ILCA 6. Pictured are Nathan Glendinning and Clayton Marriott racing on the double-handed 29er skiff.
Next up was the Optimist National Regatta at West Vancouver Yacht Club August 21-26. All Alberta sailors were CYC youth race team members: Samuel Mierau, Finley Hoffmann, Rachel Sullivan and Finley Baker. The sailors and their local CYC coach, Chaz Peddlesden, were very proud of their standing in the Silver Fleet in what was their first ever national championship event.
In 2022, CYC hosted a very successful Alberta Provincial Regatta and for 2023 it was Sylvan Lake Sailing Club’s turn to host. A big turnout of keel boats, dinghies and skiffs plied the waters of this beautiful lake on the windy weekend of Sept 1-4. CYC sailors again dominated this championship by taking 11 of the 18 total podium placings. Pictured is Chestermere sailor Barrett Duff, ready to launch his double-handed C420 boat.
The season’s sailing was rounded out with two more CYC competitions, the Commodore’s Cup Regatta on Sept 10th and the Brass Monkey Regatta on October 7th, just in time for the water to recede. The club was pleased to have the current Commodore, as well as seven former Commodores, at the tea following the event which serves to honour these volunteer club leaders.
The Calgary Yacht Club, incorporated in 1933, is officially 90 years old. In 2024 the club will look even further back to celebrate 100 years of sailing on Chestermere Lake. In 1924, Morris Shyback, Mike O’ Sullivan, and Roy Lea sailed the waters in their homemade wooden boats and called themselves the Calgary Sailing Club—which eventually became the Calgary Yacht Club. Watch for more information about the upcoming ‘Heritage Sail’ (lots of REALLY old boats!) on July 20 & 21, 2024.
Come join the fun both on and off the water! CYC has a large fleet of boats as well as lessons and camps for all ages and abilities from May through September. 2024 registration dates will be posted on the CYC website and social media VERY soon. Questions? Reach out at by email to Shannon, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 403-272-3300. Find CYC on Facebook and Instagram @calgaryyachtclub