Humber Sailing & Powerboating Centre: Intro to Keelboat Sailing

Fact: Introduction to keel-boat sailing is theory free, what a blissful way to learn, just hands on experience. Seven hours on the water, that’s some introduction.  This way the participant either likes it or they don’t. The course run by Humber Sailing & Powerboating Centre, Toronto offers two choices, three evenings a week for two hours or the customer can squeeze it all into one day. Speaking from experience, the latter is a bit tough on the body, on the water nine to four, with only one fifteen minute stop to empty the bladder and dig into the cliff bars. For the determined sailer you can skip the docking part, use the bucket on board and survive on gorp. It’s all up to you. The price is $170, HST included, which is reasonable enough considering sailing is commonly associated with the upper class aka the rich.

The certified instructor, mine at least, was adorable, both funny and informative. The extent of what we wanted to cover was entirely up to us, we could race, participate, listen, question or simply relax while he pulled the strings. Luckily I chose the racer, the smaller and apparently faster boat, (P.s if that was the fast both, thank god I wasn’t on the slow one.)  The capacity was four people. Four strangers that got to know each other pretty quickly, personal space would not want to be a big issue with you. We tacked, we steered, we hoisted the sails and by the closing hours we were talking and actually understanding the overwhelming sailing lingo.

The course is sturdy, there to be taking advantage of. It’s the perfect introduction to decide if sailing is a hobby you wish to pursue and invest in or just an experience to say that you’ve tried.But beware; go with a friend, someone you can have a laugh with out on the high seas, or else you could end up like me, squeezed in between an older couple both in finance and creepily in love, while you tag along uncomfortably gate crashing their couple bonding time.

Sailing itself is not as adrenaline pumping as expected. Therefore, it is not the sport for me. But when the instructor sensing my discomfort let me sit up on the bow (tip) of the boat alone, legs dangling over the edge with the water splashing on my legs while the sun cremated my pale suncreamless skin, I thought wow this is the life.

Golden’s Titanic Dive

Scuba diving is Ireland’s latest sporting obsession and there is no better man to pitch it to the people than Dublin diver Rory Golden. He was the first Irish diver to explore the Titanic’s remains and the first person to touch the steering wheel since its late captain. He has swapped careers from MD of Virgin Records, Ireland to jointly running Portroe Diving Center Ltd in Tipperary – Ireland’s first Inland diving centre- and he is the Founder & Managing Director of Flagship Scubadiving Ltd., Dublin. More people have been into outer space then to the ocean depths he has been.

“I did my first dive in Dalkey Sound in 1976 and from that moment on I was hooked. I have dived the whole coastline of Ireland and in every county since. I was just always fascinated with the underwater world, being born in the Jacques Cousteau-Silent World era. The thought of breathing under water still fascinates me.”

For Golden, it started out as a hobby, but with his bank of contacts it was possible to develop it into a business.From there on in, it snowballed and he landed the Titanic gig in the summer of 2000. Rory’s job was to oversee the safe retrieval of the submersibles MIR 1 and MIR 2 from the sea after surfacing from the irregular trips to the sea bed.The expedition raised hundreds of new artefacts from nearly 4,000 metres depth below the Atlantic Ocean.In August of 2005, he made a repeat visit, bringing memorial plaques from Belfast to place on the bridge of the ship, alongside one he had left from Cobh in August 2000.
“It took 2 and a half hours just to get to the bottom so you wouldn’t want to be claustrophobic. It was an amazing experience and that feeling of being apart of a unique few is indescribable.”

His favourite diving spot is off the Connemara coast; “It’s a fantastic place. The Irish do not realize the extent of this country’s potential, they assume our waters are not clear but in the right conditions its got  40 to 50m of visibility, that’s incredible. Ireland’s waters are host to a huge variety of life, with the use of a torch, you can access amazing colours and with the right equipment it’s not even that cold.”
Ireland has an untapped market for scuba diving. Golden allows; “because scuba diving is not a spectator activity like surfing, it doesn’t have the same appeal. However, it could definitely be pushed as a diving destination.Its popularity is growing as people are learning how to dive abroad, then coming home to experiment with what Ireland has to offer.”

Golden is not just a diver, he is an adventurer. He recently climbed Mt. Blanc in France in aid of the ISPCC and did a skydive.Rory will be giving a presentation at The Adventure Weekend Expo in the RDS in late May. The PADI scuba diving association will also have stall, so if you’re thinking of taking up scuba diving, come along.