How do I take out a boat?

In order to be entitled to take a boat out in controlled conditions, members must reach the Helms level. The Helms level is reached by successfully completing the CANSail 1&2/ White Sail course (Albacores, Lasers only), or by gaining equivalent experience and passing a Club practical exam. The Club limits Helms-level sailors to sailing in the protected area of the Outer Harbour, and only in moderate wind conditions.

In order to be entitled to take a boat out in any conditions, a member must be ranked as a Skipper. This level is reached by successfully completing the CANSail 3/Bronze Sail course (Albacores, Lasers only), or by gaining equivalent experience and passing a Club practical exam. Skippers are expected to possess and use good judgment in all aspects of sailing.

Who can take out a boat?

The club ranks its members into three categories:

  • Crew (novice)
  • Helms (intermediate)
  • Skipper (advanced).

Members are ranked separately on each of the three classes of boats which the Club owns:

  • Albacores
  • Hobie Nacra
  • Lasers.

Any member sailing a Club boat must be qualified and ranked by the Club, as follows.

ALBACORE “HELMS” LEVEL
At this restricted level, sailors must have passed CANSail 1&2/White Sail Level 3, or seek equivalent status from a Club Examiner. Helms level sailors are restricted to sailing in 10 knots of wind in the Cherry Beach/Outer Harbour area, and are not permitted to sail on the open Lake, or in Toronto's Inner Harbour.

ALBACORE “SKIPPER” LEVEL
These sailors must have passed CANSail 3/Bronze Sail Level 4, or seek equivalent status from a Club Examiner. Skippers are not restricted, but are expected to use good judgement at all times.

CATAMARANS
Sailors are ranked separately on catamarans, by Club Examiners. Albacore rankings are not transferable. Catamaran Helms have the same geographic and wind-speed restrictions as Albacore Helms.

LASERS
Albacore rankings are applicable. Helms-level sailors have the same geographic and wind-speed restrictions as on the Albacore.

ALL NON-RANKED MEMBERS
are considered "crew" and must sail with a Helm or Skipper, as required by the current weather conditions.

NEW MEMBERS WITH PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE
New (or first-year) members wishing to sail the Club's boats without following a course must be certified by a Club Examiner as Helms or Skipper. This may involve a simple review of past experience, or taking a sail with an experienced Club member. Experience gained elsewhere, while valuable, does not necessarily apply to Westwood's ranking procedures. New members are asked to adapt-to and understand the Club's policies and guidelines.

ALL MEMBERS
are expected to check weather conditions before sailing. New and less-experienced members should be receptive to guidance from more-experienced members, especially where there is any question about whether a member's skill level is suitable for sailing in the current wind and weather conditions. Any member using a Club boat is responsible for the safety of the boat and its crew.

GUESTS
Full Members at the Helms or Skipper levels are entitled to bring a guest sailing three times. Members are expected to use good judgement in deciding whom to bring sailing. Dinghy sailing can be demanding - sailing guests should be physically fit, competent swimmers, and able to take instruction. Members are discouraged from taking guests sailing in extreme conditions, or outside the Cherry Beach/Outer Harbour area.