In a landlocked, prairie province where mountain sports thrive, it’s easy to understand why watersports aren’t considered culturally significant. But ask Michael Hooper, commodore of the Calgary Yacht Club, and he’ll tell you otherwise.
How did you first get involved with sailing?
I don’t recall my first sailing experience because I was probably too young, but my parents were quite active. My dad was a commodore at the Calgary Yacht Club in 1964, and now I am 50 years later.
What does the CYC do?
We have about 115 memberships, which probably represent about 300 to 350 people. We have events throughout the year at the clubhouse and regular club racing events where we all compete. We have open regattas where we invite people from anywhere to come and sail. Then there are interprovincial regattas and international events where our members will go and travel throughout North America and the world.
Is sailing on a lake different than the ocean?
It’s just a different experience. If we have light air, it’s flat water and a shiftier breeze, so you’re changing course more frequently. Ocean sailing is more about sailing in waves and considering the tide.
Does that make competitions in coastal areas more challenging for you?
We’re not at a tremendous disadvantage, though we would certainly appreciate bigger water, bigger waves and more wind. The people who are experienced have sailed in a number of different conditions, so it’s not a foreign experience. It’s all water.