Sointula sets sights on sails

The Sointula Canada Day Regatta is less than a month away

The 4th Annual Sointula Canada Day Regatta will see an array of colourful sailboats and a festive spirit on July 1 to celebrate the country, sailing, and the town’s beautiful marina.

Four years ago, event organizer Ivana MacDougall and her partner were approached by the Malcolm Island Lions Club with the idea of putting on a regatta-like event. MacDougall was born in England,  and emigrated to Canada in 1971. She became a citizen in 2008 and loves Canada Day. She thought that a great sailing event on the nation’s birthday would be perfect.  Apart from the personal appeal that the event holds for her, MacDougall also feels that the regatta is a way to attract tourism to Malcolm Island and encourage yachters and boaters to visit. With the fishing industry not what it used to be, “tourism is something that as an entire community we are starting to focus on.”

Event planning begins around January and some of the pre-work includes applying for a grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage, gathering donations, and obtaining sponsors.

The first year of the Sointula Canada Day Regatta saw about four sailboats taking part in what to this day remains a friendly race, as well as a few vendors and some great public support. Four years later, the event has grown significantly and now features many vendors, local artists, Mounties, a Coast Guard booth, dragon boaters, live music, a pancake breakfast and a beer garden. Sailors are encouraged to dress their boats however they want, and there is a prize for the best-dressed boat.

And MacDougall’s favourite part? “It’s O’Canada for sure. And the cake cutting, and the 1:30 sound-off of the regatta race. It is spectacular when all their sails are up.”

More info is available at www.sointulacanadaregatta.com .