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All Hands on Deck for Summer Sailing

CONNECT Lake Country residents set sail on the high seas every Wednesday in the summer. Well, as "high seas" as Okanagan Lake can be.

Four passengers from CONNECT and two staff of the Disabled Sailing Association of Central Okanagan loaded into a Sonar 23 Keel boat on Wednesday, June 25 for an adventure on the water.

Amadee and Matt, both residents of CONNECT, enjoyed some idyllic conditions for their sail. Light winds and sunny skies greeted the pair as they smiled and cheered their way across the lake for an hour of sailing.

Nick Wright, who captained the boat, has been sailing for 10 years. The Ontario native is in Kelowna for the summer to work for the Disabled Sailing Association.

"We take people with disabilities who couldn't necessarily sail or get into a boat otherwise," said Nick. "I can see how it's therapeutic for people to be on the water."

The outing is not all R&R. Nick gives sailing instructions throughout the trip and the "crew" has the option to volunteer for various tasks on board.

"Ready to tack?" he asked Matt.

"Ready," said Matt.

"Tacking."

The hour-long excursion provides spectacular views of Kelowna, Bear Creek National Park, and the tree-speckled hills surrounding Okanagan Lake.

Carly Moore, Life Redesign Coach, said this is the third year CONNECT has been sailing. A group of residents and staff sail every Wednesday for the summer.

"Sailing provides a huge sense of freedom for the residents," said Carly. "And the way they're set up, anyone can do it. Plus, it's a great example of social capital because CONNECT is able to expose our residents to the world of sailing and a whole new community of people."

She said CONNECT was invited to prestigious Kelowna event Sail Past at the Kelowna Yacht Club because of their involvement with the Disabled Sailing Association.