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Quebec Games sailing finals held at Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club in Dorval

Young sailors compete in Quebec Games’ finals
WATCH ABOVE: Some of the West Island's most promising sailors took on the best in the province at the Quebec Games sailing finals Sunday. Navneet Pall reports from the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club.

DORVAL – The Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club in Dorval is a place with a lot of history.

Since its foundation in 1888, the club has sent a few sailors to the Olympics, such as Ian Bruce and Evert Bastet, and some members have sailed across the world.

This summer the club added another honour to its hallowed halls by hosting the Quebec Games sailing competition for the first time.

It’s a sailing race for kids between the ages of  12 and 17 and club members volunteered to host the competition.

To make the event all the more significant, the competition was directed by Valérie Lavigne, the first woman to be commodore of the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club.

She had help from her husband, fellow club member Anthony Staples, who is a long-time sailor.

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“It’s the start of racing for the kids and it gives a lot of enthusiasm,” said Lavigne. “Different regions have different options for sailing. [In] Lake St. Louis we’re blessed. We have a very strong racing team, other regions don’t get to travel as much as other regions so it’s a chance to compete with people from other regions of Quebec.”

On Sunday the finals were held and they got a chance to show off their skills.

It’s an exciting time for teenager sailors like William Lloyd.

“I hope that I can come top three, cause I’m having a good day, I got a first, so hoping I could come top three,” said Lloyd.

On Sunday, the athletes had a tough race ahead.

Despite the sunshine, the winds were low which makes for a difficult start to the race.

“Sailing is a sport where you have two very important skills,” said Lavigne. “There’s the physical skills and technical skills. They need to be strong enough and learn how to actually move the boat through different wind speeds and just learning the basics of sailing. Then they learn how to get racing. It’s a whole different world out there, how to get good starts, good line, how to play your wind shifts.”

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“When you throw a young adolescent into a sail boat and have them race, it challenges them to consider all those things at once and compete, it’s a challenge, it’s a lot of fun,” said Staples. “Someone said it’s like playing chess in a formula one race car.”

Sailing is a passion Lavigne and Staples are now passing on to their children.

The sport has been running in the family for a long time.

There are a lot of benefits to sailing like being able to spend time outdoors, but mostly it’s about having a good time.

“I enjoy the social elements of the sport, just meeting new people when travelling, Staples said. “We race competitively, internationally and in the U.S. and across Canada. It’s part of our lifestyle and we’ve friends for life in this sport.”

For others, like Jean-Pierre Mongeau, sailing also means being able to incorporate other lifelong passions like photography.

“In terms of going back and doing the next regatta, the next event, no it doesn’t get old, I try different things, different camera, different lenses,” Mongeau.