Oakville-Burlington Sailing

[ Background | Equipment | Where ]

Background of the Sport

Moored sailboats at marina

Sailing uses the wind to power the boat's motion. It's not as much by pushing the sail (as is the case when sailing downwind) but by creating forward-pulling lift using airfoil-shaped sails (when sailing across or into the wind). The joy of sailing combines the joy of being on the water, the power you feel in harnessing natural forces, and with the thrill of going fast without significant energy on your part.

Sailing dates back to the ancient Phoenician traders, though the technology of sailboats has improved dramatically over the years. Innovations in the past 50 years include fibreglass hulls, metal masts and booms, synthetic sails, computer controlled laser cut and sewn sails, and computer aided design for boat hulls have made sail boats faster, safer, cheaper, and easier to maintain.

Small sailboats under 20 feet in length come in two main configurations: either single hull or multi-hull (like a catamaran). They typically have one mast, one mainsail (the big one), and a jib (the small triangular at the front, to direct the wind around the mainsail), and sometimes a spinnaker (the large round-shaped one for going downwind). Small boats are designed for a limited number of people to crew, with them either sitting in or around the cockpit (which may be a tightly stretched tarp between the catamaran hulls), or supported from a trapeze rig over the edge of the boat (in high winds). Smaller boats with centreboards include modles like Albacores and Lasers.

In coastal waters and in larger lakes, boats can get larger (with fixed keels), more sophisticated (and much more expensive), and can handle larger numbers of people. Some such boats even have multiple masts, and complex sail configurations. Such larger yachts are suitable for a sailing on open water for significant distances, and provide sleeping, kitchen, communications equipment, even entertainment facilities.

Yachts with gear at a marina

To go sailing, you'll need a boat, and lifejackets.



HamiltonSkyway Bridge and Lake Ontario, Viewed from Burlington's Kerns neighbourhood When out in Lake Ontario, Bronte is 7 miles (11 km) ENE from the Burlington Canal, with a low & landmark-free shoreline with trees behind of the beach., although you will observe the Niagara Escarpment 5 miles to the west. You can easily see Mount Nemo (43°25' :N, 79°53' :W)which is located 8 miles WNW of Bronte which rises 680 feet (200 metres) above Lake Ontario with a very steep slope near the summit.

Burlington Harbour
To enter Burlington Bay and access both Burlington and Hamilton Harbours, one must pass through the Burlington Canal, cut through a strip of land now known as the Beach Strip (once called the Burlington Bar) which is occupied by the communities of Burlington Beach and Huntington Beach.

There are two high level bridges and a lift bridge crossing the canal. The 125 foot high Burlington Bay Skyway Bridge is 445 feet (150 meters) SW of the lift bridge. The Lift Bridge has a clearance of 10 feet when closed and is operated 24 hours a day, opening on the hour and the half hour for pleasure craft, or on-request for commercial traffic

Fisherman's Pier is a sheltered basin, south of the Burlington Canal, with a ramp and some facilities. Burlington Sailing and Boating Club (905-681-6547. ) is located at the LaSalle Park Marina ((905-633-9483 or 1-866-203-4813 ) and provides transient space for members of reciprocating clubs.

When out on Lake Ontario, Conspicuous features of Oakville are tall apartment buildings near the harbour, and two steeples in the NE part of Oakville, with the western most showing clearly above the trees.

Oakville Harbour is on 16 Mile Creek and is entered between the two piers at the end of the creek, spaced 120 feet apart. The 29 foot high Oakville Light is at the south end of the east pier, with a white circular tower with red upper part. It also holds a fog horn ( which sounds one blast every 20 seconds, pointing in a 137°direction) which operates from 8 am to 10 pm. Oakville is a customs reporting station. There are two highway bridges just above the harbor with a clearances of 33 and 32 feet.

Oakville's yacht clubs are private, with privileges for members of reciprocating yacht clubs. On the SW shore by the lake is the Oakville Yacht Squadron (905-338-9379) with a basin is set back from the main channel and sheltered by the surrounding hill.

Watch for a submerged pipes and sewers: an offshore: sewer outfall 300 metres NE of the Clarkson Cement plant extending 1.2 km offshore, is marked by a buoy; a submerged pipeline extends 1 kilometre SW of the Clarkson Petro-Canada wharfs extending 1 km offshore marked by a buoy; and an abandoned submerged sewer outfall is found 100 metres to the NE of the St Lawrence wharf.

Port Credit
When out on Lake Ontario, Oakville has several tall apartment buildings near the harbour, and two steeples in the NE part of Oakville, with the western-most clearly visible above the trees. The most recognizable landmark from offshore is the Four Sisters or stacks of the Lakeview Generating station to the NE.

The harbour has four lights: Port Credit east breakwater light, Port Credit west breakwater light, Port Credit east extension light (on a grounded freighter), Port Credit Inner Harbour Light , and the Port Credit Inner Channel Light.

The main harbour is entered via a 125 foot wide channel between the bow of the Ridgetown and the head of the west stone break wall. Port Credit harbour has two distinctive areas: along the Credit River and the Marina, which have over1500 slips with 7 to 12feet of water available plus experienced repair facilities. The Credit River has a 6 km/h (3.2 knots). speed limit north to the Queen Elizabeth Way Bridge, 1.2 km north of the harbour. The channel into the river runs alongside the east break wall , which gets quite rough in southerly winds. The west bank is used to dock charter vessels.

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