Offshore Sailing Association
AOSA CLUB HISTORY - The information shown on this page comes primarily from Hans Nederveen, Dean Wray and Bob Schimmel. Information
is still being gathered as not
all the details are complete or accurate! Whenever I meet an ex commodore I
a bit more and update this file. The info is posted here in the hope that
it will shake the cob webs loose. If you have information that can clarify the facts,
please email me so we can update
this section. Bob Schimmel, 2016-04-28.
1975 - The idea of creating a sail club for pocket cruisers was conceived on the
shores of the Strutts Marina in discussions amongst the sailors. Donna Bean is credited
with originating the idea and quickly got others involved. I remember our
conversation and Hans Nederveen was also approached. There were others
but neither Donna nor I can remember their names. We even discussed
creating a club with a full marina in the west end of Rosewood Bay. The Strutts Marina was located
on the south shore of Wabamun Lake, half way between SBYC and Rosewood Bay. It
was operated by Klaus and Gisela Strutt. Now I wouldn't go so far as to call
this bunch of sailors a club, but they split into two factions at the end of the
racing and cruising. Despite this, we had fun at the events we held during the
Many heated discussions were held during the Sunday morning coffee break, over how to maintain our
boats. Nobody ever heard of anti-fouling paint yet. You should understand that pocket cruisers were in their infancy and
all of us were
novices at that time. We simply did not know enough about fibreglass boats;
fastening hardware and especially winter storage, hence Donna's concept of holding
winter meetings to exchange ideas and maintain the sailing momentum over the
winter. The idea caught on. The first meetings were held at the Blue Flame Kitchen in Edmonton and I
remember the subject of the first meeting was winter boat storage. Boy did we learn a
thing or two. Many of us stored our boats totally wrong
and we immediately changed our tarps to promote ventilation instead of blocking
it. At any rate the meetings
continued during that winter with other speakers and club members invited to
speak. This is still the primary principle of the AOSA today.
(Info supplied by Bob Schimmel).
- The following summer the majority of the racers moved their boats across
the lake to moor at Poole Scout Camp and the cruisers remained in the Strutts marina. Interesting
how that relationship went. Anytime the weather was a bit rough, we cruisers would sail
from the marina to
the Scout camp to see the racers hunkered down on shore around their camp fire. They were having fun though. Dick Weir was the Poole Scout camp Warden at the time and he taught
many people how to sail. In fact, many "old timers" who are now spread
throughout the other clubs on the lake had their start at
Poole Camp. Anyway, this original group soon developed into
the Poole Sail Committee. But I digress, as another very important piece of AOSA
trivia developed around that
Around this time Alex Weir (not related to Dick Weir) owned a San Juan 24 and in order for him to register his boat for racing under the 1/4 ton ruling, he had to belong to a club that had a link to salt water. Well obviously Wabamun Lake doesn't have a link to salt water BUT the word offshore in the club name satisfied the rule makers and so the club name became the Alberta Offshore Sailing Association. As a result the AOSA was incorporated in Edmonton on Aug 16, 1976 as a non-profit association under the Alberta Societies Act. Hence the word Association. Interestingly enough, but unknown to the Wabamun group, a club called AOSA was already operating in Calgary at the time. They tried incorporating themselves as AOSA two years after the northern members did. Since the Edmonton group registered their name first, the name stuck and the Calgary club was forced to choose a different name. Such was the limited communications at the time, there being no ASA in those days. At any rate the southern fleet is now called the Foothills Association of Cruiser Sailors and were incorporated on April 17, 1979, operating autonomously from the northern fleet. The southern fleet tended to be oriented towards trailerable cruisers since they didn't have facilities on their local waters. As a result they usually sailed in Montana or Idaho. I remember Donna urging Edmonton sailors to join them at Flathead lake and one year quite a few people did. I believe that 4 or 6 boats were hauled to Flathead Lake that summer. As a foot note, the Edmonton Scout headquarters finally stopped calling the Poole Sail Committee the "offshore group" in 2000 when Bob Schimmel renamed the club by removing the "offshore group" sign from the tree and hung a Poole Sail Club sign over the steps. Finally separate identities.
By this time SBYC consisted of moored boat in the bay and EYC was already
well established. EYC was launching and retrieving cruiser boats from the
public access next to their property. They had a "clothesline" established
between shore and an anchor set way out there in deep water. They would
attach a dolly (2 wheels, axle & trailer ball) to the boat trailer and the
clothesline could haul the boat out, float it off and the dolly was retrieved. Nobody
knows what happened to that system! It just disappeared one day.
(Info supplied by Bob Schimmel & Hans Nederveen).
|Subsequent Years - From 1983 to 1994 we designed and bought AOSA burgees and had wonderful membership
cards that showed we were a legitimate member of ASA/CYA, all primarily thanks to
Hans Nederveen who served as an almost perpetual secretary/treasurer from before
'83 to about '93. Many people mistook the AOSA for ASA at that time. As a result
we had contacts from all over the place. I
once received a phone call from a lady in New York who wondered if her daughter
or son would be OK hitching a ride on a passing sailboat in the south Pacific.
How would you respond, to a concerned parent like that?
Panko Ganchev and Kees van der Leek (both EYC) were commodores long before Panko and I was first to establish an AOSA guest mooring when he placed one at EYC. The 2nd mooring (long since departed) was my original mooring at the Town of Wabamun. At one time I rebuilt at least one of the EYC guest moorings. I beefed it up, based on a lifetime of SBYC moorings, and it should be good for my lifetime to hold any 2 or 3 boats for any type of weather that I've seen on the lake.
Brian Smith, who had an SJ23 (Obe-Juan) at Poole Scout Camp, was Vice Commodore in '84 and should probably be credited with starting the spring SWAP MEETS in that year. I think he was commodore in '85/'86.
We had a closer connection to Calgary in the earlier days. Many of you may not know that there was a southern AOSA as well as a northern. Northern AOSA was registered first. The Calgarians were a group of very mobile trailer sailors. They would spend a good chunk of their summers moored in Pend Orielle in Idaho or Flathead lake in Montana. They gave me plans for a knockdown travel lift that they used in their warehouse in the winter.
The Calgary group sent Cal Nixon to Edmonton in the winter of '84. Cal was heading off shore and looking for crew to keep 3 people on board "Whyak," his Fortune 30, for all the offshore passages between Victoria and the south Pacific/return (four 3-4 wk passages). He talked me into subbing for his 14 year old on the return passage from Hawaii to Victoria, "the uphill run", in June of '86.
There used to be an annual ASA mid winter conference that faded as priorities changed. AOSA filled the void by bringing in guest speakers. Some may remember John Samson, the unabashed owner of the ferro-cement "Stormstrutter." There were others. During my tenure I brought in three guest speakers; from a wood, then glass, then steel, sail boats respectively. It was wonderful hosting these people. It involved a heck of a lot of work by very few people but it was worth it.
Three things I pushed AOSA for;
For anything we achieved during my tenure, it wouldn't have happened without considerable backup from Jim Spalding and Hans Nederveen. (Info supplied by Dean Wray, 1983 & 1994).
Past Commodores and their achievements. (I call them achievements since things are seldom done by one person).