The Surrey Sailing Club was established in 1970, and provides facilities and lessons for sailing and racing, as well as paddle-craft storage. The club site at Crescent Beach is less than 100 feet from Mud Bay, where we launch off a shallow beach into the river channel. Members store dinghies inside the club compound on dollies for convenience and security throughout the year. While humble in appearance, the club is a jewel to its members offering a club house and barbecue facilities and frequent private or club sponsored social events. Additionally, the waters of Boundary Bay can offer some of the best sailing in the Lower Mainland. Due to its unique geography, sailors can often find shelter from strong wind and seas close to the club, and unlike other venues, it is only a short sailing distance to less sheltered waters.
The club consists almost entirely of member-owned boats, as well as our fleet of 24 training boats. In addition to one of the largest Osprey fleets in North America, the club has a strong Laser fleet, which has a strong showing at almost all club events. Our yard also consists of a number of Hobie Cats, Albacores, 420s, 470s, Enterprises, Tasers, and various lesser known boats and one-offs.
Racing is held every Wednesday night and most weekends, tide permitting, from April to October, and sometimes even through the winter. Races are conducted under the Portsmouth Yardstick handicap system. Main events attract over 20 boats with around 10 boats being an average for lesser events. There is one start for all classes and all boats sail the same course so there is always good competition.
Our Osprey fleet was originally the club’s premier fleet. This domination was helped by the fact that the Ospreys are a fast boat and can overcome the adverse currents, or at least this is the reasoning often heard from the club’s other fleets.
Dick Clift, an émigré from the UK midlands and one of the club’s founding members, brought the first Osprey (209) to the club in the early 1970s. 209 was a Plycraft Mk 2 built in the late 1950s and was bought in North Devon from the North Devon Yacht Club. 209 has changed ownership many times and a number of club members can point to their innovations on that boat, having owned and worked on her previously.
The Clift’s respect and fondness for the Osprey led them to bring a number more from England. When a club Osprey came up for sale, they would buy them and resell them to assure they stayed. These efforts helped to retain the current fleet of 8 National Osprey at the club. There is hardly an Osprey at the club that has not been owned by a Clift at one time or other.
Dick Clift, now deceased, was the secretary of the Canadian Osprey Class Association, which unfortunately no longer exists. His son, David and David’s family own Osprey 1014.
The club used to be home to the Fireball Class Fleet 363, which is unfortunately no longer active.
BC Summer Games
The Surrey Sailing Club was the sailing venue for the 2012 Surrey BC Summer Games. Over 50 youth athletes from across the province competed out of the club over two days in challenging conditions.
The Peace Arch News had great coverage of this event. Read more about it here and here