Park City Sailing: An innovative and successful program

Published on July 30th, 2013

When the town of Park City in Utah is mentioned, it brings to mind the 2002 Olympic Games, three world class ski resorts and an eclectic funky community. But just outside of the town and under the slopes of the Deer Valley ski resort is the Jordanelle Reservoir, and in 5 ½ years the Park City Sailing Association (PCSA) has earned the reputation as an innovative and successful program.

From their free Monday night barbeques and family sailing, to becoming a service provider to three of the largest summer programs in the area, they now own 30 boats and seep to offer a phenomenal value for their users. Ken Block, VP of PCSA, shares the organizations latest success story…

Last winter, the PCSA Board heard that the Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan (SEAS) was looking at donating a fleet of Elliot 6m’s, which had been based at the Sail Sheboygan (US Sailing Center). The PCSA knew it would be a long shot, but they also knew that a fleet of Olympic caliber boats, which were used to train for the 2012 Games, could really enhance the program.

After several months of communications, PCSA was advised that they made it to the short list and would be given a site visit. In May, SEAS sent their representative to learn about the PCSA program, facilities, finances and meet with the Board members. The visit included a barbeque with the Board, a tour of the National Ability Center (NAC) who is partner with PCSA and a meeting with the Director of State Parks. Unlike many sailing program’s PCSA’s facility resides inside a state park so a close relationship is required.

At the end of the site visit PCSA was granted 8 Elliot 6m’s, spare rigs and sail and 3 40’ cargo containers. The next challenge was to raise the funds required to ship the boats, insure them and cover the operating costs for the remainder of the season. In 10 days members of PCSA and some kind friends raised $22k and the Elliot’s were headed west.

On Friday (July 19), a caravan of containers and a massive crane arrived at the Jordanelle State Park where 24 PCSA volunteers spent an entire day unloading boats, installing keels and stepping masts. 2 days later another volunteer crew rolled the boats on their dollies into the water and a few lucky members got their first sail.

Monday night PCSA threw a free barbeque and invited our members to come out for a sail. The event was well attended and it created a tremendous amount of excitement but the best was yet to come.

Behind the scenes the Board had been planning an event in conjunction with the NAC and the Wounded Warrior project. It was a logistical miracle to get the Elliot’s ready for this, but theywere ready for when the NAC brought 18 women military veterans – who were attending a posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) retreat – down to the PCSA docks.

PCSA members Geoff Hurwitch, Buster Pike, David Odell, Ken Block and Executive Director Maciej Mamon had already attended a training session on PTSD and were prepared for the event including sailing with several of the vet’s service dogs.

The Elliot’s were used for the entire afternoon to provide both lessons and for many of the vets just a peaceful relaxing time on the water. Shore side PCSA’s Treasurer Chris Hartley and Social Chair Kathy Metcalf assisted the NAC staff with the loading logistics and the other water based activities that were made available to the vets.

The day reminded the PCSA membership that sailing doesn’t just take you to different ports of call. It can take you to a place where your passion for sailing does more good than you ever imagined.

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