Monday, October 26, 2009

Igloos and PFD's forever... eh?!

If there is ever any doubt why windsurfers still need to wear PFD's in Canada, here is a quote from recent correspondence with Transport Canada:

"The issue of PFDs for sailboards was discussed during the regulatory consultation periods of 2002 and 2005. At that time, there was a great deal of discussion surrounding the matter. The sailboarding community itself is split on the subject. The Canadian Yachting Association, the governing body for windsurfing competitions in Canada, and other boating organizations have declared their position that all vessels should indeed carry flotation devices. As a result Transport Canada has decided not to repeal the requirements for PFDs to be carried on sailboards."

One of the first things that may pop into your head is the simple question - why are windsurfers regulated by Transport Canada in the first place? I guess they are worried about all those windsurfers who cart contraband cigarettes back and forth across the Great Lakes. MMmmm, soggy wet cigarettes. Who needs those when you can get a $10 bag'o'smokes in Tyendinaga, right on the way to Sandbanks?.

Another question: Is the Canadian Yachting Association (CYA) really the governing body for windsurfing competitions in Canada? I don't know the answer to this. Racing maybe? Freestyle, wave sailing? Not that I know of - there ARE no competitions for that in this country. From my perspective, the CYA obviously doesn't know shit about windsurfing. How much of the windsurf population actually races? Secondly, aside from MAYBE running an odd race, does the CYA even recognize that there is a difference between a sailboard and a yacht? Let's see, a quick comparison: You can be inebriated, dressed in a T-shirt in winter and a non-swimmer on one, and on the other you cannot.

Note that the most recent (2009) revisions to the Small Vessel Regulations, have left essentially the same requirements in place. In summary: PFD's are still mandatory... and you better wear it, otherwise you need that paddle, 15m of rope and a sack of flares. Sure, no problem, I'll just stow those items in the trunk. I've been asking Quatro to make me a custom Canadian board, complete with trunk and built in cooler, but no dice.

I definitely look forward to the $255 opportunity to get hauled up on an OPP boat. I certainly know what I am going to do. The minute an OPP boat sneaks up and instructs me to hop on board their boat to collect the ticket: "Officer, I am sorry, but I can't swim."

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