the utes


the utes

Another community sailing center that we’ll bet you hadn’t heard of before now. Got one in your community? Send it in.

The Park City Sailing Association (PCSA) started in the Spring of 2008 after determining that there may be a need for a developed sailing program in the Park City, Utah area. Sailing at the Jordanelle Reservoir, a lake that is 5 miles outside Park City, Utah.  The Jordanelle is a State Park and the lake is 6 square miles at  6200’ elevation.  The Jordanelle was created in 1995 and is a future water supply for Utah. Park City and the surrounding area is home to a list of accomplished sailors, many of whom have hung up their sailing gloves and determining instead to live the nice outdoor lifestyle that Park City offers but without sailing. We have former and active pros, collegiate All-Americans, national and world champion sailors living among us. The PCSA was founded by my husband, Geoff Hurwitch, who remains the spark plug of the group as the President of the Association. Recently the group was awarded non-profit status by the IRS as they push hard to develop sailing in the area at an amazing rate. Geoff began the group with a Tuesday Night Laser racing series that grew from 12 boats and 30 total sailors (many guest sailors) in year one to a nightly average of 20 boats and nearly 50 total sailors in year two and now it’s at a slightly larger nightly average in year three. Due to the explosive growth Geoff was awarded the 2009 US Sailing One-Design Leadership Award for creating the group and being instrumental in the growth of the sport in Utah.

The PCSA has a total of 60 Lasers in the fleet and has now struggled to find room to place all of them, leading to new relationships being formed with the host venue, the Jordanelle State Park. The PCSA has permits in the approval process to increase their storage significantly to allow more local sailors to call the Jordanelle home. Much of that need for growth in the Park has been created through the addition of a Junior Sailing program, new in 2010. Utah lacked an active junior sailing program and this year the board, made up of Ken Block, Buster Pike, David Odell and Geoff, worked hard to create the new program for junior sailors. Buster took the reigns as the Program Director and through his leadership and the support of the board and many generous PCSA members and families, they had a very successful first season. The board set a humble goal of 60% enrollment in year one and balanced the budget based on that number.

The program taught beginner and intermediate sailors with three US Sailing certified sailing instructors, led by PCSA member, Scott Vermerris as Head Instructor. In year one, Scott was able to use the six Optimists that were purchased used from the Northwest with the help of McLaughlin Sailboats and West Coast Sailing to teach just shy of 70 kids. The final enrollment percentage was about 90% and the PCSA is already looking to add more Optimists to the fleet in order to keep up with the demand. Ultimately the goal is much bigger as they hope to add 6 to 12 420s to the fleet to allow for Advanced and Racing instruction. A possible new relationship is being formed with the University of Utah to support their intention of creating a sailing program that could use the same 420s in Spring and Fall that the Junior Program would use during the Summer months. The PCSA is also exploring the purchase of two J22s that would be used for Adult Sailing lessons during the week, available to certified members on the weekends and used for a possible Match Race bracket on Thursday nights. The group has hosted the Laser No Coast Masters and two District 23 Championships in its short life and is working on adding a ski/sail championship on April 9-10, 2011 to aid in the fund-raising for the Junior Program. The energy and enthusiasm for the sport of sailing in Park City has been infectious and the growth of the PCSA Junior Program will only ensure a lot more kids are introduced to the sport and will hopefully be lifelong sailors.

Brie Hurwitch