Profile: Bowen's sailing youth

With school winding down,  sailing season is gathering speed. 

Island youth Ryan Champoux, 12, and Chris Oben, 11, have been sailing for half their lives (six years). The sailing partners race two-person dinghies, double-handed RS Fevas. While most of their classmates are landlubbers (or at the very least not competitive sailors) approximately twice a week Ryan and Chris head out on the water.

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“It’s just fun to feel the breeze in your hair when you’re sailing,” says Ryan. 

“It’s just awesome,” says Chris.

Ryan and Chris do sail in Bowen waters in the summer but the tacking duo usually practices at the West Vancouver Yacht Club. 

Though they estimate that they’re about 10th in B.C. in the RS Feva class, the partners say their goal this season is to win a race. While they’re entering the Round Bowen Race, they’re more hopeful about some of the smaller cups and regattas. 

What do sailors need to be aware of?

“Definitely just working on your reaction to things I think is a big part of it. Just knowing what to do in the right situation,” says Ryan.

“And your reflexes if the boom ever comes swinging,” says Chris.

What would they tell someone who wants to get into sailing?

“That it’s really fun. And if you get seasick, you shouldn’t do it,” says Ryan.

“They should just try out a boat and see how it goes,” says Chris.

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