North Sails LOFT NEWS

November 5, 2018

From Dinghy Sailing to Sailmaking

From Junior Sailing Onwards, For Kyann The World is Her Oyster

Kyann Sailing

If you’d asked me in university what I wanted to do when I grow up, I would have probably told you I either wanted to go sailing, or be a sail maker. Fast forward a few years, I’ve raced on three continents, clocked over 4,000nm since graduating, and I’m now working at North Sails as an apprentice sailmaker. While that may sound like a dream come true, it wasn’t always.

I had my first sailing experience when I was 12 years old when my mom and aunt signed me up for my whitesail one, non-negotiable. The program took two precious weeks of my summer vacation, and I dragged my feet getting ready that first day. Shoved into an Opti that I was already too big for, I awkwardly sailed around the harbour trying not to crash into the big boats docked in the area. As the weeks progressed I not only began to understand the opti, but saw the older camp kids sailing 420s and lasers, and my interest peaked. By the end of the program, I had finished not only my whitesail I and II, but signed up for another two weeks at the end of the summer.

Kyann Sailing

Fast forward a couple years, and I was introduced to keelboat racing by my aunt. Sailing on a C&C 27 in a level fleet against 5 or 6 other boats twice a week, I loved learning the boat and trying to coax that tiny bit of extra speed out of it. Over the next six years I learned every position on the boat, eventually falling in love with the foredeck and never really making my way back aft of the mast. I was having a blast until my final years of university hit, and I took a two season hiatus from sailing. After a while, I’d forgotten how much I loved the sport and being on the water.

That all changed last summer when I got back on the water. Graced with 15-extra feet of boat, I learned a new foredeck and was itching to keep sailing after the season was over. Now that I was back out there, I couldn’t stop at just a few months.

I was introduced to a team sailing down to Antigua from Toronto, and with them I had my first overnight, navigation and ocean experiences. I signed up for two long distance races, but unfortunately it wouldn’t work out this time for the Rolex Middle Sea Race in Malta and the Caribbean 600 out of Antigua, due to rigging failures. Thankfully, I finished my off-season with a go at Antigua Sailing Week. Although none of my events turned out as I’d hoped, I’d never experienced anything like these regattas in my life, and came home determined to jump right back into sailing here up North.

Shortly after arriving back in Toronto, I landed a summer internship at North Sails. Every day I was immersed in a world of sails. Repairs, design, and sailing techniques were talked about all day at the office, and I was racing 3-4 nights a week. As the summer came to a close, one thing became clear – this wasn’t just a summer internship, it was just the beginning.