• 02 Aug 2023 12:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    August BBQ party coming up!

    Join us for food and good cheer on Tuesday August 15 at 7 pm! Attendance will count as one play hour, so what do you have to lose?

    We'll need some volunteers, please contact Walburga if you are able to help out.   

    Paddle and lunch on Ward's Island 

    Join our Paddle Paddle Paddle Group this Saturday August 5th for a paddle and lunch on Ward's Island. Meet at Water Rats at 10:30. This will also count as a play hour! Contact Shona for more. 

    Volunteers needed

    We are looking for volunteers to assist with putting blocks under the beach kayak racks on Wednesday August 9thContact Shona if you're available.

    Cat clinic recap and thanks!

    Thanks to the Olympic sailor Kevin Smith (Barcelona 1992 and Seoul 1998, Tornado) for hosting a great cat clinic at St. James Town Sailing Club all day on Sunday, July 16. Kevin is a guest coach at JTown (member of OHCC, Water Rats and Westwood SC) and this was the third time he has offered his annual coaching session on cats at JTown, completely free of charge. 

    Kevin's unparalleled knowledge was appreciated by all six students at JTown who passed their Cat 1 test on their first try thanks to Kevin’s methodical coaching and clear communication. Congratulations to Pablo Cazaurang, David Lewis, James Wallace, Jamie MacKinnon, Kelvin Lui and Reid Brewer from JTown!

    Kevin's coaching was driven by the “why” and focused on clean tacks and gybes, tiller exchange, getting out of irons, backwards sailing and fore-and-aft crew weight orientation. Kevin used simple sailing exercises, covering parking (stopping), simulated docking, capsize recovery and man overboard with a live person in the water.

    Thanks Kevin Smith for your altruism and for continuously sharing the joy of sailing with us!

    See you on the water!

  • 07 Jul 2023 10:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Club BBQ: Tuesday July 18

    Join us rain or shine at our next club BBQ and get a play hour! Free food and good friends!

    Electronic locks are coming!

    We will be installing our new electronic lock shortly, which will allow you to access the club via an app on your phone. If you have a partner or co-owner of your boat, please make sure that they are listed on your profile and they will receive access via the same app.

    Unidentified boats

    We have a number of unidentified boats at the club. If you have brought a boat to the club recently, please review the list and reach out to Michael if any of these belong to you.

    Bringing new boats to the club

    As a reminder, members are required to obtain permission and stickers before bringing any new boats to the property. Boats left on the property without obtaining permission are considered legally abandoned and can be removed at any time.

    Reminder – Lawn Maintenance

    Members are required to maintain the area around their boats. Please make sure that you cut your grass regularly. We have an easy to use electric lawn mower in the blue container which can be accessed with your Water Rats key.

    Trailer Storage

    Water Rats reserves the space closest to the water for sailboats. If you have a trailer stored within the first 4 rows closest to the water or along the Western fence south of the big tree, could you please move it to the back of the club. Referring to our map trailers should not be stored in areas M, N, P, Q, R, S, W, V, or X.

    Come and play with the big Cats at TMCC!

    We are "crashing" the Toronto Multihull Cruising Club (TMCC's) social sailing party and our cats are welcome to participate in this fun long distance racing. Beach cats from JTown and Westwood are also invited so we hope to have a nice little fleet.

    Join in Wednesday at 6 pm on the water between TMCC and JTown. No sign up needed, please contact Beata if you'd like more information. 

    Join the JTown Crew Bank

    JTown is a community sailing club next door to the rowing club and some of their members would love extra exposure to cats! They run a well rounded cat program and here is a list of folks interested in crewing on a cat. Let's join forces!

  • 19 Jun 2023 2:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Volunteers needed

    Join us Thursday 22 and Saturday 24 at 10 am. We'll be cleaning up the beach, cleaning out invasive plants and other grounds projects. Contact Heather if you are able to help out. Bring gloves, water and if possible a wheelbarrow.

    Our clubhouse deck needs sanding and staining! Contact Barbara if you can take on this job.

    Also need a volunter to move the new blocks under the kayak racks. Please contact Shona if you can help out.

    Paddle paddle paddle

    Join us for upcoming social paddle events. Your participation counts for 1 play hour per event. Contact Shona if you would like to add your name to the group list.

    Next Club BBQ: July 18

    Join us rain or shine at our next club BBQ and get a play hour!

    We need four volunteers to help pick up food, cook and do prep and clean up work afterwards. Contact Wallburga if you can help out.

    Our next fire ant spraying: July 5

    Our club will be sprayed for fire ants again on July 5. Please let Barbara know about any potential problem areas.

    Please help us keep our clubhouse tidy

    If you make a mess or see a mess, please stop for a minute to tidy up. We don't have a cleaning service, it's all up to members.

    See you on the water!

  • 30 May 2023 10:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This weekend: Heinz Gebauer Spring WAR Regatta 2023

    BBQ dinner on Saturday included. Terrific prizes, great weather and fun guaranteed. Register on our club website.

    Coming up: Water Rats BBQ Party

    Join us for a FREE dinner at 7 pm on Tuesday June 13. And get one play hour towards your membership!

    We need four volunteers to help run the event. Reach out to Walburga Groetzinger if you can help!

    And don't forget: Wednesday Cat Races

    We are "crashing" the Toronto Multihull Cruising Club (TMCC's) social sailing party and our cats are welcome to participate in this fun long distance racing. Every Wednesday at 6 pm sharp on the water between TMCC and JTown.

    Help us get rid of the fire ants!

    Spraying for fire ants is booked for Monday June 5 and Wednesday July 5 at 8 am to 12 pm. Please help in letting us know where they are. Send information to Barbara Anderson as soon as possible. 

    More volunteer opportunities! 

    Thanks to everyone who has help out so far with lockers, chairs, fencing and beach racks! There's more to do!

    1. Deck needs scrapping, mould removal and painting (4-6 people) 

    2. Cover, soil and sod for area formally tarped (6 people)

    3. Planting by boat ramp 

    4. Watering of big trees weekly til October 

    5. Removal of invasives with Heather.

    Contact Barbara Anderson if you can help!

    In the meantime, see you on the water!

  • 19 May 2023 9:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Club Crawl 2023 next weekend

    Feast like a king on a budget, coronation nibbles at each stop on Saturday May 27. 5 pm start at Toronto Windsurfing Club, work east to Westwood, 45 minutes at each club. This event will qualify for a play hour.

    Price: $20 until Wednesday 25th, $25 after. Register on our club website  

    Heinz Gebauer Spring WAR Regatta 2023 coming up 

    Join in for all the fun on June 3/4! If you don't sail, we need volunteers. Regatta price is $40 and includes a BBQ dinner. Register on our club website.

    And sailors, don't forget! After this weekend racing moves to Tuesday night.

    In-water clean up event next weekend

    Join us for an in-water cleanup (plastic, paper, wood, sharp rocks) effort in front of the Toronto Windsurfing Club and west to Cherry Beach on Saturday May 27th, 2023 from 10:00am to 2:00pm. Bring: water shoes, gloves, sunscreen, towel, re-useable water bottle

    Looking for more volunteer opportunities?

    We need:

    • A volunteer to pick up a load of new chairs and some post blocks from Home Depot. 
    • Volunteers to put blocks under the new beach racks.

    Contact Shona if you are able to help out.

    Please don't forget to log your volunteer/play hours so they count towards your required hours for 2023.

    Please move your kayaks this weekend!

    This is a reminder to move your kayak to its new spot by Monday so we can decommission some of the older racks. Contact Shona if you have any concerns.

    Ant spraying this summer

    Spraying is booked for Monday June 5 and Wednesday July 5 at 8 am to 12 pm. Please help in letting us know where they are. Send information to Barbara as soon as possible.

    New lockers in container

    Just a note that some members are having trouble locking the container. Don't worry about it, just push the lever down and leave it unlocked.

    See you on the water!

  • 12 May 2023 2:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Hope everyone is able to get down to the club and enjoy some of the great spring weather we've been having! A few updates from the team.

    Painting the red lockers

    We need volunteers to help prepare and paint the red lockers over the next couple of weeks. Please contact Bruce Hanson if you are able to help out and get those volunteer hours out of the way.  Here's where to log your volunteer hours.

    Members using those lockers may wish to empty them for the next couple of weeks.

    Join us for Cat races at the MTCC! 

    We are "crashing" the Toronto Multihull Cruising Club (TMCC's) social sailing party and our cats are welcome to participate in this fun long distance racing. Beach cats from JTown and Westwood are also invited so we hope to have a nice little fleet. 

    The fun starts Wednesdays on and after June 7 at 6 pm on the water between TMCC and JTown. There is no sign up, just join in, contact Beate Sejane for more information. 

    High water on the beach

    Our beach kayak racks are in! Please note that the water is higher than expected this year and very close to racks 10, 9, 8 and 7. We're keeping an eye on the situation but please be prepared to move your boats if required. We'll be posting photos to the facebook group regularly.

    See you on the water!

  • 16 Apr 2023 11:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Spring Work Party on Sunday

    We'll be holding our spring work party on April 23 at 9 am. It will be followed by a BBQ at 1 pm.

    Help us rakes the leaves, put in the docks and prepare the club for the season.  And get in a few volunteer hours which are mandatory this year!  No need to RSVP, just come down and bring a rake and some gloves. 

    If you have a wetsuit and can help us put the dock in, contact Ray

    New Work, Play or Pay policy

    For 2023, members are required to complete 10 hours of volunteer work up to six of which can be completed through play (attending social events). Incomplete hours are billed on next year's membership at $30.hour).

    New Social Event for Paddlers!

    New paddle rat Shona Chornenki would like to explore starting a weekly social event for paddlers. If you're interested in joining (participation will count towards club 'play' hours) please fill in this form. 

    Spring Racing/Regatta!

    The spring racing series will start Sunday April 23 at 1 pm. Please also register for the Heinz Gebauer Spring WAR regatta on the weekend of June 3/4. 

    We'll need some volunteers for the race committee, to mark boats, take care of scoring and work the BBQ on Saturday after racing. Let Ray know if you're available to help. 

    New Locks Coming

    Water Rats has invested in a new gate system coming in May. You'll be able to install an app to your phone to open the gate and clubhouse or you can purchase a fob for $20. More details will be announced soon!

    New Kayak Spots

    They're here! The new kayak racks have been located to the beach! Paddling members have recieved a survey asking where they would like to move. Check your inbox!

    Late Fees

    Please renew your membership now. After April 22, a late fee of $100 is applied. 

  • 17 Mar 2023 9:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Membership Renewal Opens Today

    You should have received an email earlier today with a link to renew your membership. Membership expires on April 1 so please renew by this date if possible. If you need to make alternative arrangements or do not plan to renew, please contact Membership 

    Unidentified Boats

    On renewal you will be required to confirm that you don’t own any of the unidentified boats. Please review the list carefully as we will dispose of any boats that are not confirmed to belong to a member. Please contact Membership if one of these boats belongs to you.

    Work or Pay becomes Work, Play, or Pay

    We are changing the work or pay system, adopting a system from the Burlington Beach Catamaran Club who have reported great success with the Work, Play, or Pay system. Members will be required to complete 10 hours each year, six of which can be completed through play. Play involves attended club organized events such as BBQs, Regattas, Weeknight Racing, and the AGM. For paddlers, we will be creating a new weekly paddling night. Each event attended counts for one hour regardless of how long the event is. The hours can also be completed through volunteer work as usual.

    At the same time, we are increasing the cost for uncompleted hours to $30 which raises the cost for not participating from $150 to $300. The increase is designed to provide more encouragement for members to engage in club activities, while keeping the cost unchanged for active members.

    The change is on a pilot basis, we intended to try the system for two years and review it to see if it has improved engagement in club activities.

    Active Use Rule

    We have added an active use rule, which states that members must use the boats that they store at Water Rats each year. We don’t view this as a change to the rules, but a clarification. We have a number of tests of active use, for example, Catamarans are required to put their masts up by June 30 each year. But we until now, we didn’t have a rule that explicitly states that members are expected to use the boats that we store. Water Rats mission is to provide affordable access to the water for sailors and paddlers. It is not intended to be a place for cheap storage, and this rule will clarify that. 

    Profile Updates

    Please review your membership profile to ensure that all of the boats you have stored at the club are accurate. Contact Membership if you need to make any changes. Please remember that if you want to bring a new boat to the club, you must obtain stickers before bringing it to the club.

    Volunteer for Changerooms

    We are looking for a volunteer who would like to spearhead the changeroom revitalization project. If you’re able to help, please contact Membership.


    We have a few of the newly built lockers that are available in the container. The ones available are on the upper shelf for a cost of $40/yr. Please contact Membership if you would like one before you renew as the charge will be added to your renewal.

  • 25 Feb 2023 2:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Survey Results

    We recently conducted a membership survey and would like to share the results with you. We received 100 responses which is excellent. We asked several questions about your experiences at the club, which were rated Dissatisfied, Somewhat Satisfied, or Very Satisfied. The charts below show the average rating across the questions asked. A score of 100% indicates that all members answered Very Satisfied; Somewhat Satisfied corresponds to 50%; and Dissatisfied is zero.

    The overall experience for members at the club was great, with a score of 75%. Nonetheless, a few areas for improvement were identified:

    Changing Facilities
    Members were not completely happy with the changeroom facilities. We currently have a men’s and women’s changeroom in the clubhouse. The code for the clubhouse is 6491. Since the change rooms were closed for pandemic, they have become a sort of storage room. We’re going to clean them up and address any deficiencies for the start of the sailing season. We’re looking for a volunteer to help with this task, please reply to this message if you’d like to help.

    Washroom Facilities
    We currently have two portable washrooms that are cleaned on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, these are the best solution we have available. Due to our proximity to the water and the leased nature of our facility, we can’t install a permanent solution such as a septic tank. We investigated upgraded trailer style washrooms, but the cost is prohibitive to rent these year-round. We are going to build a small deck around the washrooms to ensure that they are on a level surface and provide a more comfortable access point. Members who have other thoughts and suggestions for us to consider are encouraged to respond to this email.

    Paddling Storage
    To address the issues with paddling storage, we will be buying or building new racks. They will have a maximum height of three boats, and we’re going to move them to the beach for easier access to the water. The project is underway and more details will follow, but we’re hopeful to have the new racks early in the season and think that they will go a long way to addressing members’ issues.

    Fees and Membership Level
    We also asked members for their feedback on fees and the membership level. The charts below show the responses. A score of zero indicates that members felt the fees were fair, a positive score indicates the share members that felt the fees (or membership level) should be higher, and a negative score is the share of members that felt the fees should be lower.

    For the most part, the scores are very close to zero indicating that members are comfortable with our current fee structure. The results show a preference for more members, and this is something that we are trying to address. We’ve made a lot of space clearing out abandoned boats, and we currently have room for new Laser members as well as a few catamarans. We’re also tackling the large problem of member engagement.

    The other area that members thought was too high is the volunteer requirement. Water Rats is a volunteer run club. We have no employees, and we have the work-or-pay system because we need all members to chip in to make the club a success. Unfortunately, the majority of our members do not volunteer at all. On the other hand, many members are putting in well above the required hours (often a very significant amount of time). While we can understand that not everyone wants to volunteer, the results clearly show that the work-or-pay system is not working as a way of encouraging members to volunteer and contribute to the operations of the club. We’ve discussed the issues, and don’t feel that decreasing the requirements make sense but we are going to look at what adjustments can be made.

    We also received a number of excellent suggestions in the comments that we’re going to look into implementing, such as organized sailing and paddling social times, a webcam to view the water conditions, and improved security. Stay tuned for further updates.

    Volunteer Opportunity

    We are looking for a volunteer who would like to spearhead the changeroom revitalization project. If you’re able to help, please respond to this email.

    Masts Down Rule

    This winter we’ve had strong winds that have caused boats stored with their masts up to topple over or fall off their trailers. Boats being blown over can cause significant damage to other members’ property. To address this issue, members will now be required to take their masts down by Nov 30 each year. 

    Unidentified boats

    As a reminder, members are required to request permission and obtain stickers before bringing a new boat to the club. We have found a number of boats without stickers; if one of these belongs to you, please respond to this email to claim it. Boats that have been left at the club without permission are considered legally abandoned and may be removed at any time.


    We have a few of the newly built lockers that are available in the container. The ones available are on the upper shelf for a cost of $40/yr. Please respond to this email if you would like one.

  • 21 Jan 2023 6:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    2022 Membership Survey

    We are looking for your feedback on how to make Water Rats better. We've created a survey with questions to better understand your experience at the club. If you have the time, please fill out the survey. In addition to the questions, there is a comment section at the bottom where you can leave additional feedback. Take the survery here.

    2022 Volunteer Hours

    The volunteer hours for 2022 have now been recorded on your profile. If any corrections are necessary, please reach out to Michael by Feb 15.

    Unidentified Boats

    We have several boat and trailers at the club whose owner is unknown. As a reminder, members are only permitted to store the boats and trailers listed in their profile at the club. Members must request permission and obtain stickers before bringing any new boats to the club. If you brought a boat to the club in 2022, could you please review the pictures and reach out if one of these belongs to you.

    See you in the spring!

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