Windsurfing windfall directed to charities

NANAIMO – Windsurfer crosses Georgia Strait to raise cash for community causes.

The Gyro Georgia Strait Charity Challenge is on again this summer with three men poised to make the crossing from Pipers Lagoon Park to Sechelt.

David Strang, Saul Hilchey and Tony Harris will make the crossing as soon as they get the right wind and water conditions. Strang will do the windsurfing, while Hilchey acts as safety spotter aboard Harris’s boat. Harris is supplying and piloting the escort boat for the 40-kilometre crossing.

“We hoped to go sometime within the next two weeks, but it’s weather dependent,” Hilchey said.

This will be the seventh crossing. The event started in 1999 and runs every second year.

In the meantime the men are trying to drum up extra cash donations for city parks upgrades.

Previous crossings have raised a total of $150,000 and so far the men have raised $25,000 of which $20,000 will go to the city for parks upgrades, $4,000 is earmarked for the Child Development Centre and $1,000 will go to the Salvation Army. Garth Johnstone of Archie Johnstone Plumbling and Heating will match money given to the Child Development Centre.

Anyone who would like to contribute pledge donations, please send cheques, payable to the Salvation Army to Saul Hilchey at RBC Donminion Securities offices at 101-5050 Uplands Dr., Nanaimo, B.C., V9T 6N1. Tax receipts will be provided.

“They can make the cheque payable to the Salvation Army,” Hilchey said.

A windy crossing makes for rough seas, which is the main challenge of the trip.

“We’ve been beaten up in the boat a few times,” Hilchey said. “I’ve got the hard part. I’m in the boat. We’ve been beaten up in the boat a few times.”