Lake Ontario, ON


Watermark by Jasmine Schuchardt
Collected by Claire Lawson
My Watermark is Lake Ontario.

When I was about 13/14 my family had a boat, an oak and mahogany sailboat. They sailed it from Germany, across the Atlantic to Toronto. We moored at Hanlan’s Point on the islands. We always sailed it on Lake Ontario, and we like to sail especially in the fall because that is when you had a good wind.

My brother, even though I was just a kid, and didn’t know the proper sailing terms at the times, said to me, “Just because your blind doesn't mean you're not going to help out. I’m going to teach you how to sail, with the tiller.”

I could feel the wind. You have to feel where the wind is coming from, and the feel of the heel of the boat, and everything. That’s how you know when you’re under sail. You can hear the luffing of the sails, and that's how I know if I’ve headed up too far, and bear a way to correct it.

He showed me all that, and said you can feel the pressure of the sails. I fell in love with it. I’ve sailed since then off and on. We used to have a blind sailing program at the Island Yatch Club. Then I joined the Blind Sailing in 2003, and sailed ever since, every year with them. Friends of ours, had a boat, so on weekends, we would sail there.

I travelled with my mom, and we sailed in Hawaii every day on a catamaran. So I’ve done lots of sailing.

Last summer I participated in a sailing regatta, The National Innovational Blind Sailing Regatta. There were five boats, and on each boat there were two sighted people, and two blind people. So on the boat I was on, it was a father daughter team. The father was a tactician and the daughter was the gip, I did the helm, and the other fellow that was with did the main trim.

For a certain group, you have a certain feel. Once you're in that certain group, you just the tiller a little bit, and you just get into a rhythm. It’s almost like a form of meditation. Because you are in a mind set, because I have to concentrate. It’s just totally amazing, neat feeling.

Sailing has a specific feeling. It’s a form of meditation where I always feel so relaxed, and happy when I go home from a good sail. I just love it. The thing about blind sailing it is a very blind-friendly sport. Most sighted people look for the ticklers, where I just totally focus on what the wind is doing.
Watermarks are true stories about you and your connection to a body of water. By archiving your story, you add to a living record of our shared water heritage, protecting these waters for generations to come. So tell us: What is your watermark?

It was the description in Joseph Boyden's writing, of a great lake as a 'sweet water sea', that captured my imagination and made me wonder if it was possible to return these magnificent lakes to the purity of pre-contact times.



Lake Ontario, ON - Kay Plante
Lake Ontario Watershed