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Massive damage at Kelowna Yacht Club following late-night windstorm

Kelowna boat owners are still cleaning up the mess left from Sunday night's vicious winds that ripped through the Kelowna Yacht Club docks.

The storm came on around 8 p.m., eventually bursting through the breakwater in two places and wreaking havoc on moored boats and the facility's infrastructure.

<who> Photo credit: KelownaNow </who>

According to Sally Howard, manager of the club, hundreds of boats suffered damage and at least one watercraft sank as the storm ripped apart boat slips, cracked windshields, scattered accessories and damaged sails.

Howard said staff and volunteer members from the club spent most of the night braving the storm to rein in boats broken free by the wind.

<who> Photo credit: @SUPokanagan </who>

"It was a little scary out there,” she said. “It was dangerous; there were docks that weren't possible to walk on.”

Howard said the damage done to the dock's infrastructure is “easily into the hundreds of thousands of dollars — on top of all the damage to individual boats."

<who> Photo credit: KelownaNow </who>

She added the club has shored up most the damaged breakwater temporarily, but it will have to be rebuilt.

Howard said the club had the breakwater looked at in the spring and didn't find any cause for alarm at that time. The break, she explained, was the result of the “perfect storm” conditions Sunday night.

<who> Photo credit: @SUPokanagan </who>

The wind speed, direction and intensity all combined to create a freak storm in the area, she said.

Rene Hantelmann, a boat owner at the KYC, said the storm was probably the worst in at least 50 years. He guessed it was as much as five to 10 times worse than the severe storm that hit the city in August of 1997 and caused extensive damage along Okanagan Lake, particularly in City Park.

Hantelmann said he was lucky his boat sustained relatively minor damage. He said he hopes the storm encourages people to take care to secure their boats properly when they dock — to help reduce damage in the future.

<who> Photo credit: @SUPokanagan </who>

Water to the basin has been turned off because of broken lines and the power to some docks has been turned off due to damages.

<who> Photo credit: KelownaNow </who>

Howard encouraged club members to check on their boats and said up-to-date information about the damages can be found on the KYC website.

The Kelowna Yacht Club facility has space for 1,008 boats and was about 80 to 90 per cent full the night of the storm.

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