Canadian Shark Class Association

Sailing Sustainably on the Great Lakes

Shark Worlds in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada.
Photo by by Jim Schacht, courtesy of the Canadian Shark Class Association.

In 2023, the Shark Worlds in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, achieved our Gold Level Clean Regatta certification. The Shark Class philosophy was that “as sailors, [we] don’t use a lot of fuel in [our] boats and rely on the wind – so, why not go as green as possible?” Following the Clean Regattas Toolkit, the weeklong event for 48 boats only produced two bags of trash. Building on this success, the Canada Shark Class decided to promote Clean Regattas at all their event and join the Clean Class Initiative. In 2024, the Class Board of Directors passed a motion to adopt and promote the Sailors for the Sea protocols for all their regattas. Working with host clubs across Ontario and Quebec, the Shark Class has made it a requirement for host clubs to register their events as Clean Regattas.


The Canadian Shark Class Association is a member of the International Shark Class Association and is the governing body for Shark racing in Canada. Sharks are an officially recognized one-design class of World Sailing. Designed in 1959 by George Hinterhoeller, the first Sharks were made of wood construction in a shed behind his Niagara-on-the-Lake home before transitioning to fiberglass, which is still used today. The Shark quickly became a sensation on the Great Lakes and was also sold on the east and west coasts of Canada.

The Canadian Shark Class is a friendly community passionate about sailing, whether cruising or racing. The welcoming and inclusive nature of the Shark Class has been fundamental to its continued growth in Canada with new sailors, families, and youth choosing the Shark as their preferred sailboat. Sharks have been a mainstay of the one-design sailing scene on the Great Lakes for over 60 years, and the class is as strong today as ever.

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