CALAIS _ Anyone who has thought that learning how to sail would be a rich addition to their lives can now realize their dream.
Washington County Community College, in partnership with the Passamaquoddy Yacht Club will be offering a series of community sailing programs for youth and adults this summer. The new programs are funded in part by a grant from the Maine Community Foundation as well as a generous donation from the members of Passamaquoddy Yacht Club.
“The programs we’ll be offering this summer are a continuation and enhancement of the youth sailing week that the Passamquoddy Yacht Club has been offering in the Whiting area in years past,” Scott Fraser, WCCC sailing program coordinator, said. “We’ve teamed up with the PYC to offer five weeks of programming this summer targeted at youth through adults with the focus of introducing participants to sailing. We’re really looking to get people out on the water and teaching them sailing skills in a safe and fun environment.”
All of the programs will be taught by trained instructors certified through US Sailing, the recognized national governing body for the sport of sailing. Instructors who will teach the programs will participate in a four-day training and certification course offered through WCCC from June 29th through July 2.
“We’re bringing in a trainer from US Sailing to offer the course in an effort to create a skilled and qualified local instructor pool from which to select instructors,” Fraser added. “We hope this will be a key factor in ensuring the long-term sustainability of this community sailing program for future years.”
The Maine Community Foundation Fund’s $2,040 grant will help to cover part of the cost of the training. Students enrolled in WCCC’s Adventure Recreation and Tourism program, in which Fraser is an instructor, also will participate in the sailing instructor training program. Anyone interested in more information about the training or to register for it can visit the US Sailing website at ussailing.org.
Once trainers are on board, the sailing series will offer an introductory training program for participants ages eight through adult.
The Youth Sailing Camp is for ages eight- through 12-years-old and will be offered over two separate weeks in different locations. The first week will be at Indian Lake in Whiting from July 22-July 26. The second week will be held at Keenes Lake in Calais from July 29-August 1. Both programs are day camps offered over a 5-day format with an emphasis on providing a positive early learning experience on the water while sailing. The cost of the Youth Sailing Camp program is $135 for the week. Participants will need transportation to and from the lake, as well as a bag lunch and snacks. Some scholarships will be available on a limited basis as a result of a donation from the Passamaquoddy Yacht Club.
“We’ve really tried to make it as affordable as possible to get kids on the water. The support of the Passamquoddy Yacht Club has been tremendous in helping us achieve this goal,” Fraser said.
Davis Pike, commodore of the Passamaquoddy Yacht Club, added, “The 75 members who make up the yacht club have all contributed to this expanded program that they enthusiastically support. We feel that this opportunity to experience sailing opens up a whole new world for the young people in the area. ”
There also will be a Junior Sailing Program for youth ages 13- through 16-years-old that will focus on introducing sailing to teens. The five-day program will be offered from July 8-12 at Gleason’s Cove in Perry. Participants will receive instructions using WCCC’s fleet of 16’ Flying Junior sailboats. “They’re really great boats for teaching and learning at this age group,” Fraser said. Participants will have the opportunity to qualify for certification through US Sailings small-boat certification program. “We’re hoping that this program might get enough local kids interested that they might start up a local high school team or two,” Fraser added. The cost of the Junior program is $150 for the week and participants will need transportation to and from Gleason’s Cove. They also will need to bring a lunch, water, snacks and extra clothing.
Finally, the last part of the sailing summer series is for adults. The program for adults will be offered from July 15-19. This program is for all participants ages 18 and over who will train on WCCC’s 26-foot Ericson keelboat the Rhapsody. The boat was donated to the program last year by a former Adventure Recreation and Tourism program graduate and has been used this past year in the program’s sail training courses.
“It’s another example of the incredible generosity that local people have shown out of their interest in getting more people on the water,” Fraser said of the donation. The adult program will follow the US Sailing Keelboat Training curriculum and will be taught by a certified US Sailing Keelboat Instructor. The course will offer both classroom time and sailing time to introduce adults to all aspects of sailing including terminology, sail theory, rigging, boat handling, motoring, docking, and more. The cost of the program is $325 and is limited to six participants.
Registration and information for all of these programs is available at www.downeastcommunitysailing.org or by contacting the sailing program coordinator Scott Fraser at 454-1031.