Saturday, Apr 21, 2018
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Local boating: Learning to sail is good for you

“If there is something that you think you can do, or even dream that you can, begin it. Boldness has mystery and power and magic in it.

That s not an exact quote and the great German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wasn t referring to boating. But he was onto a universal truth - that embarking on a new venture not only builds confidence, but can restore your sense of wonder and beauty.

Learning to sail or operate a powerboat can do that and more, like getting you off the couch and outdoors, maybe even to places you ve never been.

One way to get started is by taking the adult sailing classes offered by Jolly Roger Sailing Club to promote the sport. Building on last year s successful program, lead instructor Becky Ragland has plugged in more time on the water and the possibility of crewing for races.

“The classes are geared to beginners and people who have never sailed, those who are not confident about their skills, and people who have been away from the sport and want to get started again, commodore Matt Kern said.

“The emphasis is on safety and a fun learning exerience.

Classroom sessions will be held at the Jolly Roger clubhouse, 5961 Edgewater Drive, on Monday evenings from 7-9:30 p.m. starting June 7 and ending July 5. The program also includes onboard demonstrations, including how to rig a boat and handle lines, as well as an evening sail..

Ragland says there will be opportunities for cruising and racing during the summer with club members for students who are interested.

A $45 fee covers everything, including the textbook and a T-shirt. For more information, call Becky Ragland, 419-474-1610, or Phil Fry, 419-241-1969.

If you ve never thought of yourself as the “yacht club type, you may be surprised to learn that junior sailing classes at North Cape Yacht Club are open to the public.

wJunior Sail Camp, a joint effort between North Cape and Jolly Roger, includes both classroom and on-the-water sessions on Lake Erie. The well trained staff will be led by Rob Linden.

In addition, the clubs have brought in Clare Harris to serve as part-time administrator for both Sail Camp and the more advanced Race Training program.

Harris, who recently moved to Ann Arbor, has worked with junior programs at Columbia Yacht Club in Chicago and Shoreline Aquatic Center in San Diego.

Her husband Joe, a US Sailing board member, will be running the junior program at Grosse Pointe Yacht Club this summer.

This year the first two sessions will be devoted to race training for advanced sailors. The next six weeks, open to sailors of all abilities, will provide a rotating schedule that allows students a choice of starting dates.

The first week of sail camp will cost $150 and each additional week will be $125. A limited number of scholarships are available for the children of non-yacht club members.

Supervised onshore activities will be offered for an additional charge to parents who would like to drop off their children early or pick them up late.

Sail Camp applications and schedules are available at the North Cape Web site ( For more information, e-mail or call sail camp chairman Donna Lark Weiner, 734-269-9755, or junior sailing chairman Gary Goldberg, 419-392-3841.

Families and individuals from 10 years to over 80 can learn boating skills at the city recreation department s Community Boating Education Center.

Located at the Walbridge Park marina, the center will teach basic boating skills in a 9-hour course offered Mondays-Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m. The three-day course will be repeated throughout the summer through Sept. 1. A special two-day version is scheduled June 24 and 26 from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Intermediate sailing classes, which include advanced rigging and racing techniques, are available for students who complete the basic course.

Each program is a 13-hour course offered Monday-Friday from 6-8:30 p.m. and repeated several times during the season. Fees for the basic course are $75 for adults and $5 for youths. Intermediate classes run $85 for adults and 60 for youths.

The Center also offers hands-on classes in power boating and personal watercraft.

Students must be at least 14 years old to take personal watercraft training, a three-hour “short course scheduled May 29 from 6-9 p.m., and repeated on other dates through July. The fee is $15 per person.

Advance registration is required for most center courses. For more information, call 419-936-3848.

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