Learn how to sail a boat single-handed or how to properly handle a kayak. Become certified in power boat safety if you choose. But mostly learn about the fun and excitement of sailing during the third season of Junior Sailing Camp at the Captiva Island Yacht Club.
"The opportunity to learn to sail, on their own, here on Sanibel-Captiva is a skill that will stick with them for life," said Lauren Davies. "Being on the water and challenging them to perform the skills that are taught is very rewarding."
This program is open to children ages 8 to 18 and of all experience levels. The only qualification for participation is successful completion of a swim test 50 yard swim, tread water, put on a personal floatation device in the water and swim back 50 yards wearing the PFD.
Enrollment is now open for the Junior Sailing Camp at Captiva Island Yacht Club
"This is the first year that the yacht club is providing its own instructor and defining its own curriculum," said Chris Heidrick. "It is also the first year we are offering beginner and advanced classes. We're excited about the opportunity to tailor the program to the needs and interests of the kids enrolled in each session."
The first of two sessions will be July 9-20 and is geared towards the beginning sailor. The second session, which runs from July 16-27, will be geared towards the sailors who have had an introduction to sailing and want to learn more about racing and tuning the boat for speed.
"It isn't a factor of difficulty," explained Davies about the difficulty of tuning a boat for speed. "It's a matter of experience and learning. Each boat and set of sails are different. Even the weight of the sailor, can make a difference for speed. Sail trim is the start of the process, but there are so many other factors that are learned over time."
Each Friday will be "Fun Fridays" that include paddle boarding, kayaking and a sailing outing. At the conclusion of each session students will demonstration their new sailing and marine skills during a "Parents and Friends Day" luncheon. The programs will be held at the CIYC, located next to Tween Waters Inn on Captiva Island. Drop off is between 8:45 and 9 a.m. with pickup at 4 p.m. each day.
"Each of the past two years parents have told me about the noticeable increase in their child's level of responsibility and self-reliance," said Heidrick. "In part, I think this is due to the immediate result a child sees and feels for each adjustment they make as they sail their own boat. They quickly learn how to get themselves out of trouble. It's a crash course no pun intended -- in self-reliance."
Enrollment fees are $600 per two-week session or $300 per week. Each child will be assigned their own sailboat Optimist Pram, 420 or Laser and their own kayak. However, each child will need to provide their own personal floatation device, lunches, snacks, drinks, sunscreen, hat and water shoes, which can be swim shoes, sailing booties or Crocs.
Davies said the most important thing a beginning sailor will learn is "patience is a virtue. Sailing isn't always a fast sport. You need to be patient and feel where the boat and the wind direct you. You are at the mercy of nature on a sailboat. I always compare sailing with the game of chess. You always plan a few moves ahead to reach your final destination."
The CIYC is the organizer and sponsor of the program along with instructors from the Edison Sailing Center. Enrollment is limited, so enroll early to ensure selection of your preferred session. For enrollment forms or additional information on the Junior Sailing Camp, contact Davies at 239-472-9672 or info@CaptivaIYC.net or Heidrick at 239-579-0660 or Chris@SanibelInsurance.com.