PHOTO GALLERY: City sets sail for encompassing program

There was dead silence, unless a small groan was heard, as five women poured over a U.S. Sailing certification test at the Marco Island Yacht Club.

The women were part of the Ladies Sailing Class, in conjunction with the Yacht Club and the City Parks & Rec Department.

When a questioned pertained to what should be done to counteract the current, the answer, “Prayer,” wasn’t quite right.

Instructor Lois Dixon, a longtime sailor, headed the class that involved six sessions of book learning, from “Start Sailing Right,” and actual sailing. Extra on-water time was scheduled for this week because of earlier bad weather.

Knots, lines, right-of-way rules, steering, tacking and more was explained and then it was into small, individual sail boats, for cruising the waters off the Yacht Club. On one day it was more than cruising as the winds took sail with the students, sailing past the S.S. Jolley Bridge before motorized support boats tracked them down.

The course is part of an expansion of the Marco Island City Kids Youth Sailing (MICKYS) Program, which is part of an encompassing sailing effort by the city and Yacht Club.

Coming forth is the assembling of a management team of sailing instructors, said Bryan Milk, City Parks & Rec director.

“They will be used as consultants for MICKYS, with the ability to facilitate and also teach high school and adult programs,” he said.

The city is applying to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for a consent of use permit for a 70x70x70-foot triangle on a small beach portion near the southwest side of the Jolley Bridge, near the Yacht Club.

The city’s intent is to have a storage facility for 12 youth single sailboats and six 420 sailboats that allow two people, while also providing a small park area for instruction.

Milk said DEP is the owner of the land because the small upland beach was created by sandy materials over time and went unclaimed.

The city is being assisted by American Engineering, which did a high and low tide survey on the property and Turner, Hall & Associates, DEP permitting specialists. The permit request is to be filed this week and the city expects an answer in early June.

“This will give us an outstanding location for our sailing programs,” Milk said.

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