Youngsters set sights on sailing
Day one, they're greenhorn landlubbers learning theory. Day 2 they can tie knots, rig a boat, and experience a sail with an instructor. Day three, they're sailing by themselves.
Welcome to the Marco Island Community Sailing Center's summer camp series, which is under the auspices of the city's Parks & Recreation Department.
Each morning, Monday through Friday until a week before school starts, the program is aimed at instilling the magic of sailing in youngsters.
And, as four-year program organizer and seasoned sailor Rocky Cale puts it: "Sailing offers a lot of good lessons in life. You learn a lot about yourself. You learn about patience, perseverance, and you get real close to nature because, of course, everything's powered by the wind."
That resonated with Lily Wright. She said after her two-week experience with sailing so far, she's going to continue.
"It's fun … and relaxing," she said.
One of the instructors is Bailey Quinn. A medical student who actually cut her teeth on this program more than a decade ago, she spent the past four years on the University of Florida sailing team.
"I didn't sail at school, because there weren't really any programs," Quinn said. "But when I found the college team, I got refreshed, and now I'm back here teaching."
Eighth grade student Tyler Blaskovich sails in the advanced class in the afternoons. He sails 420s (with one other person crewing) and also lasers.
He said the rush of sailing for him is "just going everywhere with the wind."
Organizer Cale said familiarity with currents and prevailing tides is also vital when becoming a sailor.
"Conditions are always a little different," he said.
Cale said it's hoped to put together a high school sailing team in the near future, adding that 8th Grade middle school students would also be eligible for the team.
See a video of some of the action on this site.
If you go:
What: Marco Island Community Sailing Center summer camps
When: Beginners, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon; intermediate and advanced 1 p.m.
Cost: $145 for beginner and intermediate per week; with sibling discounts; advanced, $250 (must have completed the first two levels).
Ages: 8 and up through high school
Registration: At Mackle Park.