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Sailing school teaches basics, but overloads on fun

By Staff | Jul 1, 2015

Kristina Podlasck gives a big smile while learning how to sail at the Captiva Yacht Club last week Wednesday afternoon. BRIAN WIERIMA

Sailing a boat in the Gulf of Mexico or wherever one may set sail to, is a golden opportunity to take full advantage of what nature has given us.

There is nothing like splitting the oceanic water with a hull guided by the wind, taking in the sunshine and aquatic species which sometimes surface to give a glimpse of marine beauty.

The Captiva Yacht Club wants to share the art of sailing with the youth of the islands and offers a sailing school, run by Captain Marshall Long and Captain Rodger Pfeiffenberger, which held classes all of last week.

The boats used in the sailing school, which had students aged four to 13, were much smaller than the yachts and sailboats which are used to explore the Gulf, but the same techniques and skill are used nonetheless.

The kids were consistently given tips and correct methods used in sailing by Long and Pfeiffenberger throughout the week, as they guided their sailboats through a course set up in Pine Island Sound, just in front of the Captiva Yacht Club.

Hudson Stirner and Landon Williams are a fun sailing duo during the Captiva Yacht Club sailing school, run by Captains Marshall Long and Rodger Pfeiffenberger. BRIAN WIERIMA

“I want to learn how to sail well, then teach it to my younger brother,” said Maya Shuster, one of the sailing students.

Even though school is out, learning on the water has been a blast for the kids partaking in the classes.

Colton Sullivan, who is eight-years-old, sailed for the first time, but it’s something he figured out he wants to pursue.

“It was scary the first time I went out, but I’ve been getting a lot better,” Sullivan said. “I am learning a lot and hopefully I would like to sail a 65-footer someday.”

But there have been some growing pains in learning how to sail, as several students took a fall into Pine Island Sound (all are wearing life jackets and under the watchful eyes of Long and Pfeiffenberger, who are patrolling in life rafts) and some bumping into one another.

There were plenty of color on the bay in front of Captiva Yacht Club during the sailing school Wednesday afternoon, June 24. BRIAN WIERIMA

It’s all good, though.

“I whacked my head on the boom when it was swinging around,” laughed Kristina Podlasck. “But we are having a lot of fun.”

To learn more about the Captiva Yacht Club and everything it offers, visit the website at captivaiyc.net/.

Several of the sailing school students are out and about early on the docks of the Captiva Yacht Club docks. BRIAN WIERIMA

Brayden Williams holds the sailboat steady during the sailing school at the Captiva Yacht Club. BRIAN WIERIMA