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Captiva Island Yacht Club Junior Sailing Camp helps kids learn the ropes of sailing

By Staff | Aug 3, 2016

Garrett Herrick, Danica Cobain, Gina Herrick and Thomas Breadlau. ASHLEY GOODMAN

The Captiva Island Yacht Club established its junior sailing program seven years ago. The two-week program, which runs July 25 to Aug. 5, teaches children ages 8 to 15 how to rig, launch, and sail their own individual sailboat in Roosevelt Channel behind the yacht club. At the end of the program, each student will walk away with a Beginner Level I U.S. Sailing certification.

The yacht club has 12 Optimist Pram sailboats and six Sunfish sailboats for the kids to use.

“We’ve had them donated by members or purchased them used from different locations,” said Lauren Davies, business manager and sailing coordinator at the Captiva Island Yacht Club.

The program is sponsored by the City of Sanibel, F.I.S.H. and Sanibel Community Housing and Resources.

“We basically have our members give money so that these kids can come and do the program. Our mission has become to teach the island kids to sail,” she said.

Kids from the recreation center explore Roosevelt Channel. ASHLEY GOODMAN

The team is comprised of a lead instructor and an assistant instructor, which are backed by U.S. Sailing. Their counselors are graduates of the sailing program.

“We require that (the counselors) take the Florida Safe Water Boating course in order to come and use our power boats. It’s just all in all a huge education and verification in water safety. We have manatees galore out here so we teach kids about them, it’s really cool. I’ve become mom to all these kids for that little bit of time during the summer, then I go back to my real job,” Davies laughs.

This is the third youth sailing program that the yacht club has offered for summer. The program was put together exclusively for the kids who are in summer camp at the Sanibel Recreation Center. There are nine kids participating in the sailing program.

“The rec center is basically gathering the kids, they come up here on a bus, bring them to us, they’re here all day. The rec center picks them up either at 4 or 4:30 p.m. and takes them back,” she said.

The program teaches the kids, in detail, the ins-and-outs of operating their own sailboat.

“Kids will learn how to tie nautical knots, what their purposes are, all the parts of the boat and Marshall, who is our current lead instructor will give the kids a test every Thursday,” she said. “It’s very intensive responsibility. Each kid is assigned a boat. They know if they’re boat number one, they have to get the rudder, dagger board and sail each day, roll it up, put it away and take care of it. There’s a lot involved besides sailing. These kids run away with higher self-esteem,” Davies said.

For more information on the program, contact Lauren Davies at (239) 472-9627.