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The Captiva Island Yacht Club Junior Sailing Camp teaches students more than just sailing

By Staff | May 17, 2017

The Captiva Island Yacht Club’s Junior Sailing Camp is made possible with help from the City of Sanibel, F.I.S.H. and Sanibel Community Housing and Resources. ASHLEY GOODMAN

The Captiva Island Yacht Club’s Junior Sailing Camp teaches children 8 to 15 the ins and outs of operating their own sailboat. The camp takes place in the Roosevelt Channel behind the yacht club.

The camp is made possible with help from the City of Sanibel, F.I.S.H. and Sanibel Community Housing and Resources. The camp is divided into two sessions: The first session takes place June 12-16 and June 19-23. The second session takes place July 10-14 and July 17-21. Both sessions run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The cost is $500 per session which includes sailing and kayak instruction. At the end of the program, each student will earn a Beginner Level I U.S. Sailing certificate.

Dahlia Dry, a Fort Myers High School sophomore and a previous graduate of the program, will be the camp’s lead instructor for the summer. Marshall Long will also be assisting her along with two counselors who are graduates of the program. Both Dry and Long are backed by U.S. Sailing.

“We have a 4 to 12 ratio. There’s always extra hands out there,” said Lauren Davies, business manager and sailing program coordinator at the Captiva Island Yacht Club.

With the program’s growing popularity, Davies has found that students are coming back to the camp year after year.

“We have six repeats from last year in the first session and seven repeats in the second class,” Davies said.

The Captiva Island Yacht Club has a fleet of 12 Optimist prams, six Sunfish and three Laser sailboats for the students to use. The Laser sailboats are typically for second year students.

“The Lasers can lap the other boats – they’re so much faster,” Davies said

Besides teaching the students how to rig, launch and sail their own individual sailboat, Davies said that the program also teaches self-discipline and responsibility.

“They have to put their boat away, they have to get their boat and put it together and take it down,” Davies said.

During the programs, good manners and behavior are recognized with their “Sailor of the Year” award which is given out to one student in each session.

“It’s not who’s the hot-shot sailor, it’s the nice person who will pick up your rudder or someone who helped you launch your boat,” Davies said. “The award is elected by the students.”

During the two sessions, the program offers Fun Friday and a Family Sail Day. Fun Friday is done on the first Friday during the camp. Activities usually include a kayak trip or paddle boarding lessons. During the second week, a family luncheon is held and sailing certificates are given out. On the last Friday of the camp, family members are invited to take a cruise with their child on the sailboat.

“The kids feel a sense of pride when they’re taking their family out on the boat,” Davies said.

For more information about the junior sailing camp, contact Lauren Davies at (239) 472-9627.

Editor’s note: the junior sailing camp is currently sold out for this summer.