Registration open for sailing program
The Captiva Island Yacht Club is taking signups for its summertime, youth sailing program.
This year’s Junior Sailing Camp will be offered in two sessions – June 17-28 and July 15-26 – running Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Hosted for about 10 years, the program teaches participants how to rig and sail a boat single-handedly, race a sailboat and handle a kayak.
Open to ages 8-15, families do not need to be a club member to register for a session.
“We’re trying to promote sailing amongst young people,” Mark Koelmel, chair of the Sailing Committee at the CIYC, said. “This course is designed for first-time and novice sailors.”
Sailing Coordinator Lauren Davies explained that the program was birthed by the Edison Sailing Center and first taught and run by the organization for the club. As interest in the camp grew, the club took over the program, acquiring its own boats and building a staff of certified trained instructors.
“Island kids should know about all the wonderful things like kayaking and sailing,” she said.
She estimated that about 200 children have completed the program since it started.
“We still have a close relationship with the Edison Sailing Center,” Koelmel noted, adding that the organization offers more advanced training programs for those who want to further their skills.
While for novices, the CIYC camp is a US Sailing certification program.
“We generally follow the US Sailing Learn to Sail beginning’s program,” he said. “They actually are taught under the general guidelines of how those programs are put together.”
“But, it is a little more islander-ish laid back,” Koelmel added.
The sessions are held at the club and the boats launch from the ‘Tween Waters Island Resort. The youth split their time between classroom instruction and on-the-water training on the Roosevelt Channel.
The first week, each child is assigned their own sailboat to use – an Optimist Pram.
For the second week, students are paired up and put in a Sunfish sailboat.
“That’s a little bit bigger boat and faster boat to handle,” he said.
Participants also receive instruction in kayaking.
On the second Thursday of each camp, a family award luncheon is held.
Davies explained that the children receive their certificates and “Little Red Book,” the US Sailing student record book that they can produce if needed to verify their credentials to use a sailboat.
“We have an Outstanding Sailor Award,” she said.
“Our kids vote for who they feel has been the all-around sailor,” Davies added, explaining that it is based not just on skills learned, but helpfulness during the session. “And we give that award.”
The plaque is hung up in the club.
Families also enjoy lunch and a slideshow of the camp’s daily activities.
“I take pictures throughout the program,” she said.
In addition, on the second Friday of each session, a family sail day is scheduled. Koelmel explained that the students invite their families to come and sail with them and see what they have learned.
“It is a moment of pride for the kids,” Davies said.
“You’ve seen them doing it and now you get to get on the boat with them,” she added. “It’s a really beautiful thing to see them peacock out there – showing their parents how wonderful it is.”
To qualify to take part, youth must successfully complete a swim test on the first day.
For the swim test, the youth will be required to swim 50 yards, tread water for one minute, put on a personal flotation device or PFD while in the water, and swim 50 yards while wearing the PFD.
“That obviously is a safety thing,” Davies said. “We don’t want to be putting these kids out on the boat if they don’t know how to do that.”
The cost is $700 per child.
She noted that the CIYC partners with F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva, the city of Sanibel, and Community Housing and Resources to provide scholarships to attend for families that need financial assistance.
“Our members sponsor children to come and take the program,” Davies said.
For more information, contact the partner entities directly.
Participants need to bring to camp a U.S. Coast Guard type III PFD; closed-toe shoes with laces or velcro straps, no flip-flops, sandals or Crocs; lunches, snacks and drinks; and sunscreen, towel and hat.
Sailing gloves are also recommended.
The deadline to sign up is June 1, but enrollment is limited to 12 per session.
“We’re about halfway on each,” Davies said on April 18.
However, a waiting list is maintained in case any of the filled spots open up.
“We never discourage anyone from contacting us,” Koelmel said.
Families are encouraged to register.
“I believe it’s much more than sailing that we’re teaching them,” Davies said, explaining that the students learn about safety, responsibility, respect, love for nature and the water, and more.
Koelmel added that it is a convenient summer option.
“Particularly for the kids on the island, it’s a convenient location for them,” he said. “It’s a convenient program and we’re here for the summer, so parents can just drop off their children and go.”
For more information or to sign up, visit www.captivaiyc/activities/sailing.
Families can also register in-person at the club.
For questions, contact Lauren Davies at 239-472-4133, ext. 4 or Accounting@CaptivaIYC.net.
The Captiva Island Yacht Club is at 15903 Captiva Drive.