Posts Tagged 'learn to sail'

week 2 of junior sailing camp

man time is flying by this summer! my 2 older boys just finished up the 2nd week of sailing camp this year.  conditions were similar to week 1, but Monday was stormy with high winds – my older son sailed only a short time in the morning, and my younger son didn’t sail at all that day.

PYC monday

the rest of the week generally played out about the same each day:  winds were mostly lighter, less than 10 mph each day.  my younger son mostly sailed the Opti, and my older son sailed mostly the FJ and the 420.

to mix it up during this second week, the instructors have a neat activity on Wednesday: the kids all have to sail to a park on the other side of the lake where they have pizza delivered for lunch at the park, and then sail back in the afternoon.  and on Friday, the instructors grill a chicken barbeque lunch to finish off the week.

all told, Ive been very pleased with the Learn to Sail program at Pontiac Yacht Club – a very impressive program, giving students a variety of sailing experiences and a great time out on the water!

week 1 of junior sailing camp

my 2 older boys just finished up the 1st week of sailing camp this year.  similar to last year, we have them enrolled in a 2-week session of junior sailing at Pontiac Yacht Club.  our 13-yr old seems to be getting a lot of opportunities to sail on 2- or 3-person sailboats, and our 9 1/2-yr old is still on the smaller boats (but he’s still a small guy, so it makes perfect sense).

Pontiac Yacht Club is home to the largest fleet of Lightning sailboats in the world (60+ registered boats). there are a whole slew of them at the docks, and a bunch more up on the shore on trailers.

a few weeks earlier, I ordered both boys a shorty wetsuit (2.5 mm neoprene) – it has been a cooler summer, and I was afraid the water temperature would be cooler.  after the 1st week, it seems like maybe they didn’t need them after all – as it has been warmer this week, and the water temperature hasn’t bothered them.

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Monday: 13-yr old sailed most of the day in a Club FJ with one other student, spending most of the day controlling the jib sail.  9 1/2-yr old sailed an Optimist all day, also with another student, each taking turns with the controls.

Tuesday: 13-yr old was stoked when I picked him up – he had a chance to sail a Laser for the first time, and loved it! his exact words were: Club FJ = terrible, Laser = awesome!  9 1/2-yr old sailed an Open Bic for the first time, and he loved it as well – he said he was FLYING across the water!  (I was a bit concerned that he might get stuck in Opti’s for this whole session, so I’m glad he is getting experience in other boats.)

here is a picture of the bigger boats our older son is getting some experience with — on the left is the Club FJ and to the right is a 420 sailboat.  he complains about how the FJ handles – he says it turns too slow, but he really enjoys sailing the 420.

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Wednesday: 13-yr old sailed the Laser some again (flipped it twice in the heavier winds!), and also got to ride in a 420 sailboat.  he mainly skippered the 420 with 2 other students riding along.  this was the 1st day that my 13-yr old wore his wetsuit – he said it worked great, and he could still move comfortably in it while sailing.  9 1/2-yr old was back in the Opti with a partner, but he skippered most of the day. here is Wednesday’s wind forecast (via the Windfinder app):

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Thursday: 13-yr old was only on the 420 this day, mostly as skipper, but a bit of time controlling the jib sail.  9 1/2-yr old sailed a bit in both the Opti and the Open Bic.

Friday: 13-yr old again was a mix of skipper and crew on just the 420 today. 9 1/2-yr old was in the Opti with a partner, but he skippered most of the day. he is our 9 1/2-yr old helping to put away one of the Open Bic sailboats.

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overall, it seems like another great week of sailing – they spend most of the day out on the water, and are getting a ton of experience with the boat handling.  I’m pretty happy for them, and a bit jealous of all the sailing they are getting to do!

 

 

my2fish blog’s 5th birthday

five years.  can you believe it?  sometimes I hardly can.

the my2fish blog about Sunfish sailing turns 5 years old on July 17th.

high fives all around.

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PYC junior sailing

so earlier this summer, my 2 older boys (T2 & Noah) and a friend (Iyush) took 2 weeks of sailing lessons at the Pontiac Yacht Club Junior Sailing program.

IMG_2134Pontiac Yacht Club is home to the largest fleet of Lightning sailboats in the world (60+ registered boats). there are a whole slew of them at the docks, and a bunch more up on the shore on trailers.

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my 2 boys had previously sailed with me on my Sunfish, but they had never tried to solo sail.  their friend Iyush had never been on a sailboat.  on the morning of day 1 – all three boys seemed just a tad nervous, but you could tell they were also excited.  I had stopped in to make sure they were checked in okay, but then had to head back to work.  later that afternoon, when I picked them up after lessons to head home, all three talked non-stop about how exciting the 1st day had been! (other than the boring “name-game” to learn the other students’ names.)

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beginner sailing students at PYC start to learn in an Optimist sailboat.  the Optimist (or Opti) is the most popular racing sailboat for juniors, and is a pretty stable and simple boat that is great for children ages 8 to 15 to learn sailing.

the next option as students become more comfortable with sailing is an Open Bic.  this sailboat is more dynamic, with an open, self-draining hull – and is a nice step up from the stability of a learning boat like the Optimist but before they move on to a larger racing dinghy like a Laser.

the 2 younger boys – Noah (8 yrs) and Iyush (10 yrs) – both preferred to sail the Optimist, and in fact they ended up sailing together in one for most of the days, although they each did some solo sailing in both the Opti and the Open Bics.

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my older son T2 (12 yrs) much preferred the Open Bic, and pretty much sailed that the whole time, other than a short time in the Opti’s on day 1.

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when I picked up the boys after the lessons each day, they would all 3 talk almost non-stop for the 25-30 minute drive home about the sailing that day: who sailed what boat, what type of activities they did on the water, how many times each of them capsized, etc.  you could tell all 3 boys were having an absolutely great time messing about out on the water.  after a few days of lessons, the class was starting to have the students try to learn some of the tips for racing!  I remember the boys saying they didn’t do very well with racing at first.

but on the 2nd to last day, the sailing instructors set up a windward-leeward course and the students did their own little mini-regatta, with each type of boat sailing 5 races.  T2 raced against 2 or 3 other Open Bics – finishing 1-1-2-3-1, and tied for 1st place in overall points.  Noah and Iyush sailed together in an Optimist against 7 other boats, most with just 1 sailor – but even with the 2 of them in the one boat, they finished the five races 3-3-3-4-3, giving them 2nd place overall!  not bad for 2 weeks of lessons.

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on Friday, I took a longer lunch break from work, and drove up to PYC hoping to take some pictures of the boys actually sailing out on the water as every other day when I got there to pick them up the sailboats were being put away for the day.  when I got there, the entire fleet of students was way out on the lake, nowhere close enough for me to take any pictures.  but the head of the sailing class radioed out to a coach, who came in quickly, and took me out on the coach boat to watch the boys sailing out on the lake.

it turns out that the wind was picking up quite a bit – and was the strongest it had been in several weeks, with wind speeds in the high teens (mph).  the sailing coach and I barely made it out towards the majority of the fleet before we had to stop and help a younger girl who was having trouble sailing in the heavier winds.  right about then the sailing instructors told the fleet to head back towards the more sheltered cove near the yacht club – so all the students turned their boats and headed that way.

I was able to snap this nice shot of T2 sailing downwind, with a larger capsized sailboat in the background behind him!

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shortly after that, we caught up with Noah and Iyush – who were sitting there calmly waiting for Noah to bail out all the water… apparently they had bow-plowed, with the bow of their Opti dipping under the water as they rode over a large wave, and their boat was full of water.  we told them to just keep bailing as they sailed back towards the cove.

Img0238_039after we all got back to the more sheltered cove, the instructors let the students just free sail around the cove for the 15 or 20 minutes before they headed to shore for a lunch break.  I was able to snap a bunch of photos during the free sail.

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after the 2 weeks, I’m pretty confident all 3 boys had an absolutely amazing time!

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they spent a ton of time out on the water in the various boats, and are pretty comfortable sailing solo at this point.  overall, I was very impressed with the junior sailing program at PYC and it’s results!  I’m pretty sure we’ll consider it again for next summer.

PYC junior learn to sail classes

we just registered our 2 older boys for sailing lessons this year.  there are a few programs in the Detroit Metro area that offer sailing lessons for youth during the summer, but the location and/or times vary quite a bit.  we chose to use Pontiac Yacht Club (PYC) on Cass Lake.

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PYC has a junior/youth sailing program that starts with a “beginner” class, followed by an advanced/intermediate class, which could lead to junior sailing if your child is interested.  we are starting both of them in the beginner 2-week class, and we’ll see how things go from there!

This class includes learning water safety, parts of a sailboat, wind direction, basic sailing direction and knots. The majority of the class time is spent gaining experience on the water in club supplied Optimists, Bics or 420 two-handed sailboats.

junior sailing program

I just found out about this: Portage Yacht Club is offering a learn-to-sail day camp for juniors at Portage Lake, near Pinckney, Michigan.  the club is offering “beginner” and “intermediate” sessions, both to be sailed in a Laser Pico, built by Laser Performance (maker of both the Sunfish and Laser).

The Laser Pico is a fun, durable, confidence-inspiring, rotomolded boat that can be sailed by everyone. It’s ideal for entry-level sailors and is equipped with a removable jib and reefing main sail for easy rigging.

Laser Pico (photo by Laser Performance)

discounts are available if you bring your own boat, if it’s appropriate for the class.  classes run Monday through Friday, 1:00pm to 5:30pm, on various weeks throughout the summer – but the last beginner level week is going on right now, and the last intermediate week is next week (July 18-22).  the courses are based on US Sailing course materials, and will be taught by a certified instructor.

see the Portage Yacht Club site for more details, prices, etc. (and sorry for the late notice!).


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