Youth sailing returns for fifth season

Published 12:40 pm Saturday, April 20, 2013

Special to the Daily News

Learn to sail. That is the call the Little Washington Sailing School is sending youths ages 10 to 18. Classes start June 10 and every Monday thereafter through Aug. 16.
This is the fifth year that LWSS has offered the program. Last year, 71 students graduated from the program. Half of them came from Beaufort County, but the program hosted many out-of-towners who are the grandchildren of retirees who invite them to come for a week to enjoy the Pamlico River.
The requirements are simple. Students must weigh at least 70 pounds and pass a basic swim test. No previous sailing experience is necessary. Classes start at 9 a.m. and run until 4 p.m., with a lunch break at 1 p.m.
One of the things that makes the LWSS so special is the fun students have while learning. Instructor, Charles Pfeiffer, is returning for his second year. He is a U.S. Sailing Association certified instructor and certified in CPR. He is supported by LWSS volunteers who are sailors with many years of experience sailing on their boats. The school has six 14-foot-long Vanguard 420 sailboats, Each boat has a crew of two. One of the high points the students enjoy is when they master the ability to turn the boat over and then right it. Of course, there is also some classroom instruction for the students to learn the rules of sailing. The curriculum, approved by the U.S. Sailing Association, includes introduction to seamanship and the fundamentals of sailing for beginners (experienced students get special advanced courses). Teamwork is encouraged as students are taught to help one another with rigging, launching, retrieval and maintenance of boats and equipment.
Parents say they can see the change in their children as their program progresses.
The class fee is $200 a person, and some need-based scholarships are available. LWSS also depends on, and appreciates, the support of sponsors and donors who have helped the program get going and sustain it.
For full information, download an application and get registered by visiting www.littlewashingtonsailingschool,org. Applications are available at the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce at the corner of South Market Street and Stewart Parkway in Washington. A potential student should submit an application promptly because many of the early slots are taken quickly. Phone inquiries to 252-402-7878.