Oil be d#$ned, sailors sail on!

By: American Sailing Association, Instructors, Members, Sailboats, Schools

Emerald Coast Yachts is located in Pensacola Florida, one of the coastal communities closest to the Gulf oil spill. But what started out as a horrible summer turned out to be . . . not so bad. Emerald Coast Yachts’ Peggy Van Sleen wrote to ASA to share the pictures from their recent children’s sailing camp hosted by the Pensacola Beach Yacht Club. She says, “Everyone was thrilled to be on the water again–these kids are used to swimming every day, either in the pool or in the Gulf. But because of the oil, this was the first time most of them had been back in the water since May.”

The kids had access to a potpourri of sailboats to try–from Hobies and Sunfish to a Beneteau 331, 30′ Catalina, and a sweet racer named “Coyote.” The weather was perfectly summertime-hot and the wind gentle and just the right strength for learning. The kids even got to drag behind the big boats under sail, holding on to long lines attached to the stern (which brings back great memories for me!). What a beautiful turn of events for Pensacola–with water clean enough now for kids to swim in!

In the evenings, the kids all enjoyed learning from the colorful instruction in ASA’s new textbook, Sailing Made Easy, as the lead instructor showed them how to tie knots and even do a bit of simple navigation. Some of them went from never having sailed before to skippering their own Sunny by the end of the week; the youngest to qualify to sail solo had just turned 7 years old!

We were so pleased to hear about Pensacola’s upward trend, and wanted to share the darling pictures with you all! There’s still time to head down to Florida this fall for ASA’s Member’s Event in Clearwater Beach too–you could be sailing down there with us in less than three weeks!

“I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar with the breeze.”
–from First You Have to Row a Little Boat