If it’s July, it is time to learn to sail in local camps

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Jul 17, 2013 - 01:35 PM

Photo: Participants at the Ware River Yacht Club Junior Sailing Camp prepare to launch their sailboats into the river Monday afternoon after a morning full of instruction. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

Participants at the Ware River Yacht Club Junior Sailing Camp prepare to launch their sailboats into the river Monday afternoon after a morning full of instruction. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

For those growing up on the Middle Peninsula, summer would not be complete without participating at some point in one of the area’s youth sailing camps. These camps, one of which has taught the basics of sailing and water safety for 40 years, are in full swing this week in both Gloucester and Mathews.

On Monday afternoon, this week’s session of the Ware River Yacht Club Junior Sailing Camp had recently got underway and participants were implementing skills they had already learned that morning in the river.

According to head instructor R.T. Davis, the junior sailing program is comprised of three regular two-week, full-day sessions for campers age eight years and older. Davis said the younger campers start out in smaller boats and, as they get older, move into larger boats that are more difficult to control.

The six instructors, Davis said, teach basic boat handling skills, boat terminology, basic navigation, tides and more. The instructors also teach racing skills in sailboats.

Davis said the camp encourages those with little knowledge of sailing to take part. "They can come in without ever having set foot in the water before," he said. "The goal is every beginner at the end of camp can pick a boat up, put it together and into the water and have a great afternoon."