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Kids take to the wind and water with TSS Youth Sailing

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image Learning to right a tipped over boat is one of the fundamentals of small boat sailing. Mitch Traphagen Photo

The program is designed to get young sailors out on the water.

By MITCH TRAPHAGEN

APOLLO BEACH – The Tampa Sailing Squadron in Apollo Beach has again resumed summer sailing classes for beginning, intermediate and advanced sailors. Classes are held Monday thru Friday and students are on the water from the very first day. The program, which began in 1991, has improved with each passing year and is known as one of the best ways for kids to safely learn to sail.

The program is designed to get young sailors out on the water in protected Bal Harbor, sailing in small boats, having fun and learning the ropes in a safe, organized program of sailing activities. The fundamentals of the program include rigging, launching, sailing and landing a pram or a Sunfish, understanding wind direction, steering and points of sail to maneuver the boat upwind (tacking) and downwind (jibing). All graduating students are invited to race in the Joey Meyer Regatta at the end of the season.

Safety is paramount during the sailing classes. The session began with a short swimming course and instruction, along with hands-on demonstrations for how to safely right an overturned boat. With near perfect weather, the kids seemed to enjoy being in the water as much as being on it. By the end of the week, all will be proficient and confident in handling their small crafts.

Lead instructor Ryan Kresge grew up with TSS Youth Sailing. Currently a student at USF, the Tampa Sailing Squadron sponsored his U.S. Sailing certifications as a small boat instructor and as an American Sailing Association keelboat instructor.

Kresge, along with instructors Jane Millican and Samantha Maxwell and three junior assistant instructors, adheres to the program’s motto to “teach sailing…and a whole lot more.”  Both Kresge and Maxwell are also leaders in the Sea Scouts.
West Marine Express at 268 Apollo Beach Blvd. has provided a $500 grant of supplies and equipment for the summer program. The store also organizes nautical flea market fundraisers for the program.

The Tampa Sailing Squadron is one of Tampa Bay’s most prominent and successful sailing clubs. Members say the club has continued to prosper thanks to a historical commitment to maintaining a low membership fee schedule and offering services and programs to promote both sailing and fellowship.

TSS Youth Sailing’s instructors are certified to teach by U.S. Sailing, the national sailing authority, and they have credentials in CPR, First Aid and boating safety. Class size is limited for safety and personal attention. There are discounts for multiple students and multiple weeks. Registration for the June classes has closed. However, classes are still available in July and August. To register, visit TSS Youth Sailing’s website at www.tssyouthsailing.org

For more information about the Tampa Sailing Squadron, visit their website at www.sail-tss.org.

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