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Bainbridge Parks and Rec offers intro to competitive sailing class
The Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District is offering two introduction to competitive sailing courses specifically designed for youth ages 10 to 18.
“Sailing is a phenomenal sport,” said Jeff Ozimek, outdoor activities manager for Bainbridge parks. “All ages love to sail. People go sailing their whole lives, well into their 80s and 90s. It’s also one of the only true co-ed sports.”
The courses begin Tuesday, Sept. 10.
The Introduction to Fall Competitive Sailing (Optimist boats) is designed for sailors ages 10 to 13 who are interested in sailing competitively and participating in fleet regattas. Coaches will cover topics such as fundamental boat handling, racing rules, course layouts and fleet racing.
The Fall Competitive Sailing (Flying Juniors) course is designed for sailors ages 14 to 18 who are looking to expand their double handed sailing skills in racing dinghies. Topics covered will include more advanced boat handling, fleet racing and team racing tactics. Participants will have the option to join the Cascadia Cup regatta at Sail Sand Point in Seattle.
Ozimek cautions that these are not introductory sailing courses, and participants should have some boating experience to enroll.
“For this course, you need to know how to handle a boat at least a little,” he said. “What we must avoid is a possible negative experience, you’ve got to match the challenge with the skills of the sailor. It can’t be too difficult or too easy either.”
The parks district does offer a more introductory sailing class every summer for beginners.
Describing the benefits of sailing, especially for youth participants, Ozimek said the sport offers unique opportunities for learning responsibility and gaining independence.
“It’s very empowering for kids,” he said. “There’s a huge amount of freedom and they get immediate results based on their choices.”
The universal appeal of sailing, he said, applies to sailors of every skill level.
“It’s the joy of being able to go anywhere you want,” Ozimek said. “All you need is to know a little about the wind, a little about your boat and the whole world is wide open.”
For a complete list of class dates, as well as prices and registration requirements, visit biparks.org.
If you have some sailing experience, but are not sure which class is right for you, call Ozimek directly (206-842-2306, ext. 115) to learn more about the program or to inquire about other classes or volunteer opportunities.
“My job is to get people outdoors,” Ozimek said. “If I do that, I’m happy. Then, they’ll understand why we need to take care of our natural resources and they won’t just be sitting in front of a TV.”