The Fun of Youth Sailing!



Happy Kids on a Sunfish

Kids and sailboats go together like ducks and water! There are so many cool kid-friendly sailboats out there: Optimist prams, 420s, Lasers, Sunfish, Flying Scots, Open Bics, Hobie Cats, windsurfers, the list goes on and on. Sailing combines skill, dexterity, and a sharp mind to harness the wind and go where you want to go. No distractions, just some friends and the great outdoors. What’s So Great About It, Anyway? Sailing gets kids outdoors and gives them an understanding and respect for the environment; when you get kids out on the water, they care more about what’s in the water. After stressful days at school, sailing can be a wonderful release for many kids. They also gain independence and a sense of accomplishment. Sailing kids have to think about gear options, safety equipment, weather conditions, how to deal with other boats nearby, weight displacement, and wind shifts. All that problem solving and planning use a different part of the brain and help kids achieve a higher level of thinking. Doing something they’ve never done before opens their minds to new experiences, gives them a feeling of success, and feeds their selfconfidence. They also will make and keep new friends. But, enough of all that. Here’s your take-home message: learning to sail is fun. That’s what brings people back to the sport day after day.

Capture the Hull

Capture the Hull

There’s something new to see, learn, and experience whenever you set sail. Just like sponges, kids soak everything up and learn fast. One parent says, “Billy has had such a great time. He didn’t think anything existed that was fun in the world except for Xbox and was horrified when I signed him up for a two-day sailing course. I went from being the world’s worst to the world’s best mother in two days. He had an amazing time and now wants to do more sailing. His sisters also had fun during the course; all three came home exhausted and happy at the end of each day.” SpinSheet loves to see kids sailing on the Bay, and we’d like to see many more of them. Sailing is something they can enjoy their entire lives. Here are some helpful tips to make that happen. Where To Start? Bay sailing and boat clubs, sailing schools and centers, community sailing programs, yacht clubs, Chesapeake schooners, charitable organizations, public schools, and camps abound; they all offer sailing programs for kids. Talented coaches all over the Bay are waiting to pass on what they know and whisk kids into the sailing life. Whether it’s one-on-one, pair-based, or team-based instruction, the training opportunities are endless and cover all skill levels, from beginners hoping for some fun in the sun to serious racers with pro careers on their minds. One junior sailing coach says, “I became a teacher because of the sailing coaches I had as a kid at camp. I always watched how they taught me things, and when I started taking on the role as a junior instructor, I found the teaching aspect incredibly rewarding.” The junior page of the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association website (cbyra. org) is a good resource for clubs with youth programs, as is the Cruising Club Directory at Many clubs in Annapolis, Baltimore, Deltaville, Norfolk, and North East, among others, have informational website pages for juniors. One family says, “With three growing boys, it is always difficult to find something new to do. The five-day sailing and three-day catamaran courses that Thomas and Oliver attended have really fired their enthusiasm for sailing. The two older boys were both proud and exhilarated to be awarded their Level 2 status on a Cat, and I know that they learned a lot while having fun and getting very wet! The boys keep nagging me to buy them a dinghy; instead, we’re looking into joining a local sailing club.” Word of mouth is often the best way to find out about a program. For example, KidShip and Premier Sailing in Irvington, VA find many students by word of mouth; younger brothers and sisters of students join the program, and often, the older sailing siblings become instructors. Many programs are sensitive to the needs of working parents and offer extended care hours, car-pooling, or in-synch adult and youth programs. The best way to find out if a program fits the needs of you and your kids is to call around, ask good questions, and ask for references from other parents so that you can learn about their experiences. You may even be able to visit the facility. Just be sure to sign up early.

~ Spinsheet Magazine

An Article going into the SOKY news this Month!

sschoolSailing – An Adventure on Barren River Lake!

Author: Frank Kersting, past Commodore

Outdoor enthusiasts and families in our region are used to enjoying summers at Barren River Lake. Nearly everyone makes at least one trek to the lake during the season. But most do not know that Barren is home to another recreational treasure, the Port Oliver Yacht Club (POYC), a sailing club on the ‘Beautiful Barren’ with numerous coves and scenic sailing waters. Joining a sailing club is the perfect way to learn to sail and meet other sailors. With over 100 members, POYC sailors come from all walks-of-life and ages. What they all have in common is a passion for sailing.

Founded in 1967, our club is located across from The Landing, near the Barren River dam, on land that was leveled as part of the dam construction. The property is maintained through spring and fall work parties, which are an enjoyable way to spend a day at the lake. The club features a “yard” where sailors can store their sailboats year-round and a rustic pavilion for gathering, grilling, and enjoying the beautiful lake scenery. The property also offers a camp site for members wishing to stay a few days at the lake. A ‘head,’ our restroom facility, provides an opportunity to shower before returning to the demands of city-life. The main feature at the lake is the launching ramp and dock. The dock is typically full of sailboats during the sailing season, with the pleasant sound of lines slapping the masts, bringing to mind thoughts of travel and sailing adventures. According to Deborah Champion, member and past commodore, “It’s just the perfect place to be on a summer day!”

The club has an active schedule, with monthly meetings at the property and social functions throughout the year, ending with the traditional Christmas Party celebrating the members annual accomplishments. How does having a July 4th barbeque at the lake followed by a pontoon boat ride to the State Park Lodge to watch the fireworks sound? POYC does that and IT IS FUN! Events such as movie nights, sunset sailing and club dinners take place throughout the summer and into the fall. During the sailing season, the club sponsors both a recreational and competitive racing program. All sailors are welcome and encouraged to participate. There is nothing more exciting than watching the sailboats jockey for position at the starting line of a race. A day of racing is followed by dinner at the pavilion, where everyone swaps stories about the days events. All members are invited to the club social events that take place after Saturday races.

POYC is a family-friendly club and the place for anyone interested in sailing. Annual dues are extremely reasonable and available at an associate and full level. You do not have to own a sailboat to join! As an associate member, you and your family are invited to all POYC activities, and you will have full access to the club facilities and club-owned sailboats to enjoy a day on the water. The associate membership offers a low-cost way to experience boat life on ‘The Barren.’ A full membership provides the same benefits as the associate, but also allows a member to store their boat in ‘the yard’ all year for less than the cost of 5 months boat storage.

Interested in testing the waters? Each spring, Bowling Green–Warren County Community Education ( offers beginning sailing classes taught by experienced sailors at POYC.

Our Sailing School will be held on four consecutive Saturdays beginning May 9th from 10am – noon, and costs $40 for one person or two for $75. You’ll learn the parts of the boat, basic sailing techniques and knots. Sessions include both classroom and “on the water” instruction. For more information contact

We also have a One Day Youth Sailing Camp scheduled for June 6th. From 10am-noon. The Sailing for Youngsters Camp includes both classroom and on the water instruction and costs just $10 for Children ages 9-14. Parents are also welcome to attend with their children. Contact Rob Hatcher at or 270 681-1963 for more information.

Sailing can be a lifelong hobby and the adventure of a lifetime! It’s a great way to both commune with the outdoors and appreciate the natural world. Harness the wind and join our family-friendly sailing club! The Port Oliver Yacht Club is indeed a hidden treasure, waiting for inquisitive adventurers looking for something new to discover! To learn more, visit the POYC website at

Herb Siewert – RIP

Herb Siewert — I heard today that our longtime member. sailing mentor and friend passed away yesterday 2/26/15 at about 3;30pm. Herb planned to be cremated and the family will hold a remembrance at a later date. Please offer up your prayers and good wishes for him. Herb was always first with a kind word, and always made others feel welcome to our club. Fair winds and sail on Herb.

March Work Party – March 14th at 10am


Yardmaster Steve Stahl supervises Yard Cleanup efforts, while Captain Rob Hatcher looks on. Anne Lawson and Greg Glass swab the decks.

Our Spring Work Party will be held March 14th Saturday, starting at 10AM. The list s long and we need many hands. Bring your regular garden cleanup tools, rakes, clippers etc. Lunch will be provided by the club.

Here’s a list of what we need to do and also a list of proposed capital improvements we have on the table:

ITEM POYC SPRING 2015 Work Party Action Items
1 Remove Junk from Yard and take to Dump  
2 Secure Water Line to Kitchen Sink to Side of Deck  
3 Remove Optimist Prams  
4 Reseal Picnic Tables  
5 Work on Yard Lights  
6 Re-arrange boats in Yards  
7 Clean Fire Pit Area  
8 Switch Hobie Trailers  
9 Straighten Out Gate  
10 Trim Pine Tree by Garbage Cans  
11 Remove Stump by Sunfish  
12 Fix Park Benches  
13 Catalog Boats in Yard  
14 Clean and Install Dock Ladders  
15 Clean Committee Boat hulls  
16 Move Blackhawk to upper lot  
17 Paint Dock Stand-off Arms  
18 Mow and Trim around Boats  
19 Clean Head  
20 Drink Beer  
  Capital Projects Follow-up
1 Inspect / Fix / Replace Committee Boat Motor Doug Roberts / Others
2 Obtain and Purchase a Chase Boat Board – Gary Reimer
3 Replace Garbage Enclosure Board
4 Reroof Shed and Head with Metal Roof Board – Gary Reimer
5 Obtain Boat Hoist and Install on Pad Gary Reimer
6 Rebuild Steps to Upper Lot Board and YM
7 Replace Grill Alan Cannon
8 Build Sunfish Roof and Racks Need a plan for this
9 Cut Down Tree behind Head – Need Equipment for this Board – maybe Rob H or Hire Out
10 Re Gravel Yard Yardmaster to Hire Out