Sailing Courses
Make a Good Gift Any Time of Year

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (1/10/98)
By Ray Pendleton

Last week I asked an old sailing friend of mind what he got his preteen daughter for Christmas. His answer surprised me.

"I gave her something that will last a lifetime," he said with a smile. "I enrolled her in the Junior Sailing classes at the Hawaii Yacht Club down in the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor."

"But, with your experience, why don't you teach her?" I asked.

"For the same reasons I won't teach her math, or English, or how to drive a car," he said. "I think a school environment, with her peers, is a better place to learn, and, after all, I'm a sailor, not a teacher.

"Once she has learned all the basics," he added, "she can get her blue-water experience with me."

That seemed reasonable enough, so the next question was, does she have to wait until summer to get her present?

"Oh no," my friend laughed. "The first session begins on January 20, and classes continue every Tuesday and Thursday - from 4 to 6:30 p.m. - through March 12. Then there's a second session that will go on into May."

Knowing that my friend's daughter already had some sailing experience, I asked him if she had to start at the novice level, or could she begin at her level of knowledge.

"You bet she can," he said. "The novice class is for kids with little or no sailing experience, who need to learn things like water safety, knots, sail rigging and basic small boat handling.

"My daughter will start out at the intermediate level, where they run sailing drills and various games to improve the student's sailing ability. She will also begin to learn simple racing skills.

"Once she and her instructor feel comfortable with her sailing capability, she can move up into the Racing Sailing class," my friend explained.

"That can put her into competition with junior sailors from around the state."

As my friend is not a member of the Hawaii Yacht Club, I asked how he had enrolled his daughter.

"I just called the club and talked with Scott Melander, the sailing director. He explained the classes were open to the public and the only prerequisite was the ability to swim 50 yards, tread water for one minute, and be between the ages of 8 and 18."

Now, if you are thinking that my friend's gift to his daughter is something you should have done for your child, it's not too late. Just give Melander a call at 949-7547 or 944-9666 and you too can give a present that will last a lifetime.

On the other hand, if you know an adult who could use such a present - it's one that could save a life - you might look into the U.S. Power Squadron's upcoming safe boating course.

Starting on January 19, at 7 p.m., the Honolulu unit of the Power Squadron will conduct a six-week series of Monday night classes at the Waikiki Yacht Club.

The classes - as well as home-study lessons - will cover all aspects of safe boating. Some of the topics will be: boating terminology, knot tying, power and sailboat handling, boating laws and regulations, navigation, radiotelephone procedures, and marine weather.

To register, or for more information, call Bill McGarry at 422-1963.

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