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Developing Keelboat Skills Among Youth Sailors

Published on April 29th, 2016

Much has been said recently about the lack of young talent in big-boat sailing these days, and how the growth and popularity of junior sailing programs that focus on dinghy sailing may have inadvertently helped to cause this gap to develop in a young sailor’s skills.

The Chesapeake Station of the Storm Trysail Club will attempt to bridge this gap in announcing it will offer B3, a Basic Big Boat Course for Junior Sailors, to be held June 22 at Annapolis Yacht Club in Annapolis, MD.

Modeled on Storm Trysail’s well-developed Junior Safety at Sea course, B3 is a unique program designed for junior sailors ages 12-18 that offers a full day of classroom, shoreside, and on-water instruction from experienced offshore sailors on the proper techniques of big-boat boat handling and safety principles and protocols.

It is preferred that attendees have some sailing experience on either dinghy’s, keel boats or offshore boats, but its not necessary to have racing experience.

Attendees will receive classroom instruction on the importance of safe practices in big boat sailing, when to apply them, and an overview of the safety gear and other equipment used when sailing on big boats. Then a hands-on demonstration will be given on use of flares, life rafts and other safety-related equipment.

The participants will then be divided into teams to inspect, rig up, and ready an offshore-capable big-boat for an afternoon of sailing which includes learning safe boat handling practices, simple piloting and navigation, proper radio and GPS use, sail trim and helming, and conducting man-overboard drills.

The afternoon session concludes with a fun race between all the boats where a simple course is laid out and each entry must conduct a man overboard exercise before finishing. The purpose of this is to teach juniors the various positions on the crew of a big boat and how to organize themselves into a coherent team that can work together in real time.

Participants will receive certification of course completion from US Sailing, as well as an opportunity to participate in Eastport YC’s Boomerang Race on Saturday, July 9th, where a special division of junior teams will race on the Bay overnight and put their offshore skills to the test.

Veteran offshore racer and Washington Post America’s Cup journalist Angus Phillips will give a keynote talk to the group on both the inspiration and importance of offshore sailing to build a junior sailor’s interest in sailing for life. Phillips says “Every kid sailing dinghy’s in the harbor yearns to take his or her skills offshore, where nature awaits unfiltered. The B3 seminar is a vital first step.”

Safety at Sea informationB3 information and registration

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