Youth Sailors Explore the Bay

Youth Sailors Explore Bay in Joint Program

As published in Newport Daily News 

NEWPORT, RI (August 6, 2013) - In a joint program between two area non-profit organizations, Sail Newport and Save the Bay this week, young students are learning how to sail and about the Narragansett Bay marine environment.

Sail Newport’s one-week youth keelboat sailing program, for students aged 11 – 16 years-old, is the basis for the joint program. Made possible from a grant from the 11th Hour Foundation, Sail Newport invited Save The Bay to lead the exploration of the coastal environment along with the sailing lessons.  The $7,500 grant from the 11th Hour Foundation will help to partially subsidize expenses for the program for both non-profit organizations.

The flagship exploration vessel Alletta Morris will be docked at Sail Newport in Fort Adams this week as the ocean classroom.  The flagship education vessel for Save The Bay is a 45’ custom boat which was designed by Barrington’s Dave Bonney and build locally at the Newport Shipyard in 2001.

Eric Pfirrmann, fleet captain for Save The Bay, and a longtime local sailor, says that the goal for the joint program is to teach young sailors about what is on and below the surface of Narragansett Bay.

“It’s something to know how to sail, but we also want the kids to appreciate what they’re sailing on and through. It’s a wonderful and unique eco-system and the appreciation of is adds to the whole experience of sailing.”

Twenty-four students will sail on Sail Newport’s new fleet of J22 sailboats and alternate mornings and afternoons on the sailboat with sessions on the Alletta Morris. Activities during the marine education sessions include sampling, water measurements, catch and release netting, microscopic exploration of life in the water and observation of the marine environment.

The sailing lessons will teach basic boat handling, points of sail, safety and teamwork onboard Sail Newport’s new fleet of J/22s. The intermediate sailing students learn more advanced sail trim, work with spinnakers and experience racing technique. 

Sail Newport Program Director Kim Hapgood says, “Our goal is to expand the sailors’ awareness of the marine environment from both above and below the surface.”

“Although the students will all advance their sailing skills, they will leave the program with a fundamental awareness of what inhabits the Bay and how important it is to respect and preserve our water and shore,” Hapgood adds.

Juniors Race Next Week

The largest youth sailing event of the season takes place next week at Sail Newport with the NBYA Junior Race Week and USA Junior Olympics Sailing Festival.  Junior Race Week is organized by the Narragansett Bay Yachting Association (NBYA) and its Junior Sailing Program, in association with US Sailing and Sail Newport.

Organizers anticipate that well over 100 boats will register for the event from many areas in Southeastern New England.  Racing starts on Monday and continues through Wednesday.

Invited classes, for youth sailors ranging in age from eight to 17 years-old include Optimist, Club 420 and Laser classes.

Race officials from Ida Lewis Yacht Club and Newport Yacht Club will work in partnership with NBYA and Sail Newport to run racing. The youngest sailors in the Optimist Green Fleet will race between Rose and Goat Islands.  The more advanced racers will be located on a race course in the Potter Cove area off the Jamestown Shore.  For more information, visit: www.nbya.org or www.sailnewport.org

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