Rockland Community Sailing
Spring Afterschool classes and High School team ready to sail
Rockland — Rockland Community Sailing offers mid-coast Maine youth two ways to learn to sail this spring – a High School Sailing Team program and Afterschool Sailing classes. Both start in May. Mid-coast students in grades 7-12 who are interested in racing are invited to join the High School Sailing team. Practice is held Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3-5 pm, from May 11 through June 10. Middle school students start sailing in the Afterschool Sailing Program, Monday and Wednesdays, 3-5 pm, from May 10 through June 9. Classes are held at The Apprenticeshop waterfront, 643 Main Street, (Route 1) Rockland, located across the road from Dunkin Donuts.
“Why wait until summer when you can enjoy great sailing in the spring in Maine?” says KC Heyniger, Waterfront Programs Director at Rockland Community Sailing. “The longer sunny days and warm spring breezes make ideal conditions for students to get out and mess around in sailboats,” adds Heyniger.
Afterschool sailors can learn the ropes on single person Optimist dinghies, two-person 420 sloops, and a variety of modern and traditional larger boats. Students learn to rig and sail their own boats while becoming familiar with safety, weather, tides, nautical knots, basic racing skills and other arts and crafts of seamanship. RCS sailing instructors teach from safety motor boats and are US Sailing, CPR, and First Aid Certified.
High school students interested in the fun and fast growing sport of sailing will primarily practice and race in the 15 – foot, sloop-rigged 420 dinghies. RCS offers High School sailing in both April/May and September/October seasons. This way high school sailors can play a land-sport one season and race sailboats in the other, or race in both. Along with practices, the team attends four to eight regattas each year. No experience is required to join the team.
“Racing sailboats is exciting. The agile and quick 420 sloops we use feel more like flying an airplane than floating on water,” says Heyniger. “Students enjoy making friends with teammates from other schools and racing with sailors from all over New England. It is one of the few co-ed high school sports available and many sailors continue racing for the rest of their lives,” he adds.
Practices are coached by Patrick Dilalla, former Head Instructor at RCS, and volunteer assistants. “The team includes students with many different experience levels and we all work together to improve everyone’s sailing skill,” says Dilalla. “It’s very rewarding to see students’ self confidence, responsibility, and decision-making skills improve as they develop into more accomplished sailors,” he added.
More than one hundred students from Rockland, Camden, Thomaston, and Medomak Valley schools have sailed with the team since it began in 2004. The team races against sailors from all over the northeast and travels to regattas along Maine’s coast including Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Bowdoin College in Brunswick, and Portland.
High School Sailing has existed since the 1930’s, but has experienced considerable growth in the last 30 years. The Interscholastic Sailing Association includes 350 teams nationwide. ISSA hosts national championships in both two-person and singlehanded boats. There are approximately 85 teams in New England and 15 active teams in Maine.
Rockland Community Sailing has been teaching adult and youth sailing lessons for 13 years at The Apprenticeshop (formerly Atlantic Challenge), a nonprofit school teaching traditional boatbuilding and seamanship. Since 1972, The Apprenticeshop has offered hands-on programs dedicated to inspiring personal growth through craftsmanship, community, and the traditions of the sea. Boatbuilding and sailing courses are offered throughout the year at our Rockland waterfront campus. After School classes and the High School team cost $150 per season. Youth sailing scholarships are available. Call KC Heyniger at 207-594-1800.