BAY HEAD — Bay Head Elementary School fourth-graders headed over to the Bay Head Yacht Club on Monday afternoon to commence a new club aimed at instilling a love of sailing in the young students.
“For quite a few years, the Bay Head School has been using our tennis courts to practice and for their matches,” general manager, Holly Bilotti, told The Ocean Star. “We were thinking about a way to extend access to the other side of the club for an opportunity for the students to have an introduction to sailing and boating.
“The initiative is being supported by some very enthusiastic members, so there is funding for the program for two years. We are excited to inspire some young children to be future sailors. Boating is definitely a skill that you have for life.”
On May 24, more than a dozen students engaged in several aspects of sailing. Among topics discussed included boating safety and the importance of wearing a lifejacket; terminology such as starboard and port; and students even got firsthand experience learning the different parts of an Opti [a small, single-handed sailing dinghy], including the hull, mast, sail and center board.
“It is exciting to have you here … it gives us a lot of time to learn and you will be sailing pros by the end of this,” sailing coach Jason Lutz told the students.
“Here at Bay Head Yacht Club, which was founded in 1888, the primary goal has been to get people out on the water, specifically in sailboats. The best part of sailing is, you don’t have to race, but it is a skill that you get to enjoy for the rest of your life.”
Ms. Bilotti spoke about the future of the sailing club and the many other things students will learn and engage with over the next few weeks.
“We’re excited to see where this leads and hopefully based on the success of this introduction this spring, our goal is to bring it back in the fall and certainly for many seasons to come,” she said.
“In addition to boat safety they will go over a few different knot ties, guidelines for sailing and boat safety skills and the different parts of a sailboat. Then the goal is, depending on how quickly the children pick up on these things, to get them in the water with the coaches and they’ll be able to actually pick a point to sail to. That is the goal, to get them in the boat and to feel comfortable and be able to navigate with the help of a coach in this introduction class.”
Principal Frank Camardo walked over to the yacht club with the students on Monday and heard their excitement at being able to take part in the program.
“The yacht club had reached out and asked if we would be interested in participating in a sailing club that they were starting up for the kids and so the board of education was very interested in getting this started,” he said.
This is an excerpt of the print article. For more on this story, read The Ocean Star—on newsstands Friday or online in our e-Edition.
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