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Columbia Sailing Club Offers Youth Camps On Lake Murray

Learning to Sail Boosts Self-Confidence In An Active, Fun Way

Columbia Sailing Club is located right at the dam on Lake Murray. With its bright blue roof, everyone sees it, but many do not really know what it is.

As a nonprofit members-only sailing club, Columbia Sailing Club has a mission to educate adults and children on the joys of sailing and water safety. Through its summer camp for junior sailors, the club offers sailing fun and education for children ages 7 to 17.

From June 14 - July 30, the club offers six summer camp sessions to fit your junior sailor’s skill level and schedule. The full-day one-week sessions are open to the public and participants are not required to be a club member or even own a boat.

With classes for all experience levels, ages 7-17, a fleet of club-owned Optimist, Club 420’s and Open Skiffs, catamarans and paddle boards, this is the perfect summer to start or expand your sailing adventures.

"Sailing is a great activity for kids because they can have fun outside while secretly putting math and science skills to use through points of sail, wind direction and tacking angles," said David Van Cleef, sailing director. "Sailing also builds confidence as kids learn to steer their boats around the lake independently."

Each session is limited with a student/coach ratio of 4:1 so sailors can enjoy a more personalized learning experience.

At the camps, children not only have a great time with hands-on instruction but learn safety and boater safety. After finishing the first camp, many kids sign up for a second course.

Youth Summer Camps

Beginner Optimist Session: (Ages 7 – 15 or less than 110lbs)

This course will teach the basics of rigging a boat, basic boat handling, sailing fundamentals, seamanship, sportsmanship, and water safety. Instruction is done in club-owned single sailor Optimists. Sailors learn the basics of steering, trimming the sail, and balancing the boat in an exciting, hands-on way.

Beginner Club 420 (Ages 12 – 17 and 110lbs +):

This course is for older and larger sailors who are new to sailing, or younger sailors with some experience but who are new to the 420. The course includes basics of rigging a 420, basic boat handling, seamanship, sportsmanship, and water safety.

Adventure Sailing (Ages 12-17):

This course will explore navigation, boat mechanics, environmental awareness, and students will take sailboat trips to local points of interest. This class is perfect for the child that loves the water and experiencing it in a variety of ways.

Intermediate Optimist/Open Skiff (Ages 7-15 or less than 150lbs):

This course is for sailors who have completed the Beginner Optimist Course and want to continue their progression. Instruction is done in club-owned Optimists and Open Skiff sailboats with one sailor per boat  to better prepare sailors for the Advanced Optimist/Open Bic programs and future sailing.

"Sailing camp is different from other camps because it is an activity that will last a lifetime and is practiced around the world at various levels," Van Cleef said. "We provide a high instructor to student ratio and really try to get to know the campers so we can customize each week for the best experience."

Visit the 'Junior Sailing' tab at columbiasailingclub.org, contact the Sailing Director at sailingdirector@columbiasailingclub.org or (803) 764-6065.

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