We really have a great thing going here at PYC — great location, beautiful lake, variable winds, a pretty long sailing season, lots of friendly folks, etc, etc... Sailing is a great sport for all ages. However, school sports teams and lots of other popular “distractions” are keeping younger families away from sailing. The fact is that they are missing out on a great sport that can be shared with kids, grandkids, parents and grandparents. Not many a sport has that going for it!
PYC is building on the family attraction of sailing - all kinds of sailing, from racing to cruising. Take a keelboat large enough to get two or three generations on board, and it can be a lot of fun! And when it comes to racing, kids love to compete, and parents love to see them compete. We’ve had McCallie, GPS and Baylor schools bringing students out for years of Junior Sail Camps. Kids from many other schools attend, also. PYC owns 16 Opti’s and 10 Fusions that are used for Sail Camps full of kids 8-17 years old. But what do they do after the age of 17? And what do they sail? Until recently, we haven’t had a fleet of training boats for the step up out of Lasers that could be used for team competition.
PYC member Jonathan Few is a graduate student at UTC, and around campus he started talking up the idea of a UTC Sailing Club. Now there’s a core group of 8 or 10 UTC sailors regularly visiting PYC, and some of them are quite experienced. One is even a US Sailing Level One Certified Instructor. They have already been competing in out-of-town collegiate regattas.
It is our hope to expand the program to include other local college and high school sailing clubs, so that ultimately we can host local and regional ICSA (Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association) or ISSA (Interscholastic Sailing Association) sailing regattas. We also hope that these college age Junior sailors will have positive experiences at PYC and ultimately make sailing a part of their lives. Sailing is a skill they will never forget, like riding a bike. And even if they get away from it for a while, they can always return and share it with their children.
We now have three 19 foot Flying Scots in our Club Sailboat fleet, and they are already being used intensively for Adult Learn to Sail as well as pleasure sailing by adults, young and old. Our Adult Learn to Sail program put 12 students through the most recent semester of Sail Training, and more are already signed up for next semester.
So many of us are sailors at PYC because of sailing experiences we had as kids, as teens and in college. We hope to give great sailing experiences like those we had to today’s youth. It’s a whole lot of fun seeing these young people enjoy sailing!
College Competitive Sailing
UTC Sailing got its start in 2011. About ten University of Tennessee at Chattanooga students began to frequent PYC, volunteering to crew in keel boat races and getting to know the members of PYC. Several of the students signed up as "Junior" members of PYC and gained access to the Club Sailboats. Jonathan Few, a PYC Family member and UTC graduate student was the sparkplug who got this whole thing moving. PYC Board member Josh Landers joined in the action and began sailing with the students. Annie Peretz, another UTC student and U.S. Sailing Level One Certified Instructor got to work showing other students the basics and some of the finer points of competitive sailing. Excitement was growing! Then Mike Seeber, another PYC Family member, orchestrated the purchase of eight Flying Junior Sailboats for Competitive Collegiate Sailing. And Eddie Graham, PYC Dockmaster, gathered a work crew and built a Dinghy Deck that provides easy access to the harbor for the FJ's.
If you are a UTC student and interested in a sport that can last a lifetime and span the generations, come on out to PYC and join the fun! Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org