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Sailing takes them away

July 16, 2004

Jeff Benson

Thirty-five kids sat in groups of three aboard 14-foot Lido dinghies

Thursday. The kids were being exceptionally patient at the time, but

their teachers suspected that if the wind didn't start blowing soon,

they might start getting jumpy.

Instructor Colleen Harber said kids need to move around about as

much as sailboats need wind.

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Instead, the kids and their sailing instructors reached a

compromise. A larger boat would tow them to Lido Island, where they'd

swim around and play for a while in hopes that the Newport breeze

would bring them back.

Suddenly, the kids' love of sailing drifted way up.

Orange Coast College's School of Sailing and Seamanship is

offering beginning and intermediate sailing classes for children 7 to

13 through Sept. 3. The classes are designed with fun in mind, but

they allow children with little or no sailing experience to learn

basic terminology and skills to become worthy shipmates.

"We offer more individual time than the yacht clubs, which focus

more on racing," Harber said. "I wanted more organizational stuff. We

teach a lot of teamwork, because that's what you need in the

workplace and for college. Most of the time, you can't choose who you

work with."

Kids learn how to hoist sails and tie knots, as well as other

docking and sailing skills. Instructors even teach kids, barely three

feet tall, the easiest ways to right their boats should they capsize.

"We start with what we call 'chalk talks,' which is terminology

and things they need to know," instructor Gary Rozar said. "We always

make it fun for them, but safety is most important."

Newport Beach's Daniel Ross, 7, called it "the funnest camp I've

ever gone to so far," and added that he especially enjoyed the

capsizing segment.

"At first, I was really scared, but then I did it three more

times," Daniel said. "I got used to it. It was the fun part."

Mary Ella Wood and Katherine Scavo, both 11 and from Newport

Beach, rode in the same boat. Mary Ella, like Daniel, said it was the

best summer camp she'd ever been to, and her friend nodded in

agreement.

"My favorite part is being on the water and being able to sail,"

Katherine said. "After this camp, I'll want this as my hobby."

The two-week beginning courses are $235 and will be offered from

8:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. July 19 through July 30 and Aug. 16 through

Aug. 27. The intermediate courses are $160 and run from 1 to 4:45

p.m. July 19 through July 23, Aug. 2 through Aug. 6, and Aug. 30

through Sept. 3. All courses are held at the Orange Coast College

School of Sailing and Seamanship, 1801 W. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach.

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