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Youth Sailing Program Starts In Oriental
Kids 7-15 learning to sail
June 4, 2008

im Edwards wondered why the Sailing Capital of North Carolina didn’t have a sailing school for kids. It was a good question. And less than a year after he started asking it, Oriental has a summer day camp where children can learn to sail.

Jim Edwards, on the day the Youth Sailing Program boats were christened.
The Bow to Stern Youth Sailing Program kicks off on Monday June 9th, for the first of 10 week-long sessions. Students, ages 7-15 will learn to sail on Optimist dinghies on the waters of Greens and Smith Creeks as well as the Neuse. It’s a not-for-profit venture that Edwards will run out of his Bow To Stern yacht brokerage.

The Optimist dinghies awaiting the young sailing students sport shiny paint jobs, spanking white sails and freshly varnished rudders. But beyond the sum of those parts, they are the labors of love. Or rather, loves.

One third of the woodworking crew that built the dinghies.
Most of the dinghies were made over the winter by a group of 18 Oriental-area residents with a love of woodworking or sailing, or both. They figure they put in 1300 man-hours making the Optimist hulls. Three of them, John Burritt, Doug Sligh and Tom Lathrop collectively worked 600 hours on the boats.

All of the efforts were on display during a dedication ceremony in Grace Evans’ yard on Sunday June 1st.

The christening ceremony was led by Captain Larry Walker.
Given that this was a children’s sailing program, Canada Dry seltzer water stood in for champagne for the christening. Reverend Jeremiah Day of St. Thomas Episcopal Church led the blessing of the fleet.
A moment of prayer.
At the dedication ceremony and later at a gathering at the Silos Restaurant, Jim Edwards spoke about the collaborative effort that came forth after he posted a notice in TownDock about wanting to start a sailing school for kids.

Kaylin Delisle and her older sister, Alivia, start to christen “Bashful”, the boat sponsored by their parents’ Silos Restaurant.

It was Doug Sligh, Edwards said, who suggested that the woodworkers could make the boats rather than incurring the cost of buying Optimists. Ross Pease then rigged the boats, and Wayne Lamm’s sign business provided the lettering, with Jimmie Smith’s Provision Company providing bits and parts at cost. About ten other people painted the hulls. (SailCraft’s boat was painted by the crew at Alan Arnfast’s shop, and the gloss of the finish, Edwards says, prompted some to think the boat was fiberglass rather than wood.)

John Burritt and Tom Lathrop christen “Sleepy”, the boat sponsored by Whittaker Pointe Marina.

Edwards also praised Pamlico Home Builders in Bayboro. When he called to describe the project and discuss buying lumber to build a boat rack, he was asked only where he wanted it delivered. The Rotary Club of Oriental will build the rack in Grace Evans’ yard, putting the dinks within easy dollying distance of the kayak and sailboat launch across the Wildlife Ramp parking lot.


About a dozen businesses in the area came forward with still more money to defray the costs. Their names line the sides of the boats. George and Sherri Homme donated the funds for the safety boat, to be named Stefan’s Spirit, for Stefan Homme.

Three friends, Geoff Hollings, Hank Metzger and Bill Bullard are sponsors of the boat, Three Muskateers. Geoff contributed a teak dinghy to a raffle that raised money for 5 scholarships.

And given the mission of teaching as many children to sail as possible, other contributors have helped build up a kitty for scholarships for those children whose parents cannot afford the $200-per-week camp.

“We have scholarship money,” Edwards said Sunday, emphasizing that he didn’t want the cost to be an obstacle. “We are looking for kids who want to sail,” he said. “Any child who wants to do it, can. “

Caption 1: Susy Smith with Dopey.
Caption 2: Susy and Jimmy Smith with the light green boat that the Provision Company sponsored for the Youth Sailing Program. Jim Edwards who runs the program says his daughters thought up the idea of giving 7 of the boats the names of Snow White’s dwarves. Were the names given randomly?

Already, 20 children have taken part in “Capsize Clinics” using a few of the dinghies in the more controlled environment of the Village Club pool. Many of them, Edwards said, “had never been in a boat before.” For a few hours they practiced righting a boat and then were “scooting down the pool” and taking part in relays.

And starting Monday, they’ll be learning in more detail about the very thing that has brought so many people to Oriental.

The bows.

Edwards says he has 8 students lined up for one week, and 6 for another and that he has been getting calls from parents who found that other sailing programs in Beaufort were filled up. And he’s looking forward to getting still more students, either from here in Pamlico County, or children from away.

The sterns.

Those interested in signing up children 7-15 for the Bow to Stern Youth Sailing Program may contact Jim Edwards at 252-474-6000 or email – BowToSternYachts@aol.com for more information.

This year’s Green’s Creek Challenge may just have more competitors and maybe, just maybe, the graduates of the Youth Sailing Program may help lower the average age of sailors here.

More photos of the Optimists are on Page Three.


Sterns of part of the fleet.

Here are some more of the boats in the fleet.

“Sneezy”, the boat sponsored by Deaton’s .
“Happy”, sponsored by Oriental’s School of Sailing
SailCraft Service’s boat, “Doc” and its high-gloss paint job.

Posted Wednesday June 4, 2008 by Melinda Penkava

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