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Summer sail classes get underway

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Josh Panek (right) helps sailing student Gabby Wilson, 16, to shore at the conclusion of the first day of a youth sailing camp at the College of The Albemarle sailing center off Riverside Avenue, Monday. The camp is being offered by River City Community Sailing.

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By Chris Day
Multimedia Editor

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Saturday was a nice day for sailing on the Pasquotank River. For Lydia Kuehnert, Saturday was an even nicer day to learn how to sail.

Kuehnert, 22, was among about six adults taking advantage of sailing lessons offered by River City Community Sailing, a local organization that aims to provide affordable lessons on the fundamentals of sailing. The group’s founder, Elizabeth City resident Carol Terryberry, was busy helping students launch their small sailboats from a beach at the College of The Albemarle sailing center off Riverside Avenue.

Saturday’s class began at 2 p.m. with about a 15-minute classroom lesson that familiarized students with the basics of sailing, such as the points on a boat and where to sit. If 15 minutes doesn’t seem like much time, there’s a reason for that, as Terryberry explained.

“I keep it limited to 15 minutes because sailing is best learned hands-on,” she said.

Most of the students had some experience sailing, but Kuehnert said she was entirely new to the wind-powered adventure.

“I thought it would be a really cool thing to do,” said Kuehnert, who is an aviation science student at Elizabeth City State University. “I love being on the water.”

Kuehnert is attending ECSU from her hometown near Asheville in the western part of the state.

When it was time for the students to get underway, Terryberry assigned them a boat and appointed two to three experienced sailors to go with them. While some of the experienced sailors were adults, a handful also were high school age teens who have considerable sailing experience. Terryberry calls her young instructors her “ambassadors.”

On Monday, 28 students ages 8 to 16 got started in one of several youth sailing camps, also offered this summer by River City Community Sailing, Terryberry said.

Parents can choose to send their children to camp for one week, but Terryberry recommends the longer two-week camp so children get more exposure to the fundamentals of sailing.

The camp also is conducted at the COA boating facility off Riverside Avenue.

One of the young campers Monday was 8-year-old Cam Jones, of Elizabeth City. He had never sailed before but he enjoys being in the water, particularly swimming at the YMCA.

"I thought it was fun until my brother almost capsized us," Cam said of his first day of camp.

He also learned the points of a boat and some basic knot tying skills.

The camp begins each afternoon at 2 p.m. and runs until about 5 p.m. to take advantage of the best times for wind on the Pasquotank River.

River City Community Sailing will offer another adult sailing class on July 13 and again on Aug. 17.

The next youth sailing camp starts July 8. According to the group's website, the camp costs $150 for one week, and $275 for the two-week camp.

For more information about the program, visit River City Community Sailing online at rivercitycommunitysailing.com.

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