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Youth Sailing Update: Byte This!

Updated: May 6

When you set out to build something special, oftentimes it ends up looking nothing like the initial visions, nor like the first versions. That is precisely what is happening with Anderson Island Youth Sailing.


a sailboat sailing with exuberant kids on board
Making our way to Blake Island in 2022! (Photo by Jan Anderson - Jan's Marine Photography)

The initial thought, a few years back now, was... "Let's take the kids sailing!", and that is what we did. Sure, they learned some things along the way, such as Hide & Seek is not a game made for a 30' sailboat and 8 hours on a sailboat is a long day, as beautiful as that day may be. Sure, they also got the opportunity to pull lines and steer, as well as visit some really neat places that most kids do not get the chance to see in such a cool way. However, circumstances being what they are and not what they were, that initial vision has evolved now into... "Let's TEACH the kids sailing!".


The support from the folks with Anderson Island Parks & Rec, as well as everyone who contributes to that organization's efforts, has been the real catalyst for Anderson Island Youth Sailing from the start. Beyond just paying for the island kids to participate in the program, they have provided a solid foundation for which we will continue to build upon into the future.


With the help of A.I.P.R.D., we recently purchased 6 complete 12' Byte Sailboats from the Bruce Haulman Junior Sailing Program of Vashon Island, and were graciously gifted a 7th hull. On two different occasions, myself and a couple of Parks Board Members travelled to Quartermaster Yacht Club (Vashon Island) to pick up the boats.


byte sailboats on trailer
John Larsen assisted on the final adventure to Vashon Island. Kurt & Lane Sample made the first trek with me.


The Byte is 12 ft (3.7 m) long, 4 ft 3 in (1.30 m) wide and roughly 100 pounds (45 kg). The hull is composed of glass reinforced polyester and foam sandwich. The Byte is designed for sailors weighing 120 to 145 lb (54 to 66 kg) although most sailors weighing 90 to 160 lb (41 to 73 kg) should have no problems sailing this boat on a recreational basis. The Byte sail size is only 58 square feet (5.4 square metres) making it the ideal boat for those sailors who enjoy the independence and simplicity of a cat rigged boat, such as the Laser, but who are not strong or heavy enough to control a large sail.

(courtesy wikipedia)



Over the next couple of weeks, myself and some of our already emerging volunteers will set up each boat to determine what we should upgrade, such as new blocks and lines, to ensure the fleet is safe for sailing. These boats are not new, but they are in great shape, and will last a long time with the proper care. We are forever grateful to Jeff Chale and the entire Junior Sailing Program up on Vashon Island.


You cannot teach sailing without instructors, so that is another phase of preparedness that we are navigating. At a recent Parks Board Meeting, I was able to share what I thought we needed to focus on first and foremost, and getting trained and certified instructors was tops on the list. Our instructors will be required to complete the US Sailing Level 1 Small Boat Instructor Course, which includes an online self-guided portion, Teaching & Coaching Fundamentals (online), SafeSport Training (online Sexual Misconduct & Reporting training), and the In-Person 3 day portion. More information, including cost, for this course can be found by clicking this link.


Want to be an instructor? Anyone interested in becoming an instructor should contact me directly at (360)489-7476 or by emailing me at CaptainCorey76@gmail.com There may be opportunities to have some of the above costs covered for anyone serious about the program.


Want to help, but not interested in being an instructor? We will be needing many more volunteers to help make this program a success for our island youth. This includes everything from helping with boat maintenance to helping organize kids and parents on shore while instructors teach, as well as assisting in fundraising efforts and admin type stuff. If you are interested in volunteering in any form or fashion, contact myself or Lane Sample. Her email is LSample@andersonislandparks.org



The Rest of the 411


While we put our collective focus to those tasks directly in front of us, here's the rest of what we have determined thus far:


  • The program will kick off in the Summer of 2025. As you see, we need the time.

  • The most likely age for kids participating in the Youth Sailing Program will be between the ages of 7-18, with Youth Instructor opportunities beginning at 16.

  • The program, in whatever shape it takes, will be held on Lake Josephine. Access will be at Interlachen Park. Yes, we have discussed this with the Riviera CC already and have full support.

  • WE NEED A CHASE BOAT! Being on Lake Josephine, we have to be creative & electric. This boat needs to be able to hold two people minimum, an instructor and an operator. It also needs to be able to move at a decent speed. Not fast, but not putt-putt. Please bring all ideas to the table on this subject. My contact info resides above.

In closing, I want to thank you for taking the time to read this. As we move forward with this program, I continue to find myself PINCHING myself just to know that this really is real. We ARE doing this for the kids of Anderson Island! Thank you Islanders for helping make that a fact!


Your Captain,

Corey



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