Youths Sail Away with Corsica River Yacht Club

Established in 1937, Corsica River Yacht Club (CRYC) is the only place in this area offering youth sailing classes. Easily accessible to Queen Anne’s County residents, CRYC classes take place just outside Centreville at Ship Point, on the Corsica River near Conquest Beach.

More than a simple summer camp activity, CRYC offers comprehensive sailing instruction to children ages 6 to 16. The classes are broken into two age groups. Peewee Boating familiarizes 6 to 8-year-olds with paddling, rowing and sailing dinghies. The instruction is geared toward building confidence in the water, according to Linda Bailey, CRYC Sailing Program Administrator.

Peewee sessions run for three hours and are broken into morning or afternoon groups. Class sizes are limited to ensure safety. This also allows children to enjoy the most hands-on participation. Each class has three instructors working with the kids. 

The Junior Sailing Program offered to 9 to 16-year-olds, takes youths from any sailing level and broadens their knowledge, skill and confidence. Participants learn how to successfully rig a boat, capsize the vessel and right it, and principles of sailing such as knot tying and wind direction. First timers will learn the basics in a hands-on program aboard Optimist class dinghies.

The Optimist is the international standard in junior instruction. The boat’s simplicity and stability make it ideal for teaching young beginners, while the popularity of the Optimist class makes the boat extremely challenging for pre-teen racers. Experienced sailors will enhance and refine their skills in Optimists and the double-handed 420s. Double-handed boats give youth sailors the chance to master valuable spinnaker, trapeze and teamwork skills that single-handed boats do not. 

Juniors also learn how to compete in sailing races. Participants are invited to compete in the junior regatta held by CRYC in July. In the junior sessions, younger participants might be paired up with older ones, to encourage mentoring. Once again, class sizes are limited to allow a three-to-one instructor/student ratio.

Head Instructor, Genna Del Puppo is a graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland where she started out racing “Big Boats” and then joined the Dinghy Team. She currently teaches at Montessori School in Bowie, Maryland. “We value her experience with children,” says Linda. 

All the instructors are certified by US Sailing, the national governing body for the sport of sailing. They will be instructing from the “Start Sailing Right!” manual, which is the national standard for quality sailing instruction.

For safety reasons, all participants are required to wear life vests whenever they are on the water. “Instructors wear them as well,” says Linda. Participants are also asked to bring sunscreen, a bag lunch, drinks, water shoes, towel, sunglasses, hat, binder and pencils for note taking and a bailer – to bail water out of the boat. 

“The kids have a wonderful time,” says Linda. “Where we live, it would be a crime not to at least try sailing.” In addition to lessons in sailing, the programs promote sportsmanship, teamwork and communication skills.

Adult classes are available for 17-year-olds and older. There are still openings for some sessions. For more information, contact Linda at 410-827-0946 or visit www.CRYC.org.

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