Last Thursday evening, Piers Park Sailing Center’s (PPSC) Omar Sahrour stood on the dock of the sailing center surrounded by eager sailors waiting to race.
During this captain’s meeting Sahrour was giving the group instructions and rules on the upcoming sailing race that was set to kick off.
With a marker in hand Sahrour charted the course the boats would take around the harbor and were the boundaries of the race would be set. There would be three races last Thursday, and as Sahrour finished, the captains and their crews–made up of PPSC instructors, former instructors, future leaders and summer campers–got to work preparing their sailboats for the big race.
A half hour later, the sail boats filled with the teams of sailors were off zigzagging through the harbor to line up for the start of the race.
Once the air horn sounded, the teams were off and nine sonal keelboats raced around markers set in the harbor competing in a windward-leeward course.
The weekly races are have become a staple of PPSC’s full schedule of summer activities that includes adult and youth sailing lessons, the summer long sailing summer camp that teachers Eastie youth how to sail for free, adaptive sailing for those with disabilities as well as an exciting program, ‘The Science of Sailing.’
PPSC Executive Director Alex DeFronzo said the Sailing Center hosts there races every Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“Racing helps students learn the rules of the road and sail trim,” said DeFronzo. “Thursday Night Racing is a chance for all three PPSC programs: youth, adult, and adaptive to join together in friendly competition.”
DeFronzo said all members of the community are welcome to join in and that skippers are often looking for crew to help on their boats.
“Thursday Night Racing will continue through early September, then switch to Sunday afternoons starting September 9,” he said. “We had about 40 sailors last week and if the weather conditions are good we expect to see about that many each week.”
With the summer in full swing Thursday night racing is just another way for the Sailing Center to offer more opportunities for the community to get out in the water.
“It also gives our students, instructors and future leaders a little extra practice,” said DeFronzo.
It’s during these races that students that participate in the sailing center’s ‘Science of Sailing’ day program can apply what they’ve learned during some spirited competition.
The Science of Sailing program incorporates the U.S. Sailings “REACH” curriculum, focused on teaching students the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics that are inherent to the sport of sailing
Through this program, youth learn not only the standard PPSC sailing curriculum, sailors and their team choose a module that is completed during the two-week session. Modules can focus on any of the STEM skills like wind power, upwind sailing angles, buoyancy, land vs sea breezes, and water quality testing.
For more information or to join PPSC for a race visit facebook.com/pierspark.