For the past few weeks, East Boston students have been extending their time and access to the Boston Harbor through Piers Park Sailing Center (PPSC) after school sailing program.
The program returned to the Sailing Center in 2017 after a seven-year hiatus and has been thriving ever since.
Executive Director Alex DeFronzo said the Sailing After School is well underway and the wind and weather have been great for the students that will participate in the program through October.
“The program started Sept. 9, and runs through Oct. 17, with 48 students participating in two sessions, each three weeks long,” said DeFronzo. “All students currently enrolled in the program are from Eastie or Chelsea, and many of them come to the park early to finish homework before hitting the seas and learning the art and science of sailing. There are still a few spots in Session 3 which starts Oct. 9.”
DeFronzo said Sailing After School is open to students between the ages of 10-18 and is a great time for students to advance their sailing skills. DeFronzo said students sail in the inner harbor and out as far as Spectacle and Long Islands to learn how to tack, jibe, heave-to, recover a man overboard, and more. The program is also a great opportunity for youth instructors to stay involved and continue to work for a couple hours each day during the school year.
“I first learned to sail in the Sailing After School program at PPSC 18 years ago, and it is my favorite because of how much the kids are able to learn in just three short weeks,” said DeFronzo.
This year the Sailing Center added an extra feature to the fall sailing programs.
“A Boat Bus has been added by PPSC to transport six East Boston students that go to the Eliot School in the North End,” explained DeFronzo. “Each day they walk to Lovejoy Wharf and are picked up by PPSC boat at 3:20 p.m. to make it back to Sailing After School on time. The idea came from the Holt family, and the coordination of the Holts, Del Razos, Hamweys, and Muneras families has made for a successful new form of water transportation.”
The Sailing After School program is one of two fall programs PPSC was able to bring back two years ago. The other program, the East Boston High School Racing Team, also started back up after being absent from the sailing center for a few years.
PPSC has been a community treasure since opening in the late 1990s. A new board and leadership team established in 2017 was able to successfully raise the needed funds to keep PPSC going after some financial hardships in 2016.
Those interested in the after school sailing program should visit https://piersparksailing.org/after-school-registration for more information and to register.