Thanks to a reprieve in afternoon thunderstorms, our racing team has enjoyed ample time on the water the past few weeks. They are developing tactical sailing skills and learning how to make their boats work for them in varying conditions. We were able to get our 420 sailors into a proper race boat, and they have been spending a lot of time getting comfortable sailing it together, while learning how the new boat responds to the wind.
In fact, our race team has been having so much fun, they keep showing up to sail with our recreational group every other Sunday! This gives them a chance to just enjoy sailing without having to focus too hard on “practicing.” Some even decided to try their hand at different boats like a Sunfish or Open Bic.
Speaking of recreational sailing - we had another great turnout on our last Sunday in September. The afternoon brought us a decent 10 Knot breeze out of the ENE, with minimal clouds. Our crew ranged from beginners to experienced racers. An important part of any of our sailing programs is learning how to properly rig, de-rig, and care for your sailboat and gear. And a perk of our recreational program is that our sailors have the opportunity to learn to rig a variety of boats. After rigging four Opti’s, three Open Bic’s, a Sunfish, and a 420, we set out to cross the river.
The group sailed toward the beach just east of the 59th street boat ramp. Each boat cruised at their own pace, but they all met up at the beach for a bit of a reprieve. This also provided an opportunity to practice how to slow and stop your boat in shallow waters without damaging your hull, rudder, or centerboard. From there, they set off toward a mark with the aim of rounding it, then tacked upwind in order to get back to the dock. Each boat persisted, in spite of the dying breeze, and successfully navigated their way home.
We would like to thank Cindy Fuentes, who has been volunteering on our recreational sailing days – we are so grateful to have an eager and hard-working volunteer on shore.
Also, we are beginning to utilize our new beach launch – which is still a work in progress, yet shows great promise for one day being an effective, safe, and less-prohibitive way of launching some of our larger dinghy sailboats that will not fit down our dock.
If you know a sailor that completed one of our summer learn to sail programs, or an equivalent, and would like to get involved in one of our year-round sailing programs, please contact us via email at [email protected].
The MRPF racing team kicked off the season at Sarasota Sailing Squadron’s 72nd Annual Labor Day Regatta. With a solid 12-15 knot breeze on Saturday, and thunderstorms rolling in during the 4th race, it was a thrilling day. Sunday brought lighter air and the challenge of adjusting sails and trim to compensate. The MRPF fleet was led by Isaiah Jones, Regina Rettig, and Brodie Hausman. This was Isaiah’s first race with the Blue fleet since moving up from Green fleet, and Brodie’s first regatta with the Radial Laser class. Making the switch to racing a new boat, or with a new fleet, can be daunting, so we are proud of these guys to say the least.
Isaiah and Regina raced on the same course, in separate fleets, with Isaiah finishing 10th in Blue Fleet, and Regina 5th in White Fleet. Brodie managed a 6th place finish during the regatta and landed 9th overall in the Radial Laser Fleet. All in all, a strong start to the racing season for MRPF. These sailors are putting the practice time in on the river and we look forward to seeing it continue to pay off at our next few regattas.
Additionally, we are gearing up for the kickoff of our recreational sailing season. We have a handful of returning summer camp sailors who plan to join us every other Sunday for some casual sailing. We will have a chance to sail a variety of boats, including the Opti, Laser, Sunfish, and maybe even a Windmill or 420! It is our hope to keep your sailors engaged and on the water as much as possible.
If you are interested in either our racing or recreational programs, please email [email protected] for more information.
It’s been an incredible summer here at the Manatee River Pram Fleet. Over 75 kids had the opportunity to learn to sail or improve upon their sailing skills. These sailors ranged from ages 8 to 14 and tackled everything from capsize and recovery, boat rigging and care, tying complicated knots, to sailing in light and heavy air.
The progression that takes place from learning to scull and steer the boat during the first week, to taking a parent sailing by the end of the second week is inspiring to witness. Many young skippers approach their first experience with a great deal of trepidation. Once they’ve learned how to flip and then right their boat, the confidence seems to grow by the hour. It was also a joy to see some returning sailors take their skills to the next level this summer.
Whether it was playing with jellyfish, creating knot boards on a rainy day, cooling down at the pool, or sailing and exploring the shores of the Manatee River, these kids had an unforgettable and rich experience.
While we are looking forward to next summer, in the meantime we plan to keep sailing. For those who have completed the learn to sail summer program, we will be offering both racing and recreational sailing opportunities during the fall and spring school semesters. Please email [email protected] if you are interested in getting your young sailor involved in either of these programs.
We look forward to seeing you back on the water!