With sails hoisted and the wind at 4 knots, children in water shoes and life jackets enjoy one of the area’s unique summer camps.
Seven weeks out of the summer, the Augusta Sailing Club holds a junior sailing camp at Clark Hill Lake. Jim Holder, director of the camp, said any apprehension a camper has about sailing disappears on the first day.
“Once we get them here, they want to come back every week,” he said. “Every year, this is the favorite camp.”
The alternative summer camp lasts Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Holder said campers are confidently sailing by themselves on Wednesday and by the end of the week are sailing one-person boats, called sunfishes, for three hours around the lake.
Before hitting the water, campers familiarize themselves with parts of the boat and learn about different nautical terms, such as “hiking out,” a technique of leaning into the wind to keep the boat from leaning into the water. Campers also do capsizing drills, Holder said, in which they learn and practice how to turn their boat upright.
Campers learn about more than sailing, however.
“Respect and discipline are two things they leave here with,” Holder said. “Respect for Mother Nature, respect for equipment, and respect for their fellow competitors. Sailing is a very disciplined sport because things change so quickly. They’ve got to be concentrating all the time.”
Liberty Moultrie, 14, has been sailing for seven years and said she uses the lessons she learns on the water in her life on dry land.
“I’ve learned to respect others around me,” she said. “And I’ve also learned that the more you communicate with people, the better you are as a person.”
Sail camp limits registration to 23 to 25 students each week. The cost is $225 for Augusta Sailing Club members and $250 for nonmembers.