The boy they called Rocket had become a victim of the absent wind.
The young sailor, a participant in the Augusta Sailing Club's youth camp last week, earned his nickname for his speed.
But as a group of white sails moved slowly across Clarks Hill Lake toward a swimming hole, Rocket had missed the wind and veered significantly off course.
One of the three motorboats manned by the camp's sailing instructors puttered alongside, and instructor Kim Hines delivered Rocket instructions using a red bullhorn.
Hines succeeded in getting Rocket pointed in the right direction, but the lack of wind kept him a good bit off the pace of his fellow campers.
"For a lot of them, a light wind is harder," Hines said. "It takes a lot of patience."
Nicknames were popular among the young campers. There was a tandem known as Ham and Cheese. Ten-year-old Ben Crabtree, from Athens, Ga., answers to Barracuda.
Twenty-two campers participated in the camp from June 22 through June 26. The Augusta Sailing Club has two week-long camps remaining of its six being held this summer.
The majority of campers this past week had already participated in one of the previous sessions.
Each week starts with classroom instruction, and the students then move to the beach to practice what they've learned before hitting the water.
Once in the water, campers must pass a capsize drill a short distance from the shore. The boats are intentionally tipped, and campers are required to right their small Sunfish boats.
"The whole idea is for them to be comfortable in the boat and relax," said Jim Holder, who has taught sailing 40 years. "Once we achieve that, the sailing is easy."
Holder likened the first two days on the water to "herding cats." The campers were all over the water as they worked to master the basics.
By Wednesday, the majority of the boats were grouped and headed toward the same destination -- a beach front where lunch and swimming awaited.
Crabtree, who was staying with his grandparents while visiting from Athens, was learning to sail for the first time. He said the toughest part was pulling in the main sheet and avoiding the boom.
Fail to avoid the boom, and "You just get a red mark on your head," Crabtree said.
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