ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — As with most life experiences, it takes time for things to come full circle. That is the case this summer with the Point Yacht Club and the City of Orange Beach.
In late 2003, the Point Yacht Club (PtYC) voted to turn its youth sailing program, Sail Camp, over to the city’s Parks & Recreation Department. The club’s hope with that move was to help the program grow so that more youth could be exposed to sailing and ultimately advance the sport along Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
Since 2004 the program has grown and expanded under the city’s direction. Since 2004 and including this summer almost 1,300 children have learned to sail during the program.
This year marks the 10th year of the city running Sail Camp and it is also significant as the city celebrated the opening of the new Wind & Water Learning Center, located on Wolf Bay directly behind the Orange Beach Library and now the permanent home for Sail Camp. Construction of the building was made possible by contributions & donations from the community making it a unique public/private partnership.
With Sail Camp finally having a home base, the Point Yacht Club felt it was time to make the next contribution by adding to the fleet of vessels available for training. The club has donated two boats to the city’s program, a 19’ Flying Scot and Capri 14.2 and has also put on loan a second club owned Scot for the program.
The addition of these larger vessels gives the Wind & Water Learning Center more opportunities for training and as stated in the Club’s donation letter.
“It is a goal of PtYC to promote sailing as a recreational activity and sail boat racing as a competitive sport,” the letter said. “It is our hope that the program will be extended to include sailing Flying Scots with the intention of developing sailors who our Club can sponsor in Gulf Yachting Association (GYA) competitive events.”
PtYC hosts many events each season. The group has four club races and two GYA sanctioned regattas, Fast Women in July and Lost Bay Regatta in October as well as raft-ups and parties. The club currently has 90 member families and is committed to giving its members a reason to get out on the water.
More information on the club is available at www.pointyachtclub.org
Wind & Water Learning Center staff has already started using one of the Flying Scot’s and are ecstatic to have a bigger vessel to challenge their more experienced students.
Now that Sail Camp is over for the summer, Wind & Water Learning Center Coordinator Caroline Harris will be developing programming that will include the larger vessels and also offer students more extended training opportunities.
The ultimate goal for the new facility will be to have various water training available March - October.
For more information and to see what’s available at the WWLC, visit www.obparksandrec.com or give Caroline a call at 251-974-7245.