After working for 5 years with the Geneva Lake Sailing School I decided to run off and get married to a fellow sailor and all around rockstar Carolina Davila. We are now settling into life in Charleston South Carolina, where I'm building a new career and she is continuing hers... Prior to leaving though I received a call from Sally Lucke-Elkes who invited us to join her for a conversation about the sailing school at Pistakee Yacht Club.
Having raced on Pistakee in the C Blue Chip regatta a few times, and run a school less than 30 miles away for the previous five years I had both the interest and thought the capacity to provide my assistance. Jim Huemann, Sally and their spouses shared their passion for sailing on Pistakee, and how they really want to see the school thriving so future generations will enjoy the lake as much as they have and do. Since then Tom Kartheiser and Kathleen Winkiel have jumped on board and as a team we've worked together to create the concept of a Community Sailing Center based out of the Pistakee Yacht Club. This concept has been very successful in other corners of the country, as it breaks down the perceived exclusivity of the Yacht Club instead inviting the "Community" to get on board and out on the water.
Living in Charleston now there are 4 Yacht Clubs that serve the area, but the one organization that has grown the most and provides the widest varieties of opportunities is "Community Sailing" based out of the Charleston Yacht Club. The director Jessica and I had a coffee together last week and she filled me in on how much High School Sailing and her other programs have grown since she took over 5 years ago. She works hard no doubt, and the season here is all year, but there's really no reason why Community Sailing @ Pistakee can't or won't grow to the point where it's serving all of the local school districts and providing lessons for hundreds of eager students throughout the summer.
At this point we have created an outline for success, fundraising to purchase new boats including a small fleet of Open Bics and Club 420's for youth and adult classes. We've also come up with a series of programs to provide youth and adults opportunities to develop and master their skills. Within a few years its the hope of this group that when you look out on Pistakee or some of the other lakes and bays on the Fox Chain you will see more sailboats than anything else dotting the horizon.
Won't that be nice...