Summer school on the lake


Whether you’re young or old, from Clear Lake or just vacationing, you’re invited to give sailing a try

If you want to really experience Clear Lake, you have to be on the water, says Amy Wagler.  And the best way to do that is to hop aboard a sailboat.


Wagler, director of the Clear Lake Yacht Club’s Sailing School this summer, says numbers are up and the future of sailing on Clear Lake looks very bright.

Judging by the enthusiasm of students, she’s right.

“This is how we spend our summers,” said Ana Starbeck, who attends sailing school sessions all summer long with her brothers, Billy and Alex.  Most days the siblings, from Cedar Falls, sail to City Beach and then attend classes.  All three like to compete, as well as sail for fun and spend their summer days on the water.

Nine-year-old Justin Thul, from Chicago, was enrolled in sailing school while his family vacationed here in July.  

“I learned the boat parts, knots and how to steer the boat,” he said. “We did capsizing, too.  That was more fun than scary.”

Evan Snyder is among the growing number of Clear Lake kids giving sailing a try for the first time.   His family doesn’t have a sailboat, but he says he’s getting a lot of time on the water as a sailing school student.  The eight-year-old said his mom suggested the class two-years ago and he gave it a try.  He was back this year expanding his sailing prowess and beginning to think about maybe racing some day.

Development of new sailors has been a focus for the future growth of the Yacht Club, according to its leaders.  And while the club has a rich 78-year history, with membership of many families spanning decades, newcomers are always welcome.

“Having our clubhouse at the end of Main Avenue, on the lake, is really great,” said Wagler.  “We get people who walk in and want to learn more about the club and the sailing school and want to give it a try.  Lake residents and vacationers are all welcome-- kids and adults.”

Nick Zachar has been teaching sailing on Clear Lake since he was 16.  He learned a great deal about sailing from his family,  longtime CLYC members, but the camaraderie of youth sailing was something that hooked him on the sport.  

“Sailing school was a great way for me to make friends,” said Zachar, who now attends graduate school at American University in Washington D.C.  “It also gave me confidence.  Capsizing is the scariest thing that becomes the most fun thing once you’ve done it.  There’s also the thrill of docking a boat by yourself.”

Zachar said he knows firsthand that students will learn best by doing. Following class time on land in which students learn boat parts, points of sail,  tacking and jobbing terminology and rigging, the students take to the water.  Instructors are in separate boats, available to assist, but letting the students do the sailing.  The youngest sailors start out in boats called the Optimist dinghy, often referred to as “tubs.”  X-boats are usually next and are used in competition to age 16.  An X-boat features two sails and accommodates two persons.  The MC scow has one sail and is manned by one person.  Larger boats include the C, E and A.  The CLYC owns Optimist and X-boats. 

Ana Starbeck said she is also having fun this summer mixing some technology with - Read More Via e-Edition

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