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Marine News from the Great Lakes

Detroit Based Youth Sailing Program Gets A Boost From Two Local Organizations

Published: Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Two Detroit area organizations are being recognized for their support of a Detroit-based youth learn to sail program. On August 5, 2016, the Grosse Pointe Youth Nautical Education Program (GPYNEF) and Kean’s Marina will be recognized at the 2016 Challenge the Wind Youth Sailing Program graduation ceremony.

Challenge the Wind Youth Sailing Program; a Detroit-based program, has been teaching young people to sail for decades on a shoestring. Recently the program has been able to serve many more participants with the support of Grosse Pointe Youth Nautical Education Program and Kean’s Marina. At this year’s CTWYSP graduation ceremony, GPYNEF will be  recognized for providing boats, equipment, funding and technical support. Kean’s Marina will be recognized for providing financial support, equipment and a permanent home from which the program can dock its boats and run the program.

Jim Morrow, president of GPYNEF said, “We are a community outreach program dedicated to promoting national and international amateur sailing, maritime arts and education. We felt it was important to support a local organization that has an outstanding track record for introducing sailing to young people that otherwise would never get the opportunity. After getting to know the organization it was an easy decision for us to want to help them expand.”

Kean’s Marina recently shifted its community service initiative to support Challenge the Wind. “Over the years we have participated in various community initiatives. It became clear that we could have a greater impact by putting our support and marina resources behind a youth sailing program,” said Jim Cummins, co-owner, Kean’s Marina. Challenge the Wind’s classroom at Kean’s Marina provides the participant’s access to a picturesque stretch of the Detroit River with Belle Isle as a 2016 Session One in front of a new Club420 backdrop. “It is rewarding to see the program grow in front of our eyes and be a
partner in helping its expansion, ” said Mike Litt, co-owner Kean’s Marina.

Challenge the Wind Youth Sailing Program was started in the 1990s by the Grayhaven Sail Club of Detroit with two 19’ Flying Scot sailboats donated by the Detroit Boat Club. With the help of a dedicated team of volunteers and the support of GPYNEF and Kean’s Marina the program now has 10 boats. The pride of the fleet includes the largest and smallest boats. The largest boat is a 33’ Tartan Ten. The smallest are a pair of 14’ Club 420s. All three boats were donated this year by the GPYNEF. The Tartan Ten will be used to introduce young people to larger sailboats and perhaps a little weeknight racing on Lake St Claire. The Club 420s will be used to introduce participants to the world of Junior Sailing Regattas.

The greatest lessons learned by the participants are more than the skill of sailing. Harry Jones, director, CTWYSP said, “It’s a joy to watch these young people, many of whom have never been on the water and are deathly afraid initially, looking a sailboat with confusing lines going everywhere and pieces of protruding metal … and in a short amount of time, they’re out there sailing. They’ve gained such confidence, not just in their ability to sail, but in their ability to overcome a fear. That gets me excited year after year.”


tags: Education, Kids & Pets, Lake St. Clair, Sailing

Oct. 2018, Nov. 2018

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