DC Sail provides educational sailing programs and camps to children throughout the Washington, DC area. Each of their youth programs follows the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum and uses the sport of sailing to develop self-respect and sportsmanship, foster teamwork, as well as cultivate sailing skills and an appreciation for maritime-related activities. We asked DC Sail's Patrick Thompson to tell us more about their program
FB: How do you play?
DCS: Sailing is a sport that can have many different applications. You can leisurely sail a boat or competitively in races. There are many types of boats that this skill applies to. Whether that’s small one man boats or huge schooners.
FB: What’s a good age to start playing this sport?
DCS: As early as possible! Kids are usually able to start grasping the basic concepts at about
FB: What kind of kid would love this sport?
DCS: Some days our boats really fly and you can get quite the adrenaline rush. Team skills and competitiveness are crucial to succeeding in a racing environment. If you like being outdoors or on the water this is the sport for you!
FB: What athletic skills will a kid develop through this sport?
In many of our smaller boats body control and muscle memory play a large role in success. Good teamwork is especially important when sailing with one or more people.
FB: Why would parents like this sport?
DCS: Sailing is a great life skill which develops teamwork and maritime knowledge. People who may not spend much time on the water can be put in an exciting new environment. Not everyone has the opportunity to learn such a unique skill and see the scenery of DC from a different perspective. Sailing can be both a relaxing and competitive activity. One we think more people should partake in.
FB: What are the most common types of injuries?
DCS: Injuries are extremely rare. Our camps stress safety, especially being on the water. By the time children are in boats our instructors have made sure they are comfortable with the setting and know proper protocol while being in a sailboat.
FB: Who are the primary coaches? (e.g, volunteer, professional, etc.). What is his/her approach?
DCS: All of our instructors are qualified sailors that use a variety of methodologies to teach at our camps.
FB: When is the sailing season?
DCS: You can sail nearly any time of the year but we typically start in the spring and go until the fall. Kids Set Sail and Schooner Camp operate during the summer.
FB: What’s practice like?
DCS: A day of Kids Set Sail consists of basic science and math lessons and how they pertain to sailing, lessons on general sailing technique, land and water drills to bolster these techniques, and maritime lessons involving the surrounding area’s wildlife. Throughout the week we also hold many practice races all building up to our end of camp regatta.
FB: How often are practices? Where are the practices?
DCS: Throughout the week kids will practice both on and off the water. They will participate in several water games aimed to teaching proper sailing rules and technique. The kids sail in the Washington Channel on the SW Waterfront and sometimes the Potomac River.
FB: Where are the competitions?
DCS: Every Friday of Kids Set Sail we invite parents to come down to the SW Waterfront and watch their children participate in a regatta to showcase what they have learned.
FB: What are the approximate costs per year for this sport?
DCS: A week of Kids Set Sail or Schooner Camp is $350 dollars.
FB: What else should kids and parents know about this sport?
DCS: Schooner Camp is different from Kids Set Sail in that it takes place on DC Sail’s very own 65 foot schooner, the American Spirit! During Schooner Camp, campers are responsible for all of the crew duties and will learn the skills necessary to sail a very large boat.
DC Sail also offers several adult programs that are established to provide funding and volunteers for the youth programs so we can accomplish our mission. Lastly, we offer a high school program that functions as a season long activity like any other high school sport. Adult and high school programs are a season long activity. More information about them is available on our website www.dcsail.org.