There was a time, in the not-so-distant past, that your local sailing club was a purely volunteer organization, run by willing parents, and knowledgable local sailors. While in many parts of the country, this is status quo, for the majority this is no longer the case.
Sailing in the US has undergone and is currently undergoing a radical shift in the way that it interacts with culture. Gone are the days of super yachts, and old-school J-class sailing miles off-shore. Increasingly, these are being replaced by cheaper, simpler, more accessible boats, and more accessible sailing venues. While the sailing programs of the past may have prided themselves on exclusivity (and many still do), this mentality has been overshadowed by the desire to grow our sport, to open the doors to sailors of all walks of life, and even non-sailors.
This community-culture shift has been instrumental in making sailing a viable career. We are seeing a massive increase in the number of people who have committed to bettering the sport of sailing, full-time. Where 10-15 years ago, coastal powerhouses may have employed only 2-3 year-round, this number has quadrupled.
More opportunities for sailors to make a living by sailing not only means that all of you can continue to engage in this sport for the rest of your lives, but it ensures the quality of the body of knowledge being passed down is substantial. The sailing program of the future is not one of sporadic leadership, full of part-time volunteers, but strong, consistent leadership, full of sailors who have dedicated their lives to the growth of out sport, full of the youth sailors going through our programs today.
We made it to the end of May, and that means that summer feels like it is well and truly here! It also means that there was a lot of activity on the water over Memorial Day Weekend!
Even as sailing school kicks off this Friday with our Cheeseburger in Paradise night, we had many of our instructors, and sailors on the water kicking off their sailing seasons last weekend.
I got the chance to get out sailing on an A-Scow for the first time! While I had grown up sailing the Butterfly, MC, and a brief stint on an E-scow, the A boat is a whole different game! We were fortunate that a light to non-existent breeze came in nicely on Saturday for a few fun races. Thank you Race Committee!
On Sunday, it was a whole different story. a 15-20 kt easterly made things very exciting for the E-boat fleet. Almost all of our summer instructors have a place in the E fleet this summer, and they sailed admirably in tricky conditions! The V11, driven by JP Friend, and crewed by Lizzy Friend and Alec Bischoff sailed into 6th after one race, V66 sailed by Christian & Sam Spencer sailed into 9th, and V511, where Max Schieble is crewing finished 11th.
Well done all!
Exciting weekend at PLSS!
Last weekend at PLSS we hosted a US Sailing Level 2 instructor course for Lake Country instructors. Many are familiar with the Level 1 course from US Sailing, which is geared at taking sailors who already are proficient and comfortable on the water, and giving them the skills necessary to begin their teaching career. The Level 1 course is an intensive 40 hour course in pedagogy, curriculum development, and on the water practice on teaching skills. The Level 2 is the next step in the series. The Level 2 course, while only 16 hours, is no less intensive. Sailors going through the Level 2 are given the tools to become not simply effective educators of basic sailing courses, but effective coaches of more advanced programs. In the class coaches are given advice on more advanced boat-handling & set-up chalk-talks, as well as how to effectively run drills that are specific and targeted at advancing key skills.
Despite unfortunate weather on Saturday, our 11 instructors, and instructor trainer Steve Gay braved the rain and spent time practicing spinnaker and trapeze work on 420’s, as well as working on delivering peer-to-peer chalk-talks about sail trim, rigging, etc.
Sunday brought much better weather in the morning, and instructors were tasked with working on their comfort and proficiency in heavy-wind Club 420 sailing.
Big thanks to Steve Gay & US Sailing for running another fantastic course for our instructor candidates, as well as Okauchee Lake Sailing School for providing additional Club 420 gear for the weekend.
We are excited to be back out on the water working on our coaching & sailing skills for the summer!
See you all in June!
Lots of thanks to Chicago Yacht Club for hosting a fun & successful MISSA Qualifier!
Rain on Saturday morning brought us a stiff northerly on Lake Michigan, and a valiant effort was made to set a course outside Belmont Harbor, but with 6-8’ waves, and even more chop reverberating from the shore, Safety committee made the wise decision to send boats back into the harbor for the day.
Courses were quickly set despite oscillating breeze, and racing began in earnest ~10.30am. Courses were W6 most of the day, and with races easily viewable from shore/docks, it was an exciting day to watch. Breeze favored the left side of the course, which meant that lots of boats were attempting port lay.
With scores up and down on Saturday, Kettle Moraine sailors Christian & Sam Spencer (A Fleet); Alex Keck, Paul McClean & Breanna Schultz (B Fleet) both posted top 5 finishes, and finished the day top 10 overall.
Sunday began with more rain, and more racing inside the harbor. Despite a lighter easterly, the swell and chop on the lake remained too large for practical racing. Racing continued on W6 courses, with an interesting, and rare breeze pattern that favored the middle of the course, with wind slipping between breakwaters.
With scores up and down again on Sunday, Kettle Moraine continued to post high, top-5 finishes, and with everything on the line in the last races of B-Fleet, KM pulled out top-3 finishes, and and edged out St. Ignatius to place 3rd, and Qualify for Mallory Double-Handed Nationals in Boston.
Nationals will be Hosted by MIT May 12th-14th in Boston, MA.
Congrats to all the Sailors who Qualified!!
Happy Spring! The birds are chirping, the grass is getting green and we have water on Pewaukee Lake! It's great to see docks going in and boats back on the water.
We lucked out with a warm few weeks in Mid-March which helped the ice to go off a bit early this year. Oconomowoc High School sailors attended the ice-breaker regatta on March 28-29 in Chicago and when we returned home, we had water! The official ice out date is March 30, which meant we were able to start sailing practice with our high school sailors on March 31st. We had a beautiful 75 degree day to start off the Spring season, although water temperatures hovered just above freezing.
This past weekend (April 11-12) we hosted the MISSA - West Mallory Pre-Qualifiers for the Western conference of our Midwest HS Sailing Conference. We had beautiful low 60 degree weather and perfect wind all weekend. Saturday saw lighter wind in the morning with a nice consistent breeze in the afternoon, and Sunday we saw heavier pressure topping off around 18. 24 Races were sailed over the course of the weekend (12 in each division), which was an awesome way to start off our season at home. Thank you to Mark DeGuire, Tom Frentzel and Ty Gutenkunst for their on the water expertise running RC and Markset, and to the Ocon, Arrowhead and KM parents for providing all of the food for the weekend. Congratulations to Oconomowoc (2nd Place Overall), Arrowhead (3rd Place Overall) and Kettle Moraine (6th Place Overall) for making it through to the next round regatta, which will be held April 25-26 at Pewaukee Yacht Club. We expect 20 teams, so if you are interested in volunteering, either on the water or with housing a high school team, we would love to have extra hands around! Please contact me at sailPLSS@gmail.com.
On the PLSS side of things - we have added an afternoon Beginner Opti Class, so be sure to check out the updated brochure and application on the main page of the website. Please note that there will be a late fee of $50 applied to any applications received after April 30th! Make sure to get your PLSS Summer applications in soon to avoid extra charges!
Happy Sailing - See you on the water soon!
Hello Sailor fans!
We've been hard at work continuing to plan a great summer for you at PLSS! We've switched up our schedule to reflect some changes in the program. All of our classes (with the exception of Kinderprams and Adult Sailing) will be 4-day per week, 1/2 day classes. We feel that our sailors will absorb more information without getting bored or burnt out with the new schedule.
You'll notice that the majority of our classes either did not increase in price, or increased a very small amount. Our goal is to keep our classes affordable to make sailing accessible for more youth and adults in the area. We would love to be able to get more involved in the community!
Summer 2015 Information can be found here:
Summer 2015 Brochure
Summer 2015 Application
Hello PLSS Fans!
We're trucking along this winter and have been keeping very busy! We're just a few days away from finalizing all of our class offerings and pricing for the 2015 Season!
In late January, I was able to attend US Sailing's National Sailing Programs Symposium - this year held in New Orleans, where I've presented for the second year in a row. It's a very cool event in which sailing coaches, directors and supporters from around the United States are able to get together and figure out the best ways to help grow the sport of sailing. This year the event was on the tail end of the ISAF (International Sailing Federation) World Sailing Conference, so there were delegates from all over the world coming in to check out what we do in the states. It was great to be able to see what tactics for teaching are employed by organizations around the world.
Over the past almost decade that I've attended this conference, I have noticed that the topics have shifted from a lot of high-end racing programs to more community sailing centers and accessibility. The trends in the sport of sailing are making a movement from the elite and high level racing, to getting as many people out on the water as possible.
One of the ways that we're hoping to increase the level of participants in our program is to go beyond sailing and delve further into education. The STEM Program (Science, Technology, Education, Mathematics) or US Sailing's REACH Program helps us do that. I took the 8 hr. course prior to the conference to become a certified STEM Educator and it was an awesome experience! US Sailing has 10 modules developed that cover a number of topics ranging from calculating sail area, buoyancy, wind speed, block and tackle/purchase, and studying our environmental impact. The program started out as a "no-wind day" activity and developed into something where fifth graders from local schools come to facilities around the country, and (while they might not see it at first) get a better understanding of STEM through the sport of sailing and other hands-on activities (no boredom here!). We are trying to start the program in our area first with St. Anthony's and Kettle Moraine schools.
Some of the other topics I attended were about getting the most out of your practices and drills, how to incorporate stand up paddle-boarding, kayaking and windsurfing into your program, keeping sailing staff motivated (we have a great staff so all of this info was just a bonus!), building a 21st century sailing center - from fundraising to blueprints, and many more. The topic which I presented on was "developing programs for non-racers." I presented with some awesome people from the New England Science and Seamanship Center, Hoover Sailing Club and Baltimore Community Sailing Center. Needless to say, I'm super jazzed about all of the cool stuff I learned!
Stay tuned for Summer 2015 Brochure/Application coming out SOON!
MYST (High School Sailing) Meeting on Wednesday, February 25th at 6:30pm at Harken.
Fair Winds and Following Seas,
Greetings and Happy New Year from Pewaukee Lake Sailing School! A heartfelt thank you to all of you who have donated to PLSS this Holiday Season. We couldn't do this without you!
What does 2015 have in store for PLSS?
This is just a sample from the list, but if you have additional things you would like to see done around PLSS, please don't hesitate to let us know!
Fair winds and following seas,
Happy Holidays from Pewaukee Lake Sailing School! Its the time of year where we are surrounded by friends and family and realize that we have a lot to be thankful for!
We had a great Fall 2014 season with the MYST High School Program - with our sailors making the podium at every single event. We had 53 sailors signed up this fall, practicing 3 days a week August-November. The fleet has been de-rigged and stowed in the PYC Hall for the winter - and we're hoping for an early thaw in our Spring Season. Our Spring Season meeting will be at Harken at 6:30pm on Wednesday, February 25th. While the spring season is shorter in length, it is when the majority of the national qualifier events occur. Pewaukee will be hosting MISSA - West Mallory Fleet-racing pre-qualifiers, MISSA Mallory Qualifiers, and May Madness. We are looking for lots of volunteers for these three big events, so if you are interested please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of you may have seen the PLSS survey that was sent out recently to our sailing school participants. We thrive on your input and want to continuously improve, and meet the needs and wants of our sailors and their families. Please take a moment to fill out the survey, and if for some reason you did not receive it, please email me. The PLSS Board of Directors will be analyzing the results of the survey mid-January at our next meeting. You can expect our Summer 2015 Brochure and Application to go live on the website on February 1st.
By now, most of you have received our 2014 Fundraising Campaign letter. PLSS is a non-profit organization. We reach out to the community each year in order to increase the participation and love for the sport of sailing, without donations from people like you, this would not be possible. Donations help to offset our costs and sustain the sailing school, thereby benefiting the community that we serve. This coming year, we plan on getting more people involved with our program - particularly middle-school aged students through the STEM Program (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Our needs for the upcoming season include updating our club optimist sails, purchasing go-pro cameras to use for training and review sessions, maintaining our coach boats and engines, updating our first-aid kids for our coach boats, and ensuring that each coach boat is equipped with a VHF radio. This is a small sample of items that goes above what our tuition covers. We want to thrive and build upon the great tradition that began some 60 years ago. We have big dreams and would love for you to be a part of our success. Please contact me at sailPLSS@gmail.com if you would like more information on how you can help.
Fair winds and following seas,