High school sailors sought for 2024 in the Outer Banks – OBX Today

High school sailors sought for 2024 in the Outer Banks - OBX Today
Sailing the 420 in Buxton. (Submitted)

ATTENTION KIDS AND PARENTS FROM HATTERAS ISLAND, NAGS HEAD, MANTEO, KDH and KITTY HAWK! PRIVATE SCHOOL, PUBLIC SCHOOL or HOME SCHOOL!

Last year Hatteras Community Sailing and Colington Yacht Club leadership worked together to spearhead the first ever High School Sailing effort for the Outer Banks. Kids from First Flight and Cape Hatteras participated, learned from scratch and competed against schools from Raleigh, Wilmington, Lake Norman, Beaufort NC, Charleston, Beaufort SC, Hampton and New Bern! The regattas were pretty massive! Lots of great sailors from the entire Southeastern Atlantic.

This year the “Away Game” schedule will be finalized by the parents and kids involved. Hopes are that teams will bubble up out of Manteo, First Flight, Hatteras, Ocracoke, and even Southern Shores/Duck! Until such time that each school gets enough interest to have its own coaching staff and boats, the coaching effort will stay centralized and be managed by Hatteras Sailing. This does not however mean that all practices will be held in Buxton though.

Last season several practices were at Colington. This year we hope to get cooperation from the Town of Manteo and hold practices in Manteo as well. There is limited space because of the number of boats available, so its important to let us know now if you are interested! An Interest Meeting for all school districts is soon to be announced. For more information and a bit of history, please continue reading. If interested there is an Interest Form at the bottom of this post, please fill it out! See you on the Water! Remember, we are surrounded by some of the best Wind and Water in the World! Lets take advantage of it! Sign up now for High School Sailing. Grades 8 through 12 are eligible. Younger kids? Well let us know and we can get you into our Optimist Sailing Programs which are for age 8 to 14.

We learned A LOT our First Season. Now we know the ropes and can expand the teams to include more kids!

Getting into the SAISA (South Atlantic Interscholastic Sailing Association) and lined up to compete against other High School Varsity and Junior Varsity teams was a real learning experience with tons of rules, procedures, management issues and much more! But all said and done, I think the kids had a great time. They made huge leaps in their sailing skills, made many new friends, and had huge fun! So we are ready to start opening the roster up for Spring 2024 !

Interscholastic Sailing Competition is really unique and not something available to most of the Country! The Hatteras Sailing program Directors jumped into it last year and are so glad we took the chance! Living in a place with great Wind and Water Access is a blessing that should not be taken for granted. There are all kinds of bureaucratic hurdles and challenges to keep our kids from unique experience opportunities like this, but SAISA rules have been crafted to make it possible for kids and supportive parents. Here are some highlights from 2023 and our very small initial 2 sailing teams! Maybe this year we can put together sailing teams from all 3 School Districts in Dare County! If the kids want to participate, you can bet that we will do anything and everything possible to help make it a reality for them!

Since 2019 Hatteras Community Sailing has been gathering the needed ingredients for youth and adult sailing adventure of all types. Each season, with the help of generous individuals, business sponsors, volunteers and the professional staff of Hatteras Sailing, we have been able to keep the program growing broader and more inclusive. In addition to the 5 boat 420 Fleet we put together in 2021, last year we took huge steps to grow the program assets to include the fast and furious Melges 24 and the “Yachty” Sabre 42 Offshore Racer Cruiser. In addition to the ground level requirements of US SAILING Membership, SAISA Membership, SAYRA Membership, Insurance, Sailing Center Location, Ramp, Boats, Sails, and certified and experienced instructors, we now have the tools to broaden the experience into BIG BOAT OFFSHORE SAILING and HIGH PERFORMANCE KEELBOAT—all of which are offered now in a growing number of post secondary institutions.

We are proud of this achievement and want to get the word out to kids and parents that this opportunity is here on the Outer Banks and available to kids who want to experience more hands-on learning about seamanship, sailing and the competitive sport of Sailing. Sailing Teams do not require big numbers like Football, Soccer or Baseball! 2 sailors make up a team and 2 teams are the minimum participation number for SAISA Regattas. Of course the more the merrier, but space is limited to the current inventory of boats, which at Hatteras Sailing is currently 5 420’s (10 kids).

We will be posting a date for interest meetings at all 3 school districts! Plus for the first time in ever, there is a cooperative effort between Colington, Hatteras, and Manteo sailing programs to make this available to as many kids as we can manage with the 5 – 8 boats available. To grow and be sustainable any support is appreciated to help keep the cost down for local kids and parents. Boats, travel, coaching and maintenance are costly and you can support the program in many ways! Every little bit helps! Here are some ways to help keep Interscholastic Sailing available to Dare County Youth!

  • Become a Member of Hatteras Community Sailing Organization. Your yearly dues add up to help pay the insurance, facility and boat costs, and it comes with membership discounts and benefits.
  • Donate! Hatteras Community Sailing is the Organization spearheading this effort County Wide. We go to the kids and can coach in Colington and Manteo as well as down on Hatteras Island or even Ocracoke! HCS is a 501-3-c non profit established to nurture maritime heritage in our community through hands-on experiential learning opportunities.
  • Become an Annual Business Sponsor! Sponsorships are tax deductible or we can put your company logo, banners, and branding on the boats, committee boats, race marks and all over the website and social media posts!
  • Share ! Keep up with our social media posts, articles and information and share it with your friends.
  • Participate! If you are a kid or adult we have programs designed and tested successfully for ages 6 and beyond. Volunteers are always needed ! Let us know if you want to help out and we will put you to work!
  • Chaperon – We need drivers and chaperons for the kids to go to Away Games in Lake Gaston, Hampton, Charleston, Beaufort, Wilmington, and beyond!

A note about Safety. Safety is our foremost concern and focus! To date, Hatteras Community Sailing has coached hundreds of individuals and maintains a perfect safety history! But keep in mind that sailing is a sport on the water and is subject to completely crazy Outer Banks weather variations. We will do everything in our power to educate local youth and parents how to be safe on the water. This is done using the wealth of experience and knowledge shared through US SAILING, Coach Safe Powerboating and Instructor Certification Courses, and by maintaining safe and proper training equipment i.e. sailboats with dependable rigging and sails, and an a recommended ratio of sailors to coaches and coach boats on the water! Wind weather water and rigging challenges will always make sailing a sport for the hardiest type of individual. Sailing is for those who want to challenge themselves, their knowledge, seamanship, safety skills, resourcefulness and leadership skills. In dinghy sailing there will always be water, dampness, cold, wind and sun exposure, bumps, bruises and sore hands….its not for everybody! Passing a swim test and pfd test is mandatory and practice attendance is crucial when there are 2 person teams on each boat!

Sailing is a lifelong adventure that can take you places you never imagined (including fun and lucrative work right back home to the Outer Banks!) . If you are interested in participating in our 2024 Spring Interscholastic Sailing Season please let us know ASAP and we will follow up with you and your parent or guardian with more information about how the program works !

Visiting Teams Setting up boats for the Fall One Design Regatta. (Submitted)