Popular youth sailing program sidelined by the pandemic is back on the water

Popular youth sailing program sidelined by the pandemic is back on the water

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Waikiki Yacht Club's Youth Sailing Program is out of dry dock. The pandemic caused a pause from mid-March to early June.

"Our club was very conservative. I support that. I think it was a good idea to be conservative," sailing director Guy Fleming said.

The program returned slowly, first with students who can sail solo then came classes with the less experienced who sail two to three to a boat.

"A wide variety of kids come through the program. It's a fun program. If you stick with it you get to sail new boats or sail by yourself," student sailor Charlie Parsons said.

Twenty-six junior sailors ages 8 to 18 are in the class.

"Right now we're sailing Toppers but I want to learn how to sail more advanced boats," student Devyn Habu said.

The Waikiki Yacht Club is maintaining safety measures like mask wearing and social distancing.

"We're taking temperatures at the door. We're logging that in every day. We're trying to be as safe as we can," Fleming said.

To prevent group gatherings some competitive events were canceled.

“This time period we would do a 10-day regatta in a variety of boats. And a lot of these would lead to national competition if they qualified,” he said.

The junior sailors are happy their classes have resumed.

"I really like sailing and I want to continue to sail," Habu said.

Fleming has coached junior sailors for 36 years. He’s taught thousands of children and teenagers to sail.

"I think in the next week I have three spots, and then two weeks later we'll start another session. I have some spots in that. I probably have about ten spots, but it does fill up very quickly," he said.

The pandemic forced the program into uncharted territory, but it found its way back to the water.

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