New club finding smooth sailing

  • Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Provided photo The Winyah Bay Sailing Club recently competed in the the Charleston Ocean Racing Association Frostbite Race series.

It’s hard to believe it was just six months ago that Waccamaw High School students Griffin DesMarteau, Michael O’Tuel and Jacob O’Tuel and Waccamaw Middle School student Sydney Register were asking the Georgetown County School Board for permission to get a sailing team started.

The Winyah Bay Sailing Club had received a generous contribution from Charleston Community Sailing of 6 used Vanguard 420 sailboats to get them started. After donations from the Matthew Britton Family, Dr. Chris Register and Amy Jones, Dr. Ged Tiller, the Pawleys Island Rotary Club and Hazzard Marine, the team had four boats ready, rigged and a coach from Charleston hired.

More than 33 students from Waccamaw High got involved in the newest sport in the area — sailing — and it’s been full steam ahead.

The excitement has grown and the Georgetown School of Arts & Sciences will start their sailing team practices in March.

Students from both WHS and GSAS have been involved in sailing all winter participating in clinics in Charleston with the Charleston Ocean Racing Association Frostbite Race series as well as volunteering at Hazzard Marine by building four floating docks that will be used by both teams.

Along with Emily Livingston, Bob Turner and Kate Bibb, skippers from both teams will staff the Winyah Bay Sailing Club summer camp this June for students 11-16. Registration is now open to returning sailors and open to the public at www.winyahbaysailingclub.org

The Winyah Bay Sailing Club recently completed their first SAISA Regatta season at the Carolina Yacht Club in Charleston.

Skipper Griffin DesMarteau with crew Matt Staub got their personal best this season with a fourth in a hard fought race against 13 teams from North Carolina, Georgia and Charleston.

Staub has crewed in three previous regattas, earned a spot as skipper ,and did a great job . He continued to improve with each race.

Matthew O’Tuel crewed for both Staub and Sydney Register.

Morning delays followed by light afternoon winds made for some challenging conditions early on, but seas and winds both piped up and offered some exciting challenges.

New coach Emily Livingston was on board to provide great suggestions to the team as the conditions continued to change from “the cat in the hat” delay flag with no wind, to gusts up to 20 knots.

Livingston was on staff at Camp Seafarer in North Carolina and has extensive sailing and racing experiences of her own to share with the team and summer campers.

“Support from the community has been overwhelmingly positive — this is a very generous community and they are so happy to see kids out on the water” said DesMarteau.

The Winyah Bay Sailing Club just received a Chrysler 22 sailboat that will be used to provide adult sailing lessons in the area and a 15-foot RIB center console inflatable from Tiller to help with the teams and summer camp. Earlier this year Bob Turner donated $1,000 to the club to purchase new sails.

“We just need a 15HP outboard to drop from the sky and we’ll be set,” said DesMarteau.

For information about junior sailing, high school sailing and getting involved go to www.winyahbaysailingclub.org.

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