OSSINING, N.Y. – More than 20 children and their family members tested their sailing skills Thursday night on the Hudson River in Ossining as part of the Shattemuc Yacht Club Sailing Academy’s weekly races.
They may be called races, but the series is more of a learning tool than a serious competition, says Director Guy May. As part of the academy, students learn to sail by spending several hours a day on the water. The academy, open to club members between 9 and 16, runs through the summer.
For May, the academy is also somewhat of a family tradition, as his parents used to help run the program in the 1970s, and he and his wife, Kathleen, help teach students today, including their three children.
“I remember the free-for-all when I was 9 and racing with my family,” May said Thursday night. “It was always fun every time we went out, and I wanted to come back and help out when I got the chance.”
May also met Kathleen when they were both going through the academy.
“We were little kids and it was always a fun place to be,” Kathleen May said. “It was a great way to meet kids from the different towns, and it’s great because we have friends in Westchester who we grew up with and now we’re teaching their kids in the sailing academy with our kids.”
For the couple's 13-year-old son, Colin, sailing has been a part of his life since he can remember.
“My family has been doing this since I was born, and I’ve been around this since I was a baby, so I just picked up on it,” Colin May said, adding that sailing has become one of his favorite things to do. “On higher wind days, this is just such a thrill, because you have to keep track of so many things.”
As far as the weekly races, Colin May said there is no key to winning.
“It’s more about having a good time than winning,” he said. “I want to be sailing for the rest of my life, it’s so much fun.”
Parent Brad Daly said the weekly races and the academy seemed like a fun way to introduce his children to sailing.
“I wanted to get my kids involved in sailing and give them something fun to do for the summer,” Daly said. “The program here is very well run, and they strive for high standards and we have a fun time. It’s a good family activity, and that’s what we’re all about.”