The DSSA sailing camp helps a group of children between the ages of 7 and 16 acquire the nautical knowledge they need.
DULUTH, Minn.- The second half of summer in the north brings sailboats to Lake Superior. but all of these experienced sailors had to start somewhere, like the Duluth Superior Sailing Association (DSSA) sailing camp.
“Some of these kids come out here and feel what the water looks like and what it’s like to be on a sailboat with the sails up,” said DSSA Waterfront director Zachary Lange.
The DSSA sailing camp helps a group of children between the ages of 7 and 16 acquire the nautical knowledge they need to navigate the lake on their own.
“We teach them from the bottom up, knots equal to terminology, and then how to rig all these different makes of boats,” Lange said.
“So they’re really learning how to do it, if they ever got on another boat they would already have a lot of skill to probably be able to handle that boat and set it up properly,” he said.
Instructors say versatility is important which is why they have different types of sailboats on the park for students to learn and get up to speed on.
“So they can decide what they like about sailing if they like a boat that is a little slower and more seaworthy, that’s good,” said Lange. “If they like a faster, faster boat that’s going to capsize a lot, they want to work in the performance space, they can do it.”
And rain or shine, the young sailors, some of whom are still strangers to the water, learn to prepare for whatever the lake has to throw at them.
“They’re completely in the elements here,” Lange said. “I mean the water, the wind, the storms, they’re there with that.”
More than that, Lange said, as the camp progresses, the children gain more independence – and soon leave on their own.
“As they progress through the week, they become more smiley, more independent, wanting to go out, asking us ‘hey can we take a boat, we’re ready to go out’,” he said. said.