Great Outdoors: Youth Get Their Sea Legs At DSSA Sailing Camp

The DSSA'S Sailing Camp is helping a group of kids between 7 and 16 years old get the nautical knowledge they need.

DULUTH, Minn.- The second half of summer in the northland brings the sailboats out onto lake superior. but all those experienced sailors had to start somewhere, like the Duluth Superior Sailing Association’s (DSSA’S) Sailing Camp. 

“Some of these kids, they get out here and they get to feel what water is like and what it’s like to be on a sailboat, with sails up, said DSSA Waterfront Director Zachary Lange. 

The DSSA’S Sailing Camp is helping a group of kids between 7 and 16 years old get the nautical knowledge they need to sail out on the lake themselves.

“We teach them from the bottom up from even knots to then some terminology and then how to rig up all these different makes of boats,” Lange said. 

“So they’re really learning how to, if they ever get on a different boat they would have a lot of skills already to probably be able to manage that boat and be able to set it up right,” he said.

Instructors say that versatility is important, which is why they have different types of sailboats out on park point for students to learn and get their sea legs on.

“So they can decide what they like about sailing if they like a little slower, more sea-worthy boat that’s fine,” said Lange. “If they like a faster, speedy boat that’s gonna keel over a lot, they wanna work on performance space they can do so.”

And rain or shine, the young sailors, some who are still strangers to the water, learn how to brace all the lake has to throw at them.  

“They’re completely in the elements down here,” Lange said. “I mean water, wind, storms, they’re here with it.”

More than that, Lange said as the camp goes on, the kids gain more independence — and are soon setting sail on their own.

“As they progress throughout the week they do become more smiles on their face, more kind of independent, wanting to go out, asking us ‘hey, can we take a boat out, we’re ready to go out’ kind of thing,” he said. 

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