VBC…boast a nationally recognized “Sail camp,” says the bronze plaque commemorating the Vermilion Boat Club’s founding in 1913. The plaque might well say: international recognition. This year’s 103 campers include members not only from Connecticut, Chicago and Florida, but also Jamaica.
VBC’s Sail Camp was founded in 1950 by Nan Gregory and continues today under Kim Disbrow and her sister Colleen Reni.
In the last half dozen years the Camp has expanded into the SOS, 4-7 year olds. The SOS (Start Opti Sailing) takes its name from the little 6 ft. fiberglass Opti boats the 4-7 year olds sail. Older readers will quickly recognize the Opti as simple an updated version of the old plywood Pram .
Then there is the middle age group, the Afternoons,” from 8-11 who meet in the afternoon and take their name from the time period and finally the Morning Group, 12-18 year olds.
Many of these older campers are members of the VBC Sail team and compete in sail races from Erie, Pennsylvania to Toledo and even on to Florida.
Watching the sail camp gives two impressions. One is mastering the technical information. The knowledge to identifying the 40 odd parts-the ropes, the sails, the pulleys which seem such a tangle to the uninitiated. How do you tie the litany of knots- the bowline, the square, the half-hitch- that sailors have used for hundreds, nay thousands of years? How to make these parts work together to control the boat.
The second impression is –this is a great confidence builder. The very first week the SOS campers were in their Opti’s, taking turns at the tiller-“pull towards the danger,” while being towed on the Vermilion River. The older Sail Teamers were not intimidated by the openness of Lake Erie on a breezy evening-reminiscent of a Winslow Homer painting.
One problem with articles like this is that they usually tell of something that has happened and it is too late to take advantage of the information. Not so in this rare case. Yes, the four week camp is over until next June, but VBC will be hosting a one week version July 21-25, for 8-18 year olds-no experience necessary. You can find the details on the Vermilion Boat Club web site.