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OYC sails into summer with youth lessons

The Onondaga Yacht Club celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, making it one of the oldest freshwater clubs in the country. And what better way to celebrate than to pass down the gift of sailing to the youngest generation.

This month, the OYC held its annual youth sailing lessons July 13 to 15 and July 20 to 22. The lessons included twelve total hours of instruction, where students learned about knots, basic safety, sailing equipment, docking, anchoring, and roles of the crew on the small sail boats.

Weather permitting, the students were out on the lake learning the techniques first hand. During inclement weather, activities were carried out indoors.

"The goal of the lessons is to become an independent sailor," said Lee Hidy, a member of the club. "We want the students to be able to go out, have fun, and come back safely."

Three of Hidy's grandchildren--ages nine, twelve and thirteen--were enrolled in the lessons this summer.

Twelve people, including nine youth and three adults, were enrolled in the lessons, taught by USA Sailing Association certified instructors Heather McQuade, of Baldwinsville, and Beatrice Walton, of Skaneateles.

"Sailing is a sport people don't know a lot about," said Walton. "I like sharing the passion I had for the sport when I was young." What Walton enjoys most about teaching lessons at the OYC is the atmosphere of the club.

"It's a very low key, friendly environment," she said.

There are currently 58 family and individual members from all over Central New York belonging to the OYC. Members are not required to own a boat, explained Hidy. Those that belong to the club have access to the small sailboats owned by the club. Wet slips are also available next to the club for those that have their own boats. These are rented out by the county.

For those interested in becoming a member of the OYC or signing up for lessons in the future, stop by the club or call 446-3564.

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