It was one of those clear December days that Chautauqua Learn & Serve Charter School students received their sailing lessons right at the St. Andrews Bay Yacht Club. There are four students who are recipients of the sailing lessons and they were able to board the sailing vessel called Second Chance. The lessons for that day are just another part of a series of sailing lessons that the yacht club has committed to give to the students.
The sailing lessons were undertaken under the guide of Matthew Bruhn who is a senior in the Bay High School while Noamiven Der Bergh, the waterfront director of the club, is also present during these lessons. The group of students are developmentally disabled but were able to spend a number of weeks learning a lot about sailing. Lessons include learning the different parts of the boat, wind tracking methods and tying different type of knots. It was only in the second week of the month of December that their boat was able to leave the dock in order for them to work on what they have learned as well as apply everything.
Before the boat leaves, the guide made sure that they have enough knowledge and that they have focus by giving a short quiz. One of the first questions that he asked the group of students was the direction in which the wind is coming. The students then looked above them and at the surrounding in order to decipher the winds direction. Bruhn then gave them a clue by hinting to take a look at the flags that are blown by the wind. Once they saw the flags, all of them were able to point to the right direction.
According to Bruhn, the lessons he gave to the group were the same ones that are being taught to Level One students that are enrolled to their summer classes. He also shared that he has been a teacher in the club for a few years already and he started out as a volunteer. It was not until last year that he decided to take a course in order to receive certification to be an instructor.
To interested students, there are also RYA Beginners Training Courses offered.