GILFORD — The sailing school operated by Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association LWSA) has weighed anchor for its 27th season with the anonymous donation of a classic 30-foot sailboat.
Since 1988 the association has introduced thousands of children and adolescents to the thrill of sailing thanks to the generosity of those who have not only donated money but also sailboats and motorboats, which are either added to the LWSA's fleet or sold to fund its programs.
Generally the association receives smaller boats, which though usually seaworthy need repair. But, this most recent gift is special. The Alberg 30 is counted among the most famous and popular designs of Carl Alberg, the celebrated Swedish born yacht designer. Built by the Whitby Boatworks of Whitby, Ontario, the sloop had a record breaking production run of 750 boats between 1962 and 1984 and quickly earned a reputation as a spirited class racer and hardy ocean cruiser.
The donated boat was owned by the same family for the last 33 years and, after spending most of its life on the ocean has plied the waters of Lake Winnipesaukee for the past decade. It is fully equipped with everything its owner left on board, including binoculars, flashlights and even magazines. The boat is ready to launch and sail.
Anthony Sperazzo said the sailing school will begin its eight week season on Monday, June 22 with one-week classes for eight to 10 year olds and two-week classes for 11 to 16 year olds. There will also be half-day programs for seven year olds.
The school sails a fleet of 28 boats — eighteen 8-foot Optimists for the youngest sailors, eight 13-foot, nine inch Collegiate 420s, crewed by pairs, for older sailors and two Sonars for adults. Sperazzo said 85 percent of each day is spent on the water.
It's amazing to watch a seven or eight year old get into a boat and sail away independently," said Sperazzo, who will be the next principal of Gilford High School, "Sailing teaches self-reliance and self confidence. It's about problem solving, teamwork, communication, concentration, responsibility and sportsmanship." He said that the youngest sailors spend their time in Smith Cove, but for the others the lake is their oyster.
The instructors, both certified and junior, consist of high school and college students who have completed the program themselves. They work as a team, setting goals for the season and for themselves. "They're all enthusiastic sailors who enjoy seeing students take the experience of sailing for their own," Sperazzo said.
For more information visit the website at lwsa.org or call (603) 589-1177.