Sailing Association expands adult, private lessons - 225 words

GILFORD — The Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association formed in 1988 to teach sailing to children, but recently has expanded its reach with programs designed to educate adults.

The LWSA's Adult Learn-To-Sail program includes two levels, each taught in small groups and in four, three-hour classes. The beginner class, level one, focuses on safety, rigging and basics of boat handling and maneuvering. Level two is for adults with some experience, and will include using an auxiliary motor, refined sailing techniques, sail shapes and tuning, and using a spinnaker, maritime radio, and daytime navigation.

The adult education programs are taught on the LWSA's three roomy and stable keelboats, which range in size from 23 to 26 feet.

If those classes don't fit the bill, the LWSA also offers private lessons. These lessons can be scheduled at the client's convenience, and even on the client's boat. Private lessons are often utilized by people returning to sailing after a hiatus, or who want to take their sailing skills to a new level. Several private lessons have been purchased as gifts for spouses.

And, if all that is desired is a sail on Winnipesaukee with someone else doing the work, the LWSA can arrange that, too, with one someone from the association piloting one of the LWSA's boats. Outings are frequently arranged as part of birthday celebrations.

For more information, visit or call 603-589-1177.

Learn to sail this summer with the LWSA - 758 words

GILFORD — "Anyone can sail," said Al Posnack, long-time volunteer with the Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association. However, few are born natural sailors, and each year, scores of beginners don life jackets and launch tiny vessels on to Smith Cove for their first solo voyage. The trip usually begins with clumsiness, but ends in triumph.

Cat McLaughlin, one of the instructors for the LWSA Sailing School, said there's a particular instant — where anxiety gives way to accomplishment — that she has learned to look for.

"That moment when you get it, when the wind hits the sail and they start to move, their face lights up ... It's really fun to watch."

McLaughlin knows that moment well, because, before she was an instructor for LWSA, and before she was a junior instructor, she was a student at the LWSA Sailing School.

"My family never had a boat, this was how I got my fix of the lake, this was how I fell in love with sailing," she said. In fact, all of the sailing school's instructors are themselves graduates of the program.

The sailing school has taught more than 2,500 young sailors since beginning in 1988. Thanks to new developments over the past few years, the LWSA is excited for the 2016 sailing school season.

Three years ago, LWSA was able to purchase a a former cove-side home at the end of Davis Road in Gilford, prior to that the association was dependent upon the hospitality of Fay's Boat Yard, which allowed use of a meeting room for its classes. With its own property, LWSA has had the stability to expand and improve upon its programs, which are all aimed at making sailing on Lake Winnipesaukee accessible to all.

At the heart of the sailing school is its children's curriculum, which takes kids as young as seven and teaches them the basics and joy of sailing. At eight years old, children are eligible to enroll is Sailing 101, level one, a week long course where children will spend the lion's share of the 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily schedule on the water, piloting their own craft, while instructors in powerboats keep an eye out for safety and offer technical tips.

The courses continue from there, with one week and two week courses for older and more advanced sailors, up to programs for collegiate-level racing sailors.

Posnack said that scholarships are available for interested students who need them.

"Any kid that needs financial aid, we'll get it to them," Posnack said, noting that for many in the region, the sport of sailing seems out of reach. "We're trying to bridge that gap."

The children's sailing school sessions begin on June 20 and run into mid-August; there are still many sessions with space available to those who haven't registered yet.

Drop-off for a day at sailing school is at 9 a.m. The day begins with a brief classroom session, about a half-hour, following which students retrieve their own rigging from the supply shed, and rig up their own small sailboat. They spend the next few hours sailing solo, take a break for lunch, get back on the water and sail some more. The day closes with a short classroom session.

Sailing is an "intellectual sport," said Liam Shanahan, operations director for LWSA.

"Kids understand that the more you pay attention inside, the better you're going to be and the more fun you'll have," he said. "It's very structured and deliberate, but, especially for the younger kids, they don't realize how much they're learning."

While the young sailors learn about sailing, they're also gaining confidence, self-esteem, self-reliance and determination.

To celebrate the end of the week, young sailors join the older classes and leave the safety of Smith Cove for an adventure.

Emily McCabe, instructor, said, "On Fridays, we put all the classes together and we go out for a larger sail." Sometimes the destination is Ragged Island, owned by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust, where they can explore the trails and eat lunch, or they might sail to Weirs Beach for ice cream. McCabe said the voyage lets the younger sailors learn from the returning campers, who in turn act as mentors.

"It's great because the whole camp gets to be together and interact," she said.

Over the winter, the LWSA acquired 10 O'pen Bic sailboats, simple and small vessels ideal for children, which brought the number of boats owned by the organization to 37. The program also has a new director this year, Amy Tripp, taking over from prior director Anthony Sperazzo.

To learn more about the LWSA, visit or call 603-589-1177.

Donated boats help keep Sailing Association above water - 255 words

GILFORD — Ready to part ways with that old boat in the backyard that has seen more pine needles than waves in the past few years? One way to do that is to donate it to the Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association, which will shine it up, sell it and keep the proceeds as a tax-deductible operation.

"We're a nonprofit, one of our streams of revenue is from people who donate boats," said Al Posnack, a long-time voluneer with the LWSA.

Rarely, a donated boat will be added to the organization's fleet, used to teach the sport of sailing to both young and old. Most of the time, boats donated to the LWSA are sold.

Boats given to the Sailing Association run the gamut of vessels seen on Lake Winnipesaukee. Small sailboats, even motorboats, are welcome, some are in need of some form of attention prior to the sale. The donation program set a new high-water mark last year, when an anonymous donor gave the LWSA a classic sailboat, an Alberg 30, fully equipped and ready to sail.

Donors receive a tax deduction equal to the boat's full, fair-market value, as well as the knowledge that their gift supports programs and scholarships for the LWSA, which has taught thousands of children to sail at the summer camps it has operated since 1988. Of course, donors also get to shed themselves of the hassle of selling the boat themselves, and of paying to store, insure and repair the boat.

To discuss a possible boat donation, call 603-589-1177 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..