By Eric Jankiewicz

Who needs to sail the seven seas when you can sail Meadow Lake?

The American Small Craft Association is unfurling its sails once again, making room for sailboats to command the lake. The nonprofit program has been around for 48 years and for $300 – a comparatively cheap price in the world of sailing – anyone can take spring and summer classes with the group.

The training includes seven on-the-water lessons, two lecture classes and learning materials, including books. Anybody can sign up for the course, which is offered in the spring and summer.

“We teach sailing from the ground up. You don’t have to know anything to take lessons,” said Jim Jordan, the executive vice president.

Jordan joined 11 years ago and at the time he knew nothing about sailing. He has since continued with the group, accumulating more responsibilities.

“I think it’s an organization that becomes a labor of love for a lot of people and we want to see it prosper and continue,” he said.

All students must take a swimming test, which requires them to jump into a pool fully clothed and tread water.

“It’s always active down by the water,” said Bill Summers, who joined the club over 20 years ago when he was just 17. “We have many lifetime members like myself. I can’t imagine a life without sailing.”

On a recent Saturday morning students were out in the water with trainers.

Kamila Smith has been with the organization for a year and she was on the water teaching a new group all about hailing lines and the tiller.

“You get to feel the way the water feels the wind and the water moving against the rudder,” Smith said. “It gives you a connection to the boat and the elements that affect sailing.”

All of the trainers are volunteers who learned on the same lake. Once the new sailors finish the course, they have the option to join the club for $40 a year. Many of them will eventually go on to become trainers themselves.

For the more advanced members, the club has two sailboats for the Long Island Sound, where the high seas are the limit.

“Raining doesn’t mean anything for us,” Summers said. “It’s the lightning we have to worry about.”

Reach reporter Eric Jankiewicz by e-mail at ejankiewic[email protected] or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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