NCCC Sailing Program by Heather Grosso
Spring is here and sailing is underway! As many of us eagerly anticipated the Spring sailing season, there is a specific group of young adults who could not wait to get out on the water. The WaterFront Center makes sailing accessible to countless groups of people, including college students. Offered as a full physical education credit, Nassau Community College students are given the opportunity to learn how to sail.
The Spring semester begins in January for the students over at Nassau which gives them the first half of the course to be spent in the classroom. Professors Mike McGrory and Edward Mach do a wonderful job of tackling the challenging job of teaching sailing strictly from the classroom without any access to the water. During lecture, the students are introduced to the sport of sailing and all of its basic components. Topics introduced include wind and weather systems, parts of the boat, points of sail, steering, & other fundamental skills.
Although the lecture portion of the course prepares the students for a fully hands-on first day of sailing, a majority have never sailed a boat on their own or have even stepped on a dock, leaving them not knowing what to expect. Sailing instructor Brent Bomkamp enjoys seeing his students come out on the first day & connect what they learned in the classroom to what they can do on the boat.
In a completely connected world, college students and millennials are thought to be glued to their phones and laptops, but the Nassau students continue to prove this thought wrong. Although some students could not resist Snapchatting from the Sonars or Instagramming pictures of West Harbor, their excitement to reach out & share their sailing experience with their followers excites us all.
For the Spring semester, WFC offered the course to be taken once a week or during the college’s spring break. Those who chose to take the course during their week break from classes were given four consecutive days of on the water instruction while being evaluated on the required boat handling skills. Once the students were assessed on more advanced maneuvers such as heaving-to and man overboard, instructors suggested the teams should race, & many were up for the challenge.While racing can ignite the competitive spirit in anyone, it can also help develop life skills, especially for a college student. The Nassau students demonstrated communication & teamwork on the race course, which are talents that can shift into a classroom setting.
The WaterFront Center is thrilled to see these college students pick up new skills that they can use on and off the water. Nassau student’s readiness to test their capabilities on a Sonar motivates all of us at WFC to continue providing the tools needed to give all people the access to the water.