Eight township residents attend three-week junior sailing program
Ten-year-old Natasha Collett never knew sailing existed before she enrolled in the Junior Sailing Program run by the Friends of Belmar Harbor.
But by the end of the three-week instructional program she’s attending via a scholarship from the Wall Recreation Department, Collett hopes to sail by herself on the Shark River.
Collett and seven other Wall Township children, along with 40 others from area towns, are attending the afternoon program from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday through Aug. 19.
“The last day of the junior sailing program is the Mayor’s Cup Regatta. The students get to show off the skills they have learned over the three weeks,” said Tom Adcock, Friends of Belmar Harbor Board Member.
The Friends of Belmar Harbor and the recreation departments from Wall, Belmar, Avon, Neptune, Neptune City and Bradley Beach sponsor 48 children – eight per town – to attend each summer.
Now in its seventh season, the free junior sailing program is based out of the Friends of Belmar Harbor headquarters located on the shore of the Shark River at the intersection of L Street and Route 35.
“This is an amazing program and it’s all for free,” said Marilyn Ryder, grandmother of 10-year-old Kelsey Stout, of Joseph Court.
“I never sailed before. The other day, Natasha and I sailed all the way over to Memorial Park in Neptune City,” said Kelsey said. “I think we might be sailing by ourselves this week.”
The goal of the program is to introduce sailing and expose the children to the water to children ages 10 to 16, according to Adcock.
The students practice on the Friends of Belmar Harbor’s fleet of 8-foot Open Bics, 8-foot Optimus Prams and JY15s.