Back to School Beyond the Classroom

From an observer's standpoint, it's hard to tell whether parents everywhere are breathing a collective sigh of relief or anxiety now that kids have been corralled back into the classroom.  Either way, life is returning to a more regular schedule after the glorious chaos of summer.   

For our Apprenticeship Program, the end of summer means our apprentices are 3/4 of the way through their intensive sailing year.  The only one of its kind on the west coast, our Apprenticeship Program gives a handful of young adults the opportunity to maximize their sailing time over the course of a year.  They get the chance to participate in training courses, races, cruising adventures and experience what a life on the water is really like.

This was our inaugural year of offering the Apprenticeship Program, and we were lucky enough to have two fantastic Apprentices join us right off the bat.  Dawson and Kelsey have rapidly developed their sailing knowledge and expertise while logging hundreds of nautical miles with us this year.  

Their year of sailing isn't over yet, but here's what they have to say about it as we head into the last couple months...

Dawson started his sailing life in March by taking a Competent Crew course with us. Now a full-fledged sailing addict, he has been a committed member of the Apprentice Program for the whole season.

Dawson started his sailing life in March by taking a Competent Crew course with us. Now a full-fledged sailing addict, he has been a committed member of the Apprentice Program for the whole season.

So far I have logged 365 miles of sea time, but I have learned about so much more than just sailing. Spending time on a sailboat is a life experience in itself. Skills I have learned on the boat will carry over into many other aspects of my life. Things like leadership, critical-thinking, focus, planning/organization, and let’s not forget pure grit! I’ve made great new friends, awesome memories, gained loads of experience, had countless laughs, a few humbling moments with mother nature, built massive biceps (half joking), and the list goes on!

I have found the Apprenticeship Program to be an asset that pays back dividends in experiences, skills, and memories. When I’m on the boat, I’m outside, laughing, having fun, moving, breathing, and living life. I encourage everyone to do the same. Get out there and enjoy this wonderful outdoor sport.
— Dawson, 2016 Sea to Sky Sailing Apprentice

Both our Apprentices committed not only to a year of fun and instructive sailing, but also to a year of learning about every aspect of the sailing life.  Glossy sailing magazines may have us believe that sailing is always a glamorous leisure activity, but the reality for most sailors most of the time is very different.  

Kelsey came to us with a background in dinghy sailing on lakes in Ontario.  She had a little bit of exposure to yacht sailing already, but was eager to learn more and spend as much time on the water as she could.  Kelsey has been a fantastic Apprentice with the Sea to Sky Sailing team this year! 

Kelsey came to us with a background in dinghy sailing on lakes in Ontario.  She had a little bit of exposure to yacht sailing already, but was eager to learn more and spend as much time on the water as she could.  Kelsey has been a fantastic Apprentice with the Sea to Sky Sailing team this year! 

The Sea to Sky Apprenticeship program has given me invaluable sailing knowledge over the last year. I’ve had the opportunity to learn and practice skills related to cruising, racing, and even the less fun but extremely useful area of boat maintenance. Katy provided a fun and supportive environment to learn in, and made my transition from sailing and racing on dinghies to yachts a smooth and enjoyable one!
— Kelsey, 2016 Sea to Sky Sailing Apprentice

Our Apprentices have learned how to clean and repair winches, choose and work with marine sealants and adhesives, perform basic engine maintenance, provision for longer sailing trips, repair gelcoat damage and of course swab the decks!  They have built skills that are part of a real sailor's arsenal. 

We are already looking ahead to 2017 and continuing our commitment to promoting sailing to a younger demographic.  We'll be updating our program parameters over the next few weeks, and will be taking on 2 new apprentices for next year's program. For young adults ages 16-25 interested in having an exceptional year on the water, we'll start accepting applications for next year's Apprenticeship Program shortly.  

This year's Apprentices have been able to participate in some of the most exciting racing events in the Pacific Northwest- including our first big event on our new-to-us boat: the Round Salt Spring Race in May 2016.

This year's Apprentices have been able to participate in some of the most exciting racing events in the Pacific Northwest- including our first big event on our new-to-us boat: the Round Salt Spring Race in May 2016.