August 18 – 24, 2023Vol. 25, No. 10

Inviting All Kids to Sail

Creating awareness: Victor Esposito, JMG; Dan Mac­Glashing, Director, Center for All Seasons; Olivia and Annabelle Nolan, sailing instructors; Kimberlly and Andrew Dallas, GPYC Commodore; Esther Perne, Summertime in the Belgrades. Photo by Ethan Perne.

by Esther J. Perne

There’s magic to discovering life on a lake; there’s adventure to skimming along with the wind; there’s contentment to gliding serenely across a broad expanse of water and accomplishment to maneuvering through the challenging narrows.

Sailing is a world that people learn about and love. It is a lifetime, individual sport, a builder of character and self-confidence. And, it is a social outlet across the country and the continents.

Sailing can be learned at any age. There are lessons for adults available locally with the Great Pond Yacht Club (GPYC), but it’s the area’s youth that sailing enthusiasts and youth leaders in the Belgrades region and beyond want to introduce to the sport, to add this lasting positive dimension to their lives.

Building on the current Youth Sailing Program established in 2014 at Belgrade’s Center for All Seasons, their goal is to create more awareness among local residents, especially kids, through a tighter relationship among the Great Pond Yacht Club, the Center for All Seasons and the Town of Belgrade.

Through an administrative arrangement with SailMaine, which is based in Portland, the existing summer sailing program holds classes five days a week during six, one-week courses, two sessions per day. From 9:00 a.m. to noon, youth 8 through 12 years of age meet, and from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., youth 12 through 17 years of age meet, using a fleet of boats purchased by the GPYC and donated to SailMaine.

This summer the classes are being taught by a dynamic duo, sisters Olivia and Annabelle Nolan, college freshmen, who grew up sailing on Great Pond and who took the Belgrade sailing classes. Enthusiastic instructors, they also have proven adept at providing alternative sail activities in the program’s cozy base cottage during inclement weather (i.e. downpours) or when there is no wind.

Lessons might require wind but they don’t necessarily require money to register. Children, especially teens, and of course their parents should know that there are scholarships available for lessons through SailMaine, the Union Church in Belgrade Lakes and the Great Pond Yacht Club.

According to Dan MacGlashing, Director of Belgrade’s Parks & Recreation, “I just want kids to have an opportunity for recreation.” In regard to scholarships for the sailing program, he states, “I’m going to facilitate this as much as I can.”

With 60 slots out of a total of 72 filled this summer, there is room for expansion. There is one week left to inquire about vacancies. And then, there is next summer.

There’s magic to discovering life on a lake; there’s magic to learning to sail. Information is available at

©2023 by Summertime in the Belgrades. All rights reserved.