AdventureSail celebrates 25 years of mentoring girls in sailing

AdventureSail celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Big Sister, Little Sister community-based sailing mentoring program at the Courageous Sailing Center in Charlestown on Aug. 19. It was organized as always by the Women’s Sailing Foundation.

Skipper Irene Choi and her Big Sisters on on a Rhodes 19 sailboat during AdventureSail’s annual day in Boston Harbor to teach girls the sport of sailing. COURTESY PHOTOS

Co-chair Joan Thayer of Marblehead said it was the best day of the summer, a gorgeous sunny day with a good 11- to 13-knot breeze out of the west.

The Big and Little Sisters arrived at Courageous shortly after 9 a.m. While the sailing center staff and volunteer skipper Colleen Charles bailed out the Rhodes 19s, other volunteers outfitted the Big and Little Sisters with life jackets. The Big Sisters were represented by Morgan Hanseen and Jen Bodde who gave a short interactive lesson on wind and how the boat is able to move through the water. It was then time to be paired up with an assigned skipper for each team. Irene Choi and Rony Sebok were two additional volunteer skippers.

“(Sailing) is a uniquely empowering experience, and at Courageous we believe that everybody should have a chance to try it,” Bodde said, who has been at Courageous for the past 10 years. “We’ll make sure that every girl who wants to keep sailing with us has that opportunity.”

Under the direction of the respective skippers, the girls and their Big Sisters helped raise the sails on the Rhodes 19, and off they went for their adventure. Thanks to a brisk wind, the boats went as far as Logan Airport.

Back at Pier 4, co-chair Pat Dieselman and her sister Dorothea Rennicks-Cormier fired up the grill for the returning adventurers, who then enjoyed burgers, chips, drinks and cookies.

Skipper Colleen Weeks is shown with her Little Sisters on a Rhodes 19 during AdventureSail’s annual day in Boston Harbor to teach girls the sport of sailing.

“It’s hard to believe I have been involved — working with Joan — in the AdventureSail Program for 25 years,” said Dieselman. “It’s always so rewarding to watch the girls’ excitement after sailing mostly for the first time in Boston Harbor.”

Following lunch, the girls engaged in a hands-on knot-tying session, again under the direction of their skipper. Using her newly acquired knot skills, one little sister tied two lines into one, and jumped rope.

The girls went home with AdventureSail bags stuffed with items from school supplies to snacks, AdventureSail T-shirts and hats.

Sponsors for this annual special day included Marblehead Bank, Cassidy Associates Insurance Agency and Dieselman. Courageous Sailing Center provided its facilities, boats and staff.

AdventureSail is a nationwide program of the Women’s Sailing Foundation, a 501(c)3 educational organization. Its mission is to enhance the lives of women and girls through education and access to the sport of sailing.

Joe McConnell | + posts

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