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Growing the Sport from the Grass Roots By Dan Dickison

ing instruction in the afterucked away in a noon, but we sail every quiet corner of the day right across the chanCharleston City Marnel from the Coast Guard ina, near the end of a wellstation.” worn series of piers, sits a Koenig, who has been small, open-air tent adjaat the helm of CCS for two cent to a raft of float-on and a half years, says that docks. Nearby, towering the organization has cement columns support grown in significant ways the James Island Expressin that span of time. That way, which carries vehicugrowth has been manifest lar traffic back and forth Kids taking a swim break on a fun Friday afternoon. in an expansion of activiover the murky waters of Photo courtesy Charleston Community Sailing. ties and facilities that has the Ashley River. On this further enabled the non-profit to address its stated mission mid-morning in July, there’s barely enough breeze to chase of “providing access, facilities and instruction (in the sport) away the scent of pluff mud, and roughly enough sun to fry to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, skill levels and an egg on the dock. This humble little enclave—the home of physical abilities.” Charleston Community Sailing—is silent for the moment, Two years ago, when interviewed for this same space in but soon it will spring to life with youngsters from 10 to 16 SOUTHWINDS, Koenig allowed that she felt “overwhelmed jabbering away as they swarm the docks to de-rig the orgaalmost every day,” but loved it just the same. Now, she nization’s fleet of 420 dinghies following a morning of sailseems almost unnaturally tranquil as she observes the ing class out on the river. cacophonic frenzy of kids all around her, occasionally dis“Five days a week, for nine weeks of the summer,” pensing an instructive comment. It helps tremendously, she explains Jessica Koenig, the executive director of this nonsays, that CCS has been able to hire experienced, credenprofit organization, “we run sailing classes. Mostly they’re tialed instructors – including former two-time collegiate beginner sailing classes in the morning and advanced racAll-American Alana O’Reilly, who grew up just across the river on James Island and was once a CCS kid herself. SELL YOUR BOAT (O’Reilly now works during the school year as an assistant sailing coach for Georgetown University.) SOUTHWINDS CLASSIFIED ADS Work! “This has been our busiest summer to date,” continues Koenig, “and it’s also the first time since I started that I’ve been able to stay onshore and concentrate on our other business,” she explains. By that, she means writing grant proposals, planning fundraisers, paying bills and generally REACH SAILORS THROUGHOUT THE SOUTH attending to the administrative side of things. Of course, employing additional instructors (aside from Text ad up to 30 words – $25 for 3 months head instructor O’Reilly, there are five other instructors workText and photo ad - $50 for 3 months ing this summer) is only one measure of the organization’s FREE Boating Gear ads for all items under $200 recent growth. CCS now has a sufficient complement of floaton docks for its fleet of 13 420s, as well as four powerboats to (941) 795-8704 support on-the-water activities. In addition, for the past two


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August 2009