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December, and 35 youngsters, including Irwin’s grandson Pearson, registered. At the skippers meeting they sang Christmas carols before Wagenseil reminded the young sailors, “You are taking what you love to do and making it a gift to others.” Bill Irwin, Ted’s brother, and Michelle, Ted’s daugh-

ter, made special presentations at the event. This project proved so popular, another was held in 2016 and probably will become an annual event if Wagenseil has anything to say about it. The association’s website is, and Wagenseil can be reached at 727-510-6153.

Orlando’s Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church’s Program There is no website for Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church’s program. In fact, it is not incorporated, is significantly smaller and much younger than the one in Indian Rocks Beach. It is a grass roots effort—virtually a hobby— headed up by Herschel Hughes, a retired marriage and family therapist/naval officer. The inspiration to offer sailing lessons to youngsters came to Hughes about four years ago when he attended a baptism. “Like many sailors, my own offspring and grandchildren have a passing interest in sailing but not the passion that I have for it,” the church layman said. “Only one of them actually owns a sailboat, and so I have a lot of left-over energy to put into teaching someone to sail.” Hughes has owned eight sailboats during the more than 50 years that he has been sailing, but he realized that he needed to become a certified instructor. Thus, he took US Sailing’s Level 1 (small boat) instructor course in Fort Myers in 2014 and was an honor graduate. After preparing his MacGregor 26X and two small boats for classes, Hughes approached Jimmy Steele, who serves as youth director for Grace Covenant, about offering learn-to-sail classes. Despite his own anxiety about climbing into a sailboat, Steele was definitely on board with that additional activity. Hughes then enlisted the support of Scott Nimmo, another church member who had sailing experience. Nimmo had completed an American Sailing Association course, lived on Lake Barton and owned a Hobie 16 as well as a 16-foot Compac. Slowly but surely, Hughes has been collecting a variety of vessels and his fleet includes a 10-foot O’Day Sprite, an 11-foot Snark and an 8-foot Achilles LT -4 inflatable with a lateen sail. Some of the lessons occur on Orlando’s Lake Conway where Hughes’ daughter, Heather, has a home. And some may occur aboard Hughes’ MacGregor that is home-ported on Lake Monroe in Sanford. With so many lakes available in central Florida, the opportunities are almost limitless. Actual instruction started with a classroom lecture and a demonstration, almost a petting zoo type of environment. Only three high school students attended, but Hughes has persisted and subsequent sessions have attracted more and more people, including adults. “We are certainly not an organized fleet,” Hughes said. “So far, I have avoided actually trying to make it an officially church-sponsored program. Our church elders would have to decide that. “My thinking is that, if it takes off and a core of interested adults develop to slowly expand the effort, perhaps, at some point it might be desirable to make it more officially part of the church program.” Hughes does promote his program by placing invitations to go sailing in his church’s newsletter. And naturally,

News & Views for Southern Sailors

Kids sailing the eight-foot Achilles inflatable with a lateen sail at Orlando’s Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church sailing program.

he uses those notices to share some Christian background. “Knowledge of sailing skills can shed new light on one’s understanding Jesus’ decision to pick his first four disciples from the Galilean fishing fleet,” his announcement reads. “He also used sailing experiences and stories for teaching his disciples.” Hughes went on to say that Jesus was comfortable around boats propelled by sail and oar. “Likewise, an awareness of sailing dynamics helps us appreciate Paul’s voyages, especially Luke’s rich account of Paul’s voyage from Caesarea to Rome culminating in his dramatic shipwreck on the Island of Malta,” he wrote. He concludes his notice by commenting, “No actual shipwrecks planned.”


December 2017


Profile for SOUTHWINDS Magazine

Southwinds December 2017  

A free, printed sailing magazine reporting on sailing in the southeast U.S: Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Missi...

Southwinds December 2017  

A free, printed sailing magazine reporting on sailing in the southeast U.S: Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Missi...