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Cornelius News

The People’s Yacht Club: Anyone can sail

Lake Norman Community sailing offers water-sport summer sessions from Blythe Landing

By Debbie Griffin. Lake Norman’s nautical buffet of activities includes everything from motorboat rentals and swimming beaches to fishing holes and stand-up paddle-boarding. You can even learn to sail locally. Lake Norman Community Sailing has offered adventures from Blythe Landing, a county-owned park, for the past 11 years.

It is where the Town of Cornelius offers water-sport summer sessions through the Park Arts Recreation and Culture Dept.

Kids or adults can set sail by starting short classroom-training sessions followed by hands-on activity in and around the fleet. Young sailors—and adults—start out learning the easiest aspects of sailing science. Cornelius resident Sean O’Donnell, the director, said the sport teaches kids responsibility, not to mention team work and the fact that there are forces like wind and water that demand respect.

O’Donnell said the adult sailing program is more popular than the youth. They have social sails in which experienced sailors are paired with novices, and there are opportunities for charter social activities.

He said it’s fun to see people learn about sailing, which requires focus and concentration yet is relaxing and feels close to the wind and water.

The center director explained “real expenses exist” in sailing, which is why people must buy passes. O’Donnell said the fleet must be maintained, things break almost daily and related equipment is necessary.

People can buy individual or family passes that entitle them to immediate access to watercraft:

Family Pass:  $450 

(12 months)

Adult Pass:  $375/$200 

(12 months/3 months)

Keelboat Pass add on:  $100

Thanks in large part to private support, the organization updated an aging building to serve as an office, added a storage shed, created a level boat yard and assembled a substantial dock.

The center sells donated boats—a major source of funding for the center—which are fixed up for sale or sail.

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