By MARY HURSH
Every Saturday and Sunday during the summer months, Wawasee Yacht Club hosts E-Scow, Lightning, Sunfish and I-20 fleet racing events. These events draw many sailors and spectators to the triangular area in front of the Spink condominiums.
Some of the sailors in the program learned the basics through the junior sailing program offered at the club and others got their introduction to the sport as a member of the Outdoor Water Sports program offered at Wawasee High School. Sunfish, Bics, 420s, and I-20s are used in the instruction. The high school furnishes two Sunfish and the club furnishes five for student use.
Janay Hackleman teaches the course, which is an elective within the physical education program at the school. “The main focus of the class is sailing, but we also do kayaking and canoeing,” she said. The class has met this trimester from 1:50 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. for the past seven weeks.
Hackleman has taught this course since 2013. At that time, she and Jeff Herdrich, head of the junior sailing program at the yacht club, designed the class. “We wanted to get the kids involved in sailing, a sport many had not attempted despite living so close to several lakes. I spend the first several days of school teaching basic sailing terminology and then Jeff and the other teachers instruct the students on the finer points of sailing,” she added. Some of the students have gone on to sail in area regattas and run the club buoy boat for weekend racing.
Hackleman and Herdrich are joined in this outdoor adventure by Wawasee Yacht Club members and area residents Andy Allen, Bryan Bahler and Rick Lemberg. These teachers show the kids how to fall off the wind, read their sails and look for puffs of wind. When the students arrive and launch their boats, the teachers set the buoys from the yacht club committee boat. They also jump on boats to help the students one-on-one with sailing a boat upwind and downwind. “All sailors watch a YouTube video on capsizing and so when they actually practice capsizing, they know the correct procedures to right the boat.” At the end of the session, a ride in an A-Scow (seven passengers) and E-scow (five passengers) caps the sailing experience.
While the students are sailing, Hackleman takes a series of pictures, which she uploads to a file and shares with the students. They create a three-minute video of their own using her pictures and their words to explain their personal sailing experiences to the class. They project their videos on the large BenQ board in her classroom. In addition, each student writes a thank-you card to the yacht club and the instructors and a two-page report detailing their sailing experience. They also help put away the junior sailing boats, the benches and the tables and chairs in and around the clubhouse.
Canoes and kayaks owned by the Boy Scouts were the boats of choice for the students at the club during their final week.
This year is the 11th year of teaching for Hackleman. Currently, she teaches life guarding, modern fitness and athletic training. “I spend the majority of my time teaching physical education for freshmen,” she sid. Previously she taught at John Adams High School in South Bend.
The Wawasee Property Owners Association contributes money for the cost of using the club facilities.