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Junior safety-at-sea seminars are ‘fun with a purpose’

Building on the concept that "preparation prevents accidents from becoming catastrophes," the Storm Trysail Foundation held its popular one-day Junior Safety-at-Sea Seminars at four different sailing hotspots during July.

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Returning to Newport, R.I., for a fourth year; Larchmont, N.Y., for a 13th year; Annapolis, Md., for an 11th year; and taking place for the first time in Perth Amboy, N.J., the seminars are sponsored by the Jamie Boeckel Memorial Fund for Safety at Sea, which, in addition to cash, donates life jackets to the programs.

"It's one thing for kids to learn to sail; it's another for them to handle, with skill and confidence, an on-the-water emergency," said Storm Trysail Club (STC) Commodore Jim Bishop, noting that more than 350 youths ages 13-18 took part. And while junior sailors normally spend most of their time on the water in small boats, this was no dinghy event. In sync with Storm Trysail Foundation's mission to introduce junior sailors to the lifetime enjoyment of big-boat racing, the participants spent a large part of their day aboard keelboats loaned by yacht club members, with dozens of volunteers serving as coaches and helpers.

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"It was a stormy day, big squalls; a good safety-at-sea day," said Lat Spinney, who co-chaired the Newport seminar.

For information about the Storm Trysail Foundation's Junior Safety-at-Sea Seminars, contact the Storm Trysail Club, 914-834-8857, or visit