Empowering a next generation of sailing instructors

The Pohnpei Sailing Club initiative provides a chance for young Pacific islanders to not only sail, but to teach others to sail. The youth who have made third class are sent out as instructors of other youth. This thrusts upon them a leadership role and responsibility that is not typically available to young islanders within the traditional cultural structures.

Instructor on the bow, first class student at the helm
Instructor on the bow, first class student at the helm

The opportunity to teach others brings a new way for these young women and men to see themselves.

Another instructor on the bow, student at the helm
Another instructor on the bow, student at the helm

The instruction is peer-to-peer with both male and female instructors.

 A power boat moves through the middle of the lagoon
A power boat moves through the middle of the lagoon

The boat moving through the middle of the lagoon is said to consume seven hundred in fuel in a single trip around the island. Pohnpei is not without its wealth disparities. Through the boats he has generously provided, Kiyoshi Umezu of South Park Hotel is providing a real opportunity to economically less advantaged youth to learn to sail and to connect with the ocean. As far as I know, no one else has ever made such an investment nor such an effort to reach out in this particular way here on Pohnpei.

During this particular afternoon a rudder part gave way. Repairing or replacing that part will be difficult here. At this point only the generosity of Kiyoshi Umezu keeps the Toppers on the water. The cost of a few minutes of fuel from a boat with twin 225s would probably purchase the necessary part.

Two instructors guide their students back to dock
Two instructors guide their students back to dock

The sailing club fleet includes five hulls, but only four boats can be fielded on the water. The fifth Topper provides spare parts for the rest of the fleet for now, and I gather it lacks a boom. The boom apparently went missing at some point.

Giving specific directions
Giving specific directions

With about four Saturdays of instruction under his belt, a first classman was given the opportunity to solo.

A first class student successfully returns from his first solo
A first class student successfully returns from his first solo

Another sailor is born with a love of the wind and sea. Although he capsized once, he was trained to stand on the daggerboard and to right the boat by himself. He successfully righted the Topper and brought the boat back to port with confidence.

Another student is taken out onto the water
Another student is taken out onto the water by an instructor
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