MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Gottschalk Marina is host to not
only small watercraft, fluorescent colored Aqua-Cycles and a plethora of blue crab; this
summer it is also being called home by a new sailing course offered to anyone interested
over the age of 18.
"I've been sailing since I was eight, and I used to teach back in England,” said Julie
McSwain, the primary course instructor for the sailing lessons. As a licensed, seasoned
instructor on the water, McSwain has taken on the task of opening up her classes to
Marines, their dependents and any Department of Defense personnel aboard Marine
Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
Though the class is starting with humble, yet ambitious beginnings, McSwain hopes for it
to become something Marines can use to get away from usual stresses of the Corps and enjoy themselves on a sunny day.
"I intend to start with this class, but would eventually like to begin an advanced course,"
said McSwain. "I'd a[so be interested in doing a wounded warrior class and maybe even a
kid's camp next summer."
For now however, the course is working with the limited resources of Gottschalk Marina,
able to fit in only eight people per class cycle. While the usual summer agenda only allows for weekend classes, class dates may be moved into the week depending on how quickly the weekends fill up.
Though the class is only a two-day crash course in how to navigate a small sailboat, it is
thorough and informative enough to certify one through the U.S. Sailing Association. Included in the course curriculum is naval and sailing terminology, checking weather,
proper treating and storing of equipment, rigging boats, sailing away from and into the
dock and general dockside behavior.
The lesson space is restricted between the McHugh Street bridge and posts that divide boat
space and small-craft traffic. Once an individual becomes certified, however, boat space may be entered with the sailboats available at the marina.
The course costs a grand total of$94.95, to include the cost of sailing books, the daily rental fee for the boats and a basic course summary of how to sail a small sunfish watercraft. Though the $19.95 purchase of sailing books is not required, they come highly recommended by the instructor.
"All they have to do is come sign up here at the marina," said Cameron Brooks, manager
of the Camp Lejeune Marine Recreation Branch. Gottschalk not only provides the
watercraft on which students will be learning; it also provides lifejackets and a refund
depending on cancellations and how early they are made in advance.
Those who sign up for the course are advised to bring a lunch, close-toed shoes and a
positive attitude, willing to learn the skill of small-boat sailing.