L.A.S.T. + FUN Fleet = Better Sailing

Photo: Newly minted sailors from the Arizona Sailing Foundation Adult Learn to Sail Class … ready for their next sailing adventure.

Many people join AYC to learn sailing or to improve basic sailing skills. Others are interested in returning to the sport after an absence of many years. Still others want social opportunities and non-competitive club sailing – racing is fun, but it’s not for everyone.

Introducing L.A.S.T. and the new FUN Fleet – two new, combined, programs to help our members strengthen their skills, and learn more about sailing … all in a fun, social, non-competitive environment.

About L.A.S.T.

Debbie Huntsman

L.A.S.T. – Learning About Sailing Things – is a series of about six (6) shore-based discussions and hands-on activities, running concurrently with AYC’s Spring Series racing, and intended to teach sailing fundamentals. Participants learn sailing nomenclature, marlinspike seamanship, sail trim, water safety, basic sailing skills, boat maintenance, and more. Instruction is provided by the L.A.S.T. Coordinator and guest instructors, enabling participants to meet and learn from various members of the AYC sailing community. Sessions are social, interactive, fun, and self-directed – participants help define what THEY want to learn. On-shore instruction is complemented with on-the-water sailing opportunities through partnership with the new FUN Fleet, enabling participants to put their new skills right to work.

L.A.S.T. provides an excellent on-ramp for new sailors to become active in Arizona sailing, to assimilate into the Arizona Yacht Club, and to develop a fuller understanding of membership benefits. Participants are expected to “give back” to the sailing community by volunteering for an AYC activity or event.

L.A.S.T. is led by Debbie Huntsman, a US Sailing instructor, and a past instructor for the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, and the National Safe Boating Council. Captain Huntsman is the immediate past president of the National Women’s Sailing Association, and a frequent presenter at the Sailing Convention for Women and the National Women’s Sailing Association Conference. Debbie has sailed everything from Wetas and Sunfish to tall ships, and has owned an American 14.6, a Santana 23D, and currently owns “NOW”, a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 37 on the coast. She’s a continual student of both cruising and racing. “There’s always more to learn and places to sail.” Debbie presently crews on Sockeye, a Santana 20, for AYC racing on Lake Pleasant.

Preferred pricing is available to AYC members and graduates of the Arizona Sailing Foundation (ASF) Adult Learn to Sail Class. Class size is limited.

About the new FUN Fleet:

Ralph Vatalaro

Do you have a sailboat and enjoy sailing; but, aren’t currently interested in racing? FUN Fleet is for you! It offers about five (5) on-the-water events (beginning in February), running concurrently with the AYC Spring Series. FUN Fleet sailors will improve their sailing and seamanship while helping others learn basic sailing skills.

Activities are social, fun, and enable you to meet many other members of the Arizona sailing community. Most activities are non-competitive; but, we’ll run a race or two as a group to learn about AYC racing.

Skippers are strongly encouraged to regularly take-aboard L.A.S.T. participants. Those earning the most participation points will qualify for rankings of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for the “FUN Fleet Championship”.

Ralph Vatalaro is the FUN Fleet captain. During Ralph’s 10-years as an AYC member, he’s served as Cruising Fleet Captain and crewed in the AYC Santana Fleet. He has also completed several international and domestic charters, most recently in Fiji. He sails “Va Bene”, a very nice Capri 22.

FUN Fleet registration is FREE to any skipper agreeing to take-aboard L.A.S.T. participants!