Small sailboats gaining popularity

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Small sailboats from 8 to 14 feet are fueling a renewed interest in sailing, drawing many to the sport along Florida's west coast and rekindling interest in racing basic boats, according to a story in today’s Fort Myers News-Press.

About 2.6 million Americans climbed aboard a sailboat more than once in 2003, according to a participation survey by the National Sporting Goods Association, and many were small-boat sailors, the newspaper reported.

The News-Press said a new group is emerging on the waterways composed of adults and seniors who are fed up with paying $10-per-foot dock fees and $5,000 a year on maintenance and repairs for larger sailboats.

"Every time you turned around, it was 50 bucks to fix something," said John Kremski, who organizes monthly small-sailboat races in downtown Fort Myers. Kremski told the newspaper he sold his 32-foot sailboat when he realized he was spending more time working on it than he was sailing it.

Although the number of small-boat sailors who live in Southwest Florida is unclear because the state does not require registration for boats without engines, the Edison Sailing Center in Fort Myers has a fleet of 150 boats itself.

Steve Olive, who instructs grade-schoolers and teenagers at the Edison Sailing Center in 8- to 14-foot boats, said the smaller sizes allow the youngsters become better sailors because they are closer to the water, their senses are more in tune to current and wind, and they have to react much quicker.

"If you can handle a small boat well, then a big boat is a piece of cake," Olive told the newspaper.

  • For more of the latest news, click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *