Windjammers mark 10 years of teaching women to sail |

Windjammers mark 10 years of teaching women to sail

Roseann Keegan

Adam Jensen / Tahoe Daily TribuneWind Dance Captain Diane Martin sails in the Tahoe Windjammers Yacht Club weekly "beer can" race last month.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – When South Lake Tahoe resident Diane Martin took her first sailing class in the early 1970s with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, she kept falling over. But she didn’t care.

“I thought, ‘Whee, it’s so fun to tip your boat over and get back up,'” Martin said. “It was a gas.”

For the past 10 years, Martin and other female members of Tahoe Windjammers have been sharing their love of sailing with the community through an annual women’s only sailing clinic. This year’s event is July 24 in the Tahoe Keys Marina.

The proceeds from the clinic will go to the Susan B. Komen Foundation, a nonprofit breast cancer research and advocacy organization, in memory of Lake Tahoe Windjammers Yacht Club member Andrea Johnson, a former clinic instructor.

“She passed away two years ago this summer,” Martin said. “She was in her 30s.”

The annual event was founded 10 years ago by Martin and fellow sailors Viola Coyne and Lynn Woodward. The main goal of the clinic is to get women out on the water and give them a non-intimidating environment for learning.

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“We want to make sure we’re there for them,” she said. “We want them to feel it’s OK to ask whatever you want. There are no bad questions.”

There are three options for the clinic: Beginning, intermediate and advanced. Beginners will learn sailing fundamentals, basic techniques and knots. Intermediate participants will focus on sail trim, helming, tacking, radio and man overboard rescue. Advanced intermediate sailors will learn sail trim and spinnaker handling.

“It’s challenging that you have to learn a whole new language,” Martin said. “Everything has a name – that’s intimidating because it’s new.

“We don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable, that’s why it’s women teaching women,” she added.

Participants don’t need their own boat, and only need to bring appropriate clothing, white-soled shoes and a life jacket, if possible.

Club member Erin Esposito provides a continental breakfast and a gourmet lunch.

“I’m telling you, she does a fabulous job,” Martin said.

The cost is $65 for Windjammer Yacht Club members and $75 for non-members. Space is limited to 20 participants and pre-registration is required. Registration forms are available at http://www.tahoewindjammers