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Youth Sailing Program Launching From Inwood's La Marina This Weekend

By Lindsay Armstrong | August 21, 2015 12:21pm | Updated on August 24, 2015 9:00am
 Chelsea's Hudson River Community Sailing will set up a second branch in Inwood.
Youth Sailing Program Coming to La Marina
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INWOOD — A Chelsea-based boating organization that works with underserved youth is setting sail for Inwood.

Hudson River Community Sailing, which operates from Pier 66 in Chelsea, will open a second branch at La Marina in Inwood Hill Park beginning Saturday, the group said.

HRCS is a nonprofit organization that partners with public high schools to help students who need support in math and science. Students improve their STEM skills through a hands-on after-school program that includes learning to sail and boat building.

The organization also provides fee-based sailing lessons to the wider community to support its youth program.

When HRCS’s Inwood branch opens, it will offer paid sailing lessons as well as some free community sailing days, said executive director Robert Burke.

"It’s just to kind of give the community a taste," Burke said. "We want to get to meet people in the community and get them to meet us."

Over the winter, the organization will work to target local public schools and youth organizations to expand its program to Uptown students by 2016, Burke said.

Because HRCS will have docks at La Marina, but no boathouse, the program may look different than the one in Chelsea, but it will still give students a chance to build their skills, he said.

"It would bring a mix of kids from the community and schools, get them out on the water and give them a chance to increase their skills, whether on the water, through boat building or boat maintenance," Burke said. "Our goal is always building them toward independence so that they could sail on their own."

He said the group has already started speaking with some local schools and that it has reached out to foundations to try to secure funding.

Burke, who has previously done work with Outward Bound and the Children's Aid Society at I.S. 218 in Inwood, said he is excited to bring the program Uptown.

"I’ve had my eye on Inwood for a while," he said. "There’s nobody up there doing this stuff, so if groups like ours don’t get in there, kids are not going to have the chance to get out on the water."

The Inwood branch will be open every weekend from Aug. 22 through late October. There are three trips a day beginning at 10 a.m., with the last sail leaving at about 4:30 p.m.