By Celeste Christiansen
They collect around four small Lidos, one white, one mint green, one red, one blue. They attentively listen as a man they call Skipper Steve talks about cardinal points, wind direction, and shouts sailor commands.
“Gybe-ho!” he roars.
Two students respond to his call by moving to the opposite side of the small boat.
Those gathering here belong to a sailing class, instructed by Skipper Steve and several members of the BYU Sailing Club.
Steve Morris, an adjunct professor, is paid by BYU to teach the sailing class during the spring term. After taking money out to pay taxes, Miller donates the rest to the Sailing Club to assist in the funding of club activities, he said. In return, the club members assist in teaching the sailing class offered through the Recreation Management Youth Leadership Department.
“They [club members] actually do the lion”s share of the work,” Morris said, “the going out and putting the boats up, and taking the boats out and teaching people on the water. I kind of do the shore work, the land part of it.”
During the spring, the sailing club concentrates generally on teaching the class, but at other times the club has meetings, activities and lessons, said one club member in attendance to help instruct the class.
Club Rear Commodore, Jake Crisp, 26, from Arvada, Colo., has been a member of the Sailing Club for three years.
“It”s the best club on campus,” Crisp said. “We sail whenever the weather is great, we go camping, and we do all sorts of activities. It”s peanuts, you know. Dues are $10 a semester; you will never beat that anywhere for sailing.”
Morris said there are 15 students enrolled in the sailing class and five club-member instructors. So the class comes close to achieving individual instruction for the students.
“I think of all the sailing programs I”ve seen,” Morris said, “and I am familiar with a lot of them around the country. We have perhaps the most intense one-on-one instruction of anybody. This is actually a very quality sailing class.”
Aaron Taylor, 21, a junior from Omaha, Neb., majoring in accounting, is one of Skipper Steve”s sailing students.
“I enjoy the on-the-water experience,” Taylor said. “By the end, I hope to be a captain in the sailing club.”
According to club officers, captain is a status achieved in the club after completion of a certification process.
“If you are a certified captain, it means that you have proven you can handle a boat, so you”re trusted to take out a boat on your own,” Crisp said.
The sailing class is only offered during spring term, Morris said.
“We are in a drought situation and by the time this class is over, there is barely enough water to float a cork much less a boat,” he said. “So until the water situation improves, I think we will probably just be content with doing the class in the spring.”
Although sailing is statistically one of the safest sports around, Morris said, the first and most important thing taught in the class is safety. At the beginning of the class, students must pass a swimming test in the Richards Building pool. There, the students demonstrate their ability to stay afloat unassisted for 15 minutes. And the same principles of safety apply to the Sailing Club.
“The club”s objective is to teach the joy of sailing, and a lot of that is safety,” Morris said. “You want to have a good experience on the water and return to sail again.”