Sailing continues to thrive in Richmond Hill. It has been 3 ½ years since sailing came to Richmond Hill in the form of a High School Sailing Club.
The team has grown from six to eight members in its first season to 21 members during the 2006-2007 season. Not only has interest grown over time but so too has the ability of the sailors.
This year’s team has qualified to represent Richmond Hill in the South Atlantic Interscholastic Sailing Association’s District Championships.
Much of this team’s success has been the ability to join hands with the Brunswick High School Sailing program. Last spring the more advanced members of the Richmond Hill team traveled twice a week to practice at the Brunswick facility, in more challenging conditions on open water. This season also marked the beginning of the Richmond Hill Sailing Boosters, a group formed to support youth sailing in our area.
Keeping these sailors moving forward in their ability was a challenge facing this expanding group. The logistics of having High School Sailors traveling an hour in opposite directions, some to Brunswick and some to Savannah Sailing Centers Lake Mayer Facility, and interest growing in younger youth in our community prompted the organizers to search for sailing venues closer to home. After two years of searching, Richmond Hill’s sailing enthusiasts have set their sights on the wonderful Medway River to the south of Richmond Hill. The Medway River location is only a 20-25 minute drive from Richmond Hill. The fact that the river is wide and sits with an open lane for the afternoon sea breeze to fill in, makes this a prime location for small boat racing. During the spring of 2006, with the help of the Savannah Sailing Center in allowing 4 boats to be moved to this location, and the generous offer by Gene and Carole Brogdon to keep the boats on their property adjacent to the public boat ramp, the team had the opportunity to try out the location. Well the test was a success! The water and breeze was perfect.The Sailing Boosters have continued this year to work on a more permanent facility on the Medway River and in December made a decision to start raising the funds to buy a fleet of Twelve 420 sailboats to support the Richmond Hill Sailing program. The 420 is a 4.2 meter long sailboat used in both high school and College racing. Again with the gracious offer by Gene and Carole Brogdon to keep the boats on their property the group began to look for good used boats.
To everyone’s surprise they were able to find nine, 3 year old 420’s with minimal use and in great condition at a great price.
With a contribution from Savannah Sailing Center’s founder Mr. John McIntosh Sr. and a loan from Savannah Sailing Center the boat deal seemed attainable.
The Richmond Hill Sailing Boosters immediately went out into the community and asked local business leaders to support this effort. There was an almost instantaneous response to the need. The Richmond Hill Sailing Boosters and Savannah Sailing Center would like to thank Mr. John McIntosh Sr., Crossroads Center, RE/MAX Accent, Smile Innovations and The Station X-change, and Mr. and Mrs. Tom Sawyer for their generous sponsorship.
The nine 420’s have found their temporary home again on Gene and Carole Brogdon’s property and the team has been practicing for the District Championship. Practices have been particularly exciting as the newer members who have until recently been at Lake Mayer have joined the team and are enjoying the challenges of open water and progressing nicely.
The Richmond Hill Sailing Boosters are working on an agreement with a property owner in Sunbury to position a floating dock, for the boats to be kept on, at his property. This will make the boats quicker and easier to launch.
The Richmond Hill Sailing Boosters as an outreach program of the Savannah Sailing Center hope to develop a sight for not only high school sailors.
They hope to offer week long summer clinics for intermediate junior sailors and begin to integrate in adult lessons as well.
Beginning sailing lessons are available through the Savannah Sailing Center’s Lake Mayer facility.
The RH Sailing Boosters hope to bring this wonderful life long sport to all ages in our Richmond Hill/Bryan County Community and provide weekly sailboat racing opportunities for local sailors.
The Richmond Hill Sailing Boosters has been busy planning their First Annual Oyster/Chicken Roast Fundraiser.
The group hopes to find the final boat sponsors for their new fleet of 420’s.
They are also raising funds to buy supplies needed to build the floating docks, new sails, and spare parts.
The fundraiser will take place on April 28 at the Outriggers Grill on Kilkenney Creek from 3-7 p.m.
Come learn about the sailing programs and see the kids sail on the creek while enjoying an Oyster/chicken roast with friends. Don’t miss this event. Tickets are currently on sale at RE/MAX Accent, Lavender Hill SpaSalon, Ella’s, and Outrigger’s Grill. The tickets will be on sale through April 20th so don’t delay. Please call Carrie Rohde 727-5315 with any questions.