this is how you do it

Tucked away through saloon style doors on Front St. in Lahaina, Maui is the Lahaina Yacht Club. This is where, at the turn of the millennium, a struggling junior sailing program was fumbling through the motions in an environment that was more receptive to fishing tournaments than kids on sailboats. In 2002 that all changed when Keith Dinsmoor joined the Lahaina Yacht Club. He was experienced in organizing and teaching sailing on the West Coast, so the Fleet Captain at the time, Bruce Baum, recruited him to assist in revamping the junior program. They started off with only eight barely floating Sabbots teaching sixteen kids at a time.
Now, that same program has grown into a fleet of twenty Open Bics (single-man, single-sail) and six RS Feva XLs (two-man, triple-sail) boats. The program runs six weeks of sailing camps throughout the summer, and year round clinics which are one week in length. These clinics are open to any school on Maui interested in providing that experience to their students. Out of these classes, a competitive junior sailing team has grown, and now there are two regattas each year where Maui and Oahu children come together in friendly competition. One of those regattas recently took place off the shores of Lahaina on Aug. 12th and 13th and had over 30 young sailors on the line ages 8-18 years old. This was the 5th consecutive year holding the event which is named after the man who helped rebuild youth sailing into the Maui community…Keith Dinsmoor.
The Dinsmoor Regatta was born when Todd Carle of Oahu’s Hawaii Kai Boat Club saw an opportunity to offer a challenge. The two clubs were utilizing the same boats for training and it seemed only right to bring the kids together. There was only one problem… how in the world were the boats and equipment going to be transported between the islands? It’s not like 30 kids were going to sail across some of the roughest channels in the world on 9’ boats!!  That’s where Matson came to the rescue. The shipping company agreed to sponsor the event by providing a container, and now, with the 5th annual Dinsmoor Regatta under our belt, we continue to be grateful for their support. Our sincere thanks to such a giving company who supports the local community and continues to do so year after year! Without Matson there would be no Dinsmoor Regatta!
Youth sailing programs often run into obstacles such as lack of manpower or infrastructure, and Lahaina Yacht Club is no exception. Because this community caters to tourism and commercial boating, there is very little in terms of private boating resources. The program only survives thanks to the parents and volunteers who continue to take two steps forward in spite of the one step back, and find solutions when the problems seem unsolvable.
Youth sailing programs around the world continue to work at creating a safe and challenging environment for young sailors to learn, grow and enjoy the art of sailing. There is no greater reward in life than to witness a child transform from an apprehensive youngster harboring uncertainty and hesitation into a confident young adult who is daring and competent. These programs often affect a child more than any adult might realize. Teaching a child to sail guides youngsters through lessons which will be applicable throughout their lifetimes.  It offers so much more than physics and trigonometry…
Teach a child to sail and you teach them courage and confidence…optimism and perspective. You teach them determination and stamina…independence and resourcefulness. When you teach a child to sail you give them the gifts of pride and humility…they learn honor and accountability. When you teach a child to sail they learn to look within to construct their own reality and grow their personality…they learn to reflect upon themselves in their triumphs and disappointments…and their lives are guided by those tiny moments.
Please support your local youth sailing program!
The kids of Maui and O’ahu could not have this experience without the generous sponsorship of Hawaii businesses, most notably, Matson. Other generous sponsors for the 2017 Dinsmoor Regatta included CJ’s Deli, Harmony Reef, HFM Food Service, The Pioneer Inn, West Coast Sailing, Maui Printing Co., First Hawaiian Mortgage, Murrays Marine, Mountain Slope Water, Kit K. Okazaki’s State Farm of Makawao, Fidelity National Title, Maui Solar Project, and Robert J. Cartwright and Susan C. DeLoria of Whalers Associates-KW Island Living.  Thank you all!!
Lashawna Garnier
Lahaina Yacht Club Junior Sailing Coach