Although winter snow storms are still causing canceled school days, staff at St. Croix Sailing School already have spring and summer sailing on their minds.

St. Croix Sailing School (SCSS) recently opened their 2018 registration for classes and camps. The school, located at 105 Buckeye St., is also celebrating ten years of youth sailing programs in the St. Croix Valley community, expanded youth and adult sailing programs and a new partnership with the City of Hudson, which will allow them to move their building closer to the waterfront.

Over their decade of sailing education, 2,000 students have learned to sail, said Tom Vandervoort, one of the school’s four founding members.

“I think it’s a measure for how much people like this sport once they get to know it,” he said. “We’re very grateful to the community.”

Spring high school sailboat racing starts in April; registration is $450 for the season. SCSS also offers club racing teams and week-long youth sailing camps. SCSS will host the season’s first regatta on the St. Croix River April 14.

SCSS added several sessions this year including an Intermediate Club 420 for kids more than 100 pounds and an Adult Club 420 Sailing program for beginning to advanced sailors. They also updated their youth big boat racing courses as well as their adult sailing lessons, which now include an adult keelboat certification program. Their weekly summer programs run Monday through Friday, June 11 to Aug. 17. All of SCSS’ classes are on the river by downtown Hudson, Wis.

In 2008, four members of the St. Croix Sailing Club decided they wanted to teach kids in the area how to sail. There was a need in the area, Vandervoort said.

“It’s a sport that teaches teamwork and provides skill,” he said, adding it can be competitive if the sailor wants it to be. “It’s a wonderful thing to do out in nature.”

Tracy Maki’s son, Evan Dybvig, “grew up” in the sailing school. Without the funds to buy a canoe, kayak or pontoon, Maki said the river felt inaccessible. SCSS provided an affordable opportunity to be on the water.

“This is the only sailing school on the St. Croix River,” Maki said. “It gave us a way to engage in the river and we didn’t have to provide any of the equipment.”

Dybvig was hooked when he took his first sailing day camp with SCSS at age 8, Maki said. She added that she was comfortable letting him sail so young because of SCSS’ safety practices. Now, Dybvig is 17, a junior at Stillwater Area High School, and he works as a SCSS summer junior instructor. Maki said Dybvig competed with the high school racing team last year.

SCSS offers sailing programs for ages 7 to 70 plus. Each of the school’s instructors completes Red Cross CPR/first aid training and follows the U.S. Sailing curriculum. SCSS owns several boats used worlwide to teach youth sailing. They own eight-foot Optimist Dinghys, 14-foot Club 420’s, J22 keelboats used for racing and the Laser, an Olympic-class boat for more advanced junior racers.

Members of the Stillwater sailing team have trained with these boats to compete against sailing teams from around the Metro-area and Midwest. SCSS has sent a competitive sailing team to an annual competition in Chicago for the past three years. In 2015 and 2016, the Stillwater team placed third. In 2017, the team placed fifth.

Boats and equipment are paid for by donations. SCSS also uses grant money and other donations to offer sailing scholarships for people who want to learn to sail but need financial assistance.

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Contact Kim Schneider at

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