BI Community Sailing hosts keelboat instructor clinic

Thu, 06/10/2021 - 5:30pm

The level of sailing expertise on Block Island was brought up a notch with the hosting of a US Sailing keelboat instructor certification clinic by BI Community Sailing last weekend. The event, which is only held at a few sailing clubs each year, is in great demand because it is the only way for an advanced sailing school to get its sailing instructors certified to teach in larger keelboats.

The instructor candidates came from all over the East Coast including Meg Degan from St. Croix, VI, Pierre Berthier from Coral Gables, FL, Paul Shashty, from Norwalk, CT, Amy Hubner from Portsmouth, RI, and Andy Connelly and Henry duPont, both on the sailing staff of Block Island Community Sailing. The clinic was taught by instructor and trainer John Alofsin, from Newport, RI, for US Sailing.
The clinic assumes that the instructor candidates are already accomplished sailing instructors and serves to verify that their classroom and on-the-water teaching technique meet the very high US Sailing Keelboat Sailing School teaching standards. Each instructor candidate is required to prepare a number of classroom lectures on complex sailing topics that are delivered in a classroom setting for critical review by the instructor and the other instructor candidates. The on-the-water test portion of the course requires each instructor candidate to perform precision maneuvers in a keelboat while “single-handed,” which in a three-man boat, is no small accomplishment.
Both Connelly and duPont, from Block Island Community Sailing, were able to pass the course on the first try and become Certified US Sailing keelboat instructors, which puts Block Island Community Sailing on track to become one of the few certified adult sailing centers in the region.

Special thanks to Rita Draper who graciously provided the lovely sitting room in the Narraganset Inn for a classroom, and Justin Lewis of the New Harbor Boat Basin who provided the slips for the support boats needed to run the event. Without their support, this event would not have been possible.

Block Island Community Sailing is Block Island’s adult/family sailing center, offering a low-cost sailing experience in larger boats. To learn more about the programs or to join see