In our continuing series – we’re taking a look at everything you need to know to sail the waters of the Virgin Islands.
Our own Kellie Meyer is taking on the challenge and bringing our cameras along for the ride.
In Part Two, she talks with the St. Thomas Sailing Center creator and hears why VI sailing is the best in the world.
KELLIE MEYER: “So I am here with Dave Franzel he started the St. Thomas Sailing Center here at the St. Thomas Yacht Club. Tell us why you wanted to start this up?”
DAVE FRANZEL: “Well it is funny but I had started the Boston Sailing Center a long time ago and ran it for 30 years and built it to be a big successful adult sailing program, school and club. Then I sold it and I was down here and I had been coaching for 10 years or so since I sold it and I was down here coaching and I got into a conversation with the local members of the yacht club especially the ones that like to race and believe that sailing is the mission of the Yacht Club and one thing led to another and they told me that well the racing program was diminished and the membership was decreasing and I mentioned a few things that we did at the Boston Sailing Center to keep the interest and bring new people in and one thing led to another and they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse to start a new sailing center here. So that is kind of how it came about. And I used the Boston Sailing Center success as a model for how to structure this one and then there necessarily have been some modifications because population density here is a little less than the Boston Metropolitan area and we get a lot of visitors. A lot of potential for people to want to come here in the winter because it is so beautiful here! It is unbelievable. The wind is great all the time, the water is blue and beautiful and warm. And I sailed in a lot of places and this is probably the best sailing venue I’ve ever sailed in.
KELLIE MEYER: “I know you mentioned that in your book and the book that I am learning on is a book that you wrote and I know you say in that, that is one of the best places to sail and I know you have to create the next generation of sailors you’re always taking out kids so it really is for all ages.”
DAVE FRANZEL: “So our sailing center is really for adults. We sometimes take families out and I think that is a fun vacation for a family. I took one out yesterday they loved it. But for the most part our clientele is adults. The club has a wonderful junior program but that is a different program. This is for adults- there are advantages to an all adult program.”
KELLIE MEYER: “You really get out there and really learn how to sail and that’s what I am doing hopefully by the end of the week will be a sailor myself. So I thank you so much for this opportunity. So if others want to get involved, how can they do so?”
DAVE FRANZEL: “Well they can email the sailing center at firstname.lastname@example.org they can call us at 340-690-3681 or stop by the yacht club and say hi.”
KELLIE MEYER: “Just so everyone knows they are welcome to come by it is open to anyone on the island to come by and try we really just want to encourage everyone to come out and really get on these waters.”
DAVE FRANZEL: “We absolutely welcome any adult that wants to come to learn to sail it is a great opportunity to learn to sail- if you live here – you have the time and can afford it, it’s wonderful.”