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Photos: Young Alaska sailors learn the ropes on Big Lake

Hannah Brewster, sailing instructor with Trailside Discovery camps, gives kids from the Mountain View boys & girls club a primer on sailing. August 2, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Hannah Brewster, sailing instructor with Trailside Discovery camps, gives kids from the Mountain View boys & girls club a primer on sailing before heading out on Big Lake. August 2, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
10 year old Adait Mou, a Sudanese native, gets excited in anticipation of sailing on Big Lake. August 2, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Geoff Wright and Hannah Brewster, of Trailside Discovery camps, lead kids from the Mountain View Boys and Girls club in a sailing class on Big Lake. August 2, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Charity Coats, 12 years old, and Patience Barney, 11, wait for their sailing companions at the Alaska Sailing Club on Big Lake. August 2, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Five kids from the Mountain View Boys and Girls club embark on their sailing class on Big Lake. August 2, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
10 year old Axaiah Poland points out nearby Red-Knecked Grebes on Big Lake during a Trailside Discovery sailing class. August 2, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Axaiah Poland, left, and Adait Mou, both 10 years old, enjoyed their sailing class, despite rain and variable winds. August 2, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Sailing instructor Hannah Brewster and Charity Coats, 12 years old, on Big Lake. All of the kids wanted some time piloting the sailboats solo, so some juggling happened via zodiac. August 2, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Trailside Discovery camp sailing instructor Hannah Brewster offers guidance to five young sailors from the Mountain View Boys and Girls club. August 2, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Adait Mou, a 10 year old born in Sudan, sails on Big Lake during a Trailside Discovery sailing camp. August 2, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Calm winds hindered a speedy return of the sailboats, so Geoff Wright towed the three boats into the dock at the Alaska Sailing Club on Big Lake. August 2, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Patience Barney, 11 years old, left, and Madit Mou, 10 years old, warm themselves by a wood-fired stove after a rainy but fun day of sailing on Big Lake. August 2, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Loren Holmes

Summer camp. Warm, sunny days that seem never to end. Playing outside, swimming in the lake. It sounds wonderfully nostalgic, doesn't it?

Summer in Southcentral Alaska, thus far, has been anything but idyllic. Anchorage's average temperature was fourth-coldest on record for the month of July. Rains have settled in early this year, or so it seems.

Yet, none of that could get in the way of fun times for Mountain View Boys and Girls Club kids. A group of five hardy young Alaskans aged 10 to 12 prepared this past week to learn how to sail, thanks to a state grant.

The young sailors had a quick classroom orientation at the Alaska Sailing Clubhouse on Big Lake, about an hour north of Anchorage, before heading out onto the water. Led by trainers from Trailside Discovery Camp, they learned the lingo, like sail, keel and what it means to tack, and also got a quick intro on how to move in the direction they wanted to go.

Instructor Hannah Brewster, a native of Massachusetts, sped from boat to boat in a zodiac, offering tips and suggestions, and inspiring the kids with a bit of sailboat racing trivia. "Try to go around me, but don't hit the boat," she said. "In the Olympics, if you hit the buoy you have to go around it again."

The six boats were ordered from a Dutch manufacturer and took four months to arrive. They'll be used by both Trailside and the Alaska Sailing Club.

Contact Loren Holmes at loren(at)alaskadispatch.com