By Tony Angel
On Labor Day, Joel Heyne along with his daughter Heidi Moran, six Boca Ciega Yacht Club members and the Gulfport Sea Scouts finished the 46th annual summer of free sailing instruction to Gulfport youth. The program is organized each year to teach young Gulfport kids from a mature 8 years old to 13 how to safely enjoy the water and sail Optimus Pram sailboats. Captain Joel Heyne said that this year’s class of 24 youth built the total of graduates to 1,196 sailors who have come through the free yacht club program over the years. Many of these young people have returned to the yacht club two decades later with their sons and daughters who came to “sail like dad and mom did.” After completion of the basic water safety program they are taught first how to tell where the wind is coming from. Once they master that basic piece of knowledge the Sea Scouts take over and show them how to adjust the sail and the rudder to make the boat go where they wish to go – great skills in water and in life.