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The St. Petersburg Sailing Center
By TERRY TOMALIN, Times Outdoors Writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 5, 2000
One reason why St. Petersburg has produced more than a dozen college All-Americans, a world champion and an Olympic gold medalist over the past decade is the St. Petersburg Sailing Center.
Started in the mid-1970s under a joint operating agreement between the city and the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, the sailing center is open to any resident of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Polk, Manatee or Sarasota counties.
The sailing center offers Rhodes 19's and prams on a first-come, first-served basis and fields one of the top youth sailing teams in the country. At last year's Optimist Class Mid-Winter Regatta, the center's team captured three of the top seven spots, including first.
But the center does more than produce champions. Every summer hundreds of local children learn the basics of sailing, and although most will never compete, that doesn't worry the program's backers. The center was started to offer low-cost access to what traditionally has been a rich man's sport.
A family can join the center for $265 a year, which is less than it costs to charter a boat for a day.
For more information on the St. Petersburg Sailing Center, call (727) 822-3113 or check out the yacht club's web site at http://www.spyc.org.
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