WEYMOUTH, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — With the summer solstice officially marking the beginning of the season on Tuesday, Westwood High School students took advantage of the longest day by hitting the water and dropping the sails in lieu of sitting in a classroom.
The five-day 'splash course' was thanks to WHS' J-Term, a school program that allows students to pick and practice a study they're interested in for five straight days instead of attending regular school classes.
Steven Ouellette, an instructor and sailor at WHS, told WBZ's James Rojas that this was the first year that the school has offered 'Learn to Sail' courses as a part of their J-Term at the Wessagussett Yacht Club in Weymouth. School officials said the WYC supplied the sixteen fledging J-Term sailors with their boats and instructors free of charge.
"It's an immersive learning experience, where they choose something they're interested in," Ouellette said.
According to WHS, students learned to tie knots, rig sailboats, basic navigation techniques, safety procedures, and how to sail Club 420's and larger boats like a J/24 and a Catalina 275 Sport. In order to participate in the course, school officials say students were required to pass a swim test, demonstrate they can right a boat after it was intentionally capsized, and wear life jackets at all times.
"By day three a lot of them were in their own boats— which is pretty incredible, because sailing is a thinking game," said Sailing Level Three Certified Instructor Pia Peters.
The students' J-Term was set to last from June 15 to June 22 for end of the 2021-2022 school year.
WBZ's James Rojas (@JamesRojasNews) reports.