By Les Cummings – Lake Thunderbird Educational Foundation
The Lake Thunderbird Educational Foundation and the Thunderbird Sailing Club are celebrating their 20th year of teaching children and adults following the US Sailing training and education program. As a premier youth and adult sail training operation their pur chase of new RS Sailing boats is keeping their program up to date and well-known in Oklahoma and the surrounding states. As their fleets of Optimist Prams, Vanguard Prams, Sun fish and Lasers were beginning to show their age, several instructors and Foundation board members began to research newer technology sailing fleets. It wasn’t long before RS Sailing became the boats of choice. After visiting several clubs in the Texas and Colorado areas and seeing the boats in action, the decision was made to move forward with a fundraising effort to purchase new training boats.
As a federally approved 501C3 non-profit, the Foundation, in partnership with the Thunderbird Sailing Club, raises funds and oversees the sail training program to offer sailing as a means to promote and develop social skills, development of responsible boaters, promotes environmental awareness and promotes the Corinthian spirit of competition. The US Sailing credentialled instructors, volunteers and club members not only give of their time but raised the funds needed to purchase the new fleet of four RS Zests and eight RS Teras.
The Lake Thunderbird BoatHouse sailing program does not have any paid employees and as such, it can keep fees affordable for a diverse group of students. This year as word spread regarding the new RS Sailing fleets via TV promotions and social media announcements all training classes were filled along with a waiting list should anyone drop out. An other bonus was that the adult keelboat classes also filled as word of their programs spread throughout the region.
The ease of rigging, launching, storage and their responsiveness on the water have quickly endeared the RS Teras and RS Zests to our students, instructors and volunteers. The Thunderbird Sailing Club just happens to be celebrating its 50th year in operation and what better way to celebrate than to have two new fleets of RS Sailing training boats to continue their long-term legacy and commitment to Community Sailing.
The Lake Thunderbird BoatHouse is located on Lake Thunderbird 11 miles east of Norman, Oklahoma. It also partners with the US Bureau of Reclamation and the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation.