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Sail Nauticus plans June launch in Virginia

The countdown is under way for the launch of Sail Nauticus, a Norfolk, Va.-based community sailing initiative of the Nauticus Foundation.

Grand-opening celebrations are scheduled for June 12, including a launch party for supporters and sponsors, as well as Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim and philanthropist Jane Batten.

With offices in the former rear annex of Nauticus, the sailing center will feature a fleet of Harbor 20 sailboats equipped with small motors for safe maneuverability out of shipping lanes and into recreational sailing areas of the river and bay. The boats will be used in the SailQuest youth summer camp program, for adult sailing lessons and certifications and for leisurely "Sail Abouts" — two-hour sailing trips on the Elizabeth River.

Most important, they will be used in the after-school Sail Nauticus Academy program, which is designed to enable youths, who may not otherwise have the opportunity, to develop academic and leadership skills through sailing and maritime sciences.

Nauticus tapped Bill Bahen, the founder of Hudson River Community Sailing in New York City, for the new director position at Sail Nauticus. Bahen brings 15 years of successful business experience and a heart for mentoring youth to Sail Nauticus. He expects the organization, with its underlying goal of providing disadvantaged youths with opportunities to grow and develop, to thrive in Hampton Roads.

SailQuest summer camp is for children ages 10-14 and will be held from June 17 through Aug. 9. The hands-on camp includes water- and shore-based activities led by certified instructors. Each day at SailQuest will involve sailing on the Elizabeth River, as well as activities that teach maritime sciences, including weather, aquaculture, modeling and robotics.

Sailors also will tour the Battleship Wisconsin. Each camper will experience the water in a whole new way while learning the principles of science, sailing and water safety. Sessions will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The cost is $245 per camper, with a discount for Nauticus members.

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