Rural Missouri - October 2013 - (Page 10)
Ben Jagears, right, teaches student Robert Rueter how to pick a heading and trim the sails before heading out from the marina for a private lesson on Stockton Lake.
Schooled on Sailing
by Kile Brewer
s you reach the main body of Stockton
Lake, a quiet falls on the boat as the
outboard motor coughs to a halt. The jib
sheet is pulled taught and fills with wind,
propelling the vessel forward with only a slight
luff from the sail. The sound, or lack thereof, is
comforting as the crosswind rushes through your
hair and over the tops of your ears. You are sailing,
gliding across the water, carefree, letting the wind
and waves guide you to your destination.
Whether you’re an experienced sailor or a complete beginner, the certified captains at Stockton
Sailing School are sure to get you cruising around
the 25,000-acre Stockton Lake in no time.
Since starting the school in 2005, Captain Larry
Strait has received numerous honors from the
American Sailing Association (ASA). In 2009, 2010
and 2011, the school was named one of the ASA’s
outstanding sailing schools, and it has been selected
as one of the top 20 sailing schools in the country
out of about 300 qualified schools. If you thought
sailing was just for ocean-going vessels, think again.
Stockton Lake is a freshwater sailor’s paradise.
After the school got going, word spread and Strait
was swamped with landlocked Midwesterners looking to learn a new hobby. He couldn’t turn any prospective sailors away, so he called up his friend and
fellow sailor Ben Jagears and asked him to help out
with the sailing classes.
Jagears, a retired member of the U.S. Army Special
Forces, was an obvious choice for Strait’s school. His
sailing experience includes jobs as crew and captain
in boats in the Caribbean, as well as working as the
helmsman on dive boats based in Panama in the
1970s. Strait knew the veteran sailor would be perfect for the job.
“After about two years of running the school,
there was so much demand he just couldn’t keep
up with it,” says Jagears, a member of Ozark Electric
Cooperative. “So I finally got certified by the ASA
and got my captain’s license from the (United States)
Together, Jagears and Strait book classes through-
Basic sailing courses taught on
Stockton Lake in south Missouri
out almost every week during sailing season.
“We sail May through June and try not to book
anything in July and August,” says Jagears. “It’s just
too hot and the wind isn’t there. But things pick
back up in September, and then we sail until it’s too
cold, which is usually late October.”
The classes are two-day intensive programs that
Student Robert Rueter gets a handful of rope while raising the jib, or front, sail on the Marina’s 25-foot Catalina
rental boat. During the basic keelboat course, students learn to sail any single-mast vessel up to about 30 feet long.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - October 2013
Rural Missouri - October 2013
Schooled on sailing
A deer dilemma
Therapy for the heart & soul
Out of the Way Eats
Charge of the Iron Brigade
Hearth and Home
Rural Missouri - October 2013