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Let Sailing Sink In With OCC Classes

June 01, 1995|RICK VANDERKNYFF | Rick VanderKnyff is a member of the Times Orange County Edition staff.

Sailing is a sport commonly associated with the leisure class, but Orange County residents--even those who don't constitute the upper crust--have a way to taste the seagoing life without a big investment.

The Orange Coast College Sailing Center is one of the biggest marine-instruction programs in the country, and it has recently published its newest catalogue, with classes stretching through December.

For just $85, budding sailors can enjoy 20 hours of instruction, almost all of it on the water in 14-foot Lido dinghies. (Intermediate and advanced sailors can choose from a variety of on-the-water courses, $85 and up, and classroom seminars, $23 and up.)

Beginner class size ranges from 12 to 30 students, with two to four students per boat. Landlubbers 14 years old and up are encouraged to take part.

"It's where you start," said Brad Avery, director of the sailing center in Newport Beach. "For people who have never sailed but have always wanted to learn, it's an excellent opportunity."

Many students who started in beginner classes have moved up to the center's intermediate and advanced classes and seminars. Some have even taken part in expeditions, including a handful now aboard the sailing center's Alaska Eagle, on its way from Tahiti to Hawaii.

"It's not unusual for someone to come in knowing absolutely nothing . . . and a year-and-a-half later, be sailing to Tahiti on one of our big boats," Avery said. "From there, who knows? They could buy a boat, quit work and sail around the world."

The next beginning class is on Sundays from June 4 to July 9. There are two sessions: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1:15 to 5:15 p.m.

Topics covered in the beginning sailing class include: terminology, rigging, safety, docking under sail, tacking, jibing and the five points of sail.

Call the center, and they'll send you a catalogue. If nothing else, it's great browsing.

For those who'd rather hit the water with oar in hand, Paddle Sports Expo '95 comes to Newport Dunes on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Manufacturers of kayaks and canoes will be on hand with the latest equipment, and on-the-water clinics will be held throughout the day. Admission is $7 general, $3 for seniors 65 and up and children 12 and under. Information: (714) 261-0200.

Call for details on these weekend events: a Cool Breeze Classics grass volleyball tournament Saturday and Sunday in Newport Beach, (714) 650-2375, and the Orange County Performing Arts Center Triathlon on Sunday in Mission Viejo, (800) 357-9699.

* What: Beginning sailing classes.

* When: Throughout the year; the next class begins Sunday.

* Where: Orange Coast College Sailing Center, 1801 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Newport Beach.

* Whereabouts: From the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway, take Newport Boulevard south to West Coast Highway. Head south. The center is on the right, between the Balboa Bay Club and the Sea Scout Base.

* Wherewithal: $85 for 20 hours of instruction.

* Where to call: (714) 645-9412.

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