New sailing school opens in Portsmouth

At the foot of Willow Lane, under the auspices of the Carnegie Abbey Yacht Club, a new sailing school, with the mission “to teach the joys of sailing and the arts of seamanship,” is conducting lessons in catamarans and other small boats.

The school is led by Bristol resident Richard Feeny, with a staff of instructors trained and certified by US Sailing. Feeny is the US Youth National Coach, a champion sailor, a US Sailing certified level 4 instructor and Keelboat Instructor with a 100 ton USCG license.

Catamarans are the specialty of the Carnegie Abbey Sailing School, and the fleet includes Hobie cats and an “A” class. Catamarans have been sailing these waters since the 1870s when Nathanael G. Herreshoff realized they are fast, safe, and exciting boats. Herreshoff designed and built a series of catamarans and had a patent on his design. The Carnegie Abbey sailing school will also use 23’ Sea Sprites, which have a well-established fleet racing out of Bristol Yacht Club, and a Vanguard 15 dinghy.

Finally, there will be one wooden boat in the fleet, a Herreshoff 20, built by the Bristol Boat Company in 2012.  Based on some 15 years of experience building and sailing the 12½, Captain Nat carved a new model in 1929. In his design notes, he called it “a Pleasure Sailing Keel Boat” that was to “take [the] place of the Buzzards Bay Boys Boat”. But the boat Captain Nat envisioned was never built—until now.

Group lessons and private lessons are open to the public and available 7 days a week. For more information, call 401/254-0571 or visit carnegieabbeysailing.com.

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