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Windsong Sailing Academy
5782 Porch Swing Place
Hoschton, Ga 30548


What the "Press" is saying about us!

The following article appeared in the October 2005 Gwinnett Business Journal:

On a balmy Saturday afternoon, I gather with other novice sailors on a dock at Lake Lanier's Aqualand Marina for an onboard class with the Windsong Sailing Academy.  The only sound is the merry cling-clang of metal boat fittings blowing in the breeze and the frantic quacking of a  duckling that has temporarily lost sight of its mother.  A great blue heron swoops overhead and flaps off toward the lush forest.

"Wow! Look at that!" Capt. Dave Crumbley exclaims, as he pauses to admire the majestic bird.  Then he invites us aboard a Colgate 26, a sleek, high-performance vessel especially designed for instruction.

The mood is upbeat, to say the least.

"There is something about being on the water that can change attitudes," Crumbley notes.  "We live in air-conditioned houses, drive around in air-conditioned cars. We're removed from the elements and our senses get kind of dulled.  Sailing brings you in touch with nature.  It brings you alive".

Crumbley should know.  The Lilburn resident took up the sport in the early 1980's and was soon in demand to join racing crews in Lanier's thriving sailing community.  In 1987, Crumbley was "Auxiliary Skipper of the Year" and he founded Windsong Sailing Academy, charting a new course for his life.  The former computer consultant is now devoted to introducing landlubber to the joys of sailing.

Who does he consider the ideal student?

"Anyone who's breathing", Crumbley says.

Couples seeking a bit of romance, ParticipationGuidelines.htmwanting to put a little "sizzle" into a corporate retreat, families wanting to bond through a challenging activity - Windsong caters to them all.

"Aye, aye, maties!" Crumbley heckles us, his student crew, with bad pirate imitations and corny jokes as he shows us how to hoist the mainsail.  The Colgate catches the wind and we're off across the lake.  Dozens of sailboats flock in the distance, heading for the starting line of a regatta on this gorgeous September day.

"It's not just a guy thing," Crumbley says. "We have a lot of ladies who love the independence and satisfaction they get from sailing.  The same is true with children.  When you put them on a boat and give them responsibilities, they develop pride".

A good sailing instructor should be part coach, part psychologist and part marriage counselor, he says.

"In a sailing school, you really have a chance to give new vision to people, return the zest to their lives.  Every day is exciting and at the end of the day, you know you've helped people gain a sense of accomplishment," he says.

Crumbley utilizes nine licensed captains and their vessels to teach onboard classes on Lake Lanier.  A two-hour session on the lake costs $69.  In addition, Windsong teaches sailing basics in evening ground school sessions, held at marinas, churches and in recreation centers in DeKalb and Gwinnett counties. Windsong also arranges instructional sailing trips off coastal Georgia and Florida.

The academy's guiding philosophy is that sailing should be fun.

"The real reason people join a sailing class is they want to have fun," Crumbley says.  "We entertain our students first, and then we have the opportunity to train them.  If you don't have a good gut laugh once in a while, you're doing it wrong".

This afternoon on the water is no exception to the fun rules.  The boat tilts to one side as we gather speed, zipping like a water bug over the surface of the lake. "Whee!" I'm giggling like a kid. "Don't worry.  We cannot overturn!" Crumbley reassures everyone.  No one seems too worried, judging by the smiles.

"Prepare to tack!" Crumbley shouts, and I reel the jib sheet in tight.  It's a simple act, but I'm thrilled when the jib fills with wind and I realize that I actually am part of a crew, sailing a boat.

"I think everybody's favorite sailing moment is the first time they feel like they've got it, the first time you say to yourself, "I can do this!" Crumbley says.