Kona Sailing Club and UH Hilo sponsor women's sailing clinic this month in

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Date: Thursday, November 7, 2002
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release


Kaya Haig (L) assists a fellow sailor with a few pointers during practice.

In what sport do women compete equally with men? In what sport has Hawai`I placed, not once, but three times, an All-American athlete? In what sport can you compete as a child, throughout collegiate competition, through adulthood, for 365 days a year.

Sailing!

Sailing competition is coming to the Big Island, through a partnership with the Kona Sailing Club and the University of Hawai`i at Hilo, in a sailing clinic sponsored in Kona on Saturday, November 23, 2002. The clinic will be taught by Hawaiian-born and bred, Kaya Haig, from O`ahu, and, most recently, San Francisco.

Haig, a graduate of Punahou school, was the first woman from Hawai`i to receive the honor of being a three-time collegiate All-American sailor, in her years of competitive sailing for Boston University. She started sailing at the age of eight in Waikiki Yacht Club's junior sailing program, and went on to become a junior sailing instructor and eventually, a national U.S. Sailing Level II Dinghy sailing instructor.

Haig started sailing competitively on the mainland at age 10. She has fond memories of being the youngest sailor, in events from Washington state to Florida, having been sent on the airplane unaccompanied to cities throughout the continental United States. At the time that she started sailing, Hawai`i sailors had to compete in western regional events, in Washington or California, and then be one of the only 11 people in the country to go to national events. Since then, Hawai`i has become its own geographic sailing region, and youths can compete first in Hawai`I without having to fund mainland trips.

"Until I went to college, I never did any long distance driving, only around O`ahu," Haig said. "I couldn't believe that places were so spread out on the mainland. I drove to New Orleans, to Florida, all from Boston, Massachusetts in the team van. I also learned to appreciate Hawai`i and its unique beauty and oceans.

"None of the places I sailed, either East Coast or West Coast, could even begin to approach the pristine beauty of sailing in Hawai`i," she added.

The aim of the clinic, according to Alicia Starsong, the host and organizer from the Kona Sailing Club who has been working with women sailors for the past five years, is to introduce competitive sailing skills and techniques to women athletes. Potential participants should have sailing experience and should contact Starsong at (808) 883-9230 for the availability of boats. The cost is $20 for community members.

UH Hilo currently has a sailing club and teaches sailing to interested community members, men, women and children. Interested East Hawai`i sailors should call UH Hilo's CCECS at (808) 974-7664 for additional information.


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