Photo | Provided — Youngsters in Mobile and Baldwin counties have the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of sailing at summer camps at the Fairhope Yacht Club and Mobile Yacht Club.

Sailboats skimming across Mobile Bay have long been an integral part of life along the Alabama Gulf Coast. Whether it was Prince Madoc of Wales in 1170 or Spanish conquistadors during the 1500s, wind-driven vessels undoubtedly have been a familiar sight for generations.

The question raised now is not who has sailed in the past or in the present, but who will take the helm in the future? Several individuals on both sides of Mobile Bay are hoping to resolve the issue.

• The Mobile Bay Sailing School (MBSS) has offered classes to area youth since 1982. Among the group’s stated goals are to develop an interest in and appreciation for the sport of sailing, develop basic nautical knowledge and create a safe and fun learning environment.

While the events are run through the Mobile Yacht Club, MBSS president Semih Kangal told Lagniappe the classes are not a club function.

“This is not a tool to get memabers,” said Kangal, a past commodore of the Mobile Yacht Club. “Members gained through the school are minimal.

“What would Mobile be without Mobile Bay next to it? We are here to teach the joy of sailing to as many people as we can.”

The classes are open to the general public. Students must be aged 7 to 18. For more details on class times and tuition, visit

“It is great to see 7- or 8-year-olds learn how to move a boat with just wind power,” Kangal said. “We are here for anyone who wants to learn how to sail.”

The first week of classes will begin June 4. The final session gets underway July 23. With the exception of a special weeklong session targeted for younger sailors, classes run all day each day, Monday through Friday.

“We normally have 150 to 160 students each summer,” Kangal said. “Because of safety and the number of instructors, each class has no more than 16 students in them.

“For our younger students, they use the Optimist-class boats. The older students train on the 420-class dinghy. We also have a few Flying Scots to use. Once a student gets good enough, they can take a boat out themselves.”

Instructors will be on the premises every day when students are not on the water. Parents can drop off students at the yacht club as early as 8:30 a.m. for the morning session, and can pick up afternoon-session students as late as 5:30 p.m.

Classes will go on, rain or shine. During inclement weather, students will be trained onshore about theoretical aspects of sailing as well as the art of knots and rigging.

Kangal pointed out that while MBSS is a separate entity, the Mobile Yacht Club does offer junior membership status. It costs $20 per month, and parents do not have to be members for their child to join.

“This is separate from the sailing school,” he said. “They use the Mobile Yacht Club boats and their instructors. There are junior functions on many weekends. While the juniors are sailing, the parents can use the pool and restaurant. This makes sailing very accessible.”

• Fairhope Yacht Club is again offering summer sailing camps. The sessions will be held June 4-15, June 18-29, July 9-20 and July 23 to Aug. 3. Morning classes will be from 8 a.m. to noon, afternoon classes 1-5 p.m.

There will also be a Bay Buddy Camp for those ages 5 to 7. This will take place from 8 a.m. to noon during four sessions: June 11-15, June 25-29, July 9-13 and July 30-Aug. 3.

For additional information, contact Holly Murray at 228-363-0073 or More details can be found at

Soccer returns to The Lip

The Association Football Club of Mobile (AFC Mobile) will begin its 2018 Gulf Coast Premier League regular season schedule this Saturday. The Azaleas will take on Pensacola FC at 7 p.m.

The Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex at 3610 Michael Blvd. will once again serve as the home field.

Other home games are set for June 2 with Riverhawks FC, June 9 with Rangers FC, June 23 with Pool Boys FC (special 6 p.m. start) and July 14 with Port City FC. The league playoffs begin July 21.

This season, AFC Mobile will compete in the GCPL’s Eastern Conference with Port City FC (Gulfport), Riverhawks FC (Moss Point), Pensacola FC and Rangers FC (Foley). The top two clubs from the East will join the top two clubs from the West and Central Conferences in a single-elimination knockout tournament for the GCPL Cup Championship.

This year’s roster includes Patrick O’Neal, Desmond Ibie, Laurentiu Pirvu, Andrew Dixon, Dung Vu, Christopher Cory, Hugo Aranda, Markos Mallis, Austin Hilyer, Brantton Greene, Sherman Winchester and Guillermo Lumbreras Jr. at defender position; Clairy Kengeye, Erik Aispuro Vidana, Alec Peacock and Ibrahima Ndaw at forward position; Suleiman Carr, Jean Paul Irakiza, Martin Fiemawhle, Matt Merrill, Greg Hosford, Abdalrhman Almutairi, Jackson Barber, Cameron Cranton, David Valverde, K.C. Espoir, Tomas Lopez and Chisom Ogbonna at midfielder position; and Dillon Lowe, Ali Alfayadh, Elijah Gibson and Baruo Ndaw at goalkeeper.

For more information on the club, please visit

Fairhope to host tennis event

The Mike Ford Tennis Center at Fairhope’s Stimpson Park will host the Southern Senior/Adult Hardcourt Open Champions May 17-20.

Division play will start on Friday or Saturday, depending on the number of entrants in each draw. Level of players varies from local league players, to Southern and national level players, and college players.

This tournament includes women’s and men’s singles, doubles and mixed divisions. For more information or to register, call 251-990-9526.

Grandman just around the corner

The 14th annual Publix Grandman Triathlon is set for June 2 in Fairhope, while the Jubilee Kids Triathlon will be the next day. Organizers seek volunteers to help with both events to set up the course, direct racer traffic and assist with other events.

To register as a competitor or to see about volunteering, visit