Lyon College students set sail

By Emily Van Zandt Originally Published November 15, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated November 14, 2012 at 9:16 a.m.
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Lyon College students Kyle Talley, left, and Andrew Blank work on Pequod with Lyon Education and Adventure Program Coordinator Brianna Forbis.

The weather may be taking a turn for the chilly, but that hasn’t stopped a group of Lyon College students from being out on the water.

Students involved with the Lyon Education and Adventure Program (LEAP) have been busy refurbishing a 36-year-old, 18-foot sailboat donated to the group this summer. Dubbed the Pequod after the boat in Moby Dick, the boat was donated by Lyon building mechanic Mike Foote after he purchased the boat in an auction a few years back. The boat had originally been donated to Lyon College for its old outdoor program but had sat unused until Foote bought it at auction.

“I remember seeing the boat out on Greers Ferry Lake. … It was used for a sailing school,” Foote said. “I hadn’t seen it out for probably six years before I bought it.”

But despite plans to repair the boat to sailing condition, Foote was unable to see his plans through because of health problems. That’s when a friend suggested donating the boat back to the college for students to rebuild.

Lyon College director of outdoor recreation and education Scott Dirksen thought refurbishing the boat would make a great project for students interested in the LEAP program. The group didn’t have much background knowledge in sailing, but a little studying put them on the right course. The work took 10 students more than 20 hours, but in late October, the boat set sail on a test run and held up just fine.

“We realized we need a little more work on the rudder. … Eventually, some of the students want to paint [the boat] bright yellow,” Dirksen said. “Now, its purpose is to offer an opportunity to get out and sail. We may schedule a few sails soon, and any students interested in sailing can come out to the LEAP program.”

Dirksen said some students are surprised when they hear sailing is possible at the Batesville campus.

“I’ve definitely had some students ask, ‘Where do you go sailing, the White River?’” Dirksen said. “Usually, we head out to Greers Ferry Lake.”

In addition to the sailboat, the LEAP program offers trips and clinics throughout the school year to keep students active. Other activities include kayaking, mountain biking, backpacking, rock climbing, disc golf and zip-lining.

“We try to utilize our natural resources in the area as much as we can,” Dirksen said. “It’s beautiful.”

Staff writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at (501) 399-3688 or

Associate Features Editor Emily Van Zandt can be reached at .

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