Messenger - Vol. 2, No. 3, Page 27
Summer 1993
Alumni Profile: Belay those lines, my moppets!

     To be able to do the thing I really love, I have to work a few other
jobs like waitressing and substitute teaching, but, hey, it's really not
such a bad life now, is it? All this wonderful water, the boats. I really
love it."
     The voice belongs to Nan Leute, Delaware '83, director of the Kid Ship
Sailing School in Annapolis, Md., a sailing school for children ages 5-16.
     Leute founded the school in l987 with the help of the Chesapeake
Sailing School, an Annapolis, Md., business that teaches adults to sail.
     The idea came to her after working one summer for the non-profit
Brendan Corp., which operates a four-week sailing program for children with
learning disabilities.
     "I realized there was a need for a short-term sailing program for the
general public," she says. "In Annapolis, everyone lives on the water,
everyone has a boat. There just isn't anywhere for the kids to get
instruction, unless they enroll in a program that lasts all summer long and
is geared to kids who want to race.
     "I thought if I could get some boats and maybe take them out to the
various communities, the idea would fly."
     When Leute mentioned the idea to the owners of the Chesapeake Sailing
School, they suggested she print up some information and distribute it at a
boat show to see how it was received.
     There seemed to be some interest, so Leute bought three boats and, by
the summer of 1987, she had 50 children enrolled. Today, maintaining a
steady enrollment of 250, she has a fleet of 12 boats that includes Hobies,
Holder 14-foot, Holder 12-foot and Holder Hawk monohulls-light, stable and
responsive vessels easily manageable by small hands.
     Leute grew up in Haverford, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia, and spent
her summers on the water in Ocean City, N.J. Her father taught her to sail
when she was 8, and she eventually took up sailboat racing at the Ocean
City Yacht Club. As a teenager, she spent her summers teaching children to
sail and working at a boat rental concession stand.
     At the University, Leute was a physical education major in the
athletic training program. She played lacrosse and was the trainer for the
men's soccer team. For a while after graduation, she considered a career in
sports medicine, but, through an acquaintance, ended up taking a job at an
airfield. She eventually became the manager of the flight school run by
Wings Field in Bluebell, Pa., where she stayed for four years.
     "I really like the aviation business but I was always the person who
would go windsurfing every day after work. One day I came to Annapolis with
some friends for a sailboat race and realized I loved it here. I took a day
off to look for a job and found one with the Annapolis Sailing School."
     At that sailing school, she set up a Captain's Prep Course-a special
review for people wanting to get their captain's license. Then came her job
with the Brendan Corp. and the beginning of Kid Ship.
     This summer, Leute is back with the Brendan Corp. as the director. She
has a staff for Kid Ship and is working with Chesapeake Region Accessible
Boating (CRAB) Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to providing
community boating opportunities for all, regardless of ability.
     Her summer also includes plans to work at the Annapolis Sailing School
on weekends, offering sailing lessons for families, and on an historic boat
on the downtown waterway. And, she has hired herself out as a chef for a
race boat during Block Island (R.I.) Race Week.
     "Annapolis is just one of those towns where if you're willing to work,
you can find a lot to do," she says, with a grin.
     Although her business is seasonal, Leute always finds some way to make
money through the winter.
     Two winters ago, for instance, she sailed three of her boats to Key
West, renting them out for a beachfront hotel.
     Last winter, she worked in New York City in corporate sales for the
Spirit of New York, a 600-passenger dinner and luncheon cruise ship.
     This winter?
     "I don't know yet. Maybe California. I might like to investigate a
climate where I can teach kids year-round," she says.
     Whatever it turns out to be, you can be sure it will be a business
that keeps her afloat.
                                        -Beth Thomas