Did Columbus spend days in a classroom to learn to sail or instead, set sail on the open water?

Would a pirate such as Jack Sparrow be caught dead in a classroom?

Learn to sail The Columbus Way © with Clifton's Columbus School of Sail! ©

"Thirty years of experience teaching sailors!
Five hundred years of tradition...
...the Columbus Way!"

Join Clifton aboard The Cutwater.
Discover a New World for yourself the Columbus Way!

And Have some Fun!



Adult Instruction-

 Individual Personal Instruction using The CCSS Way © of Sailing! Phone to schedule your voyage- 913.220.5177

Or email: clifton@cdjr.org

 Instruction through Johnson County Parks & Recreation (Click for details)

 Youth Sailing-

 OPS-C ("Ops-Sea") (Olathe Parks Sailing -and boating- Center) (Click for details)

  About Clifton and The Columbus Way © of instruction...
 About the Parrot...


Clifton has been teaching sailing for thirty years. After moving to the Kansas City area he started teaching in 2005 for Johnson County Parks & Recreation.

Text from JoCoParks booklet...

 Boating: Sailing I (Ages 18 & Older)
Learn the basic skill of sailing. Types of boats, launching techniques, docking, maintenance, and safety will be examined and studied in this class. Sailing I consists of two indoor lecture sessions and four water sessions. Indoor sessions will be held Tuesday and Thursday at the John Barkley Visitor Center in Shawnee Mission Park and the outdoor sessions on Saturday mornings at Shawnee Mission Park Lake. Basic swimming skills required. Instructor: Clifton Bencke JCPRD.


See Clif-Note options below...



Basic Sailing, Perry Lake -

Sign up for Basic Sailing & Advanced Sailing courses with Clifton's Columbus School of Sail. (More info...)

Advance Sailing -

For larger boat experience Clifton offers personal classes on a 24-foot cutter rig on Perry Lake (phone Clifton for details, 913-220-5177)

Shawnee Mission Park Map...

Perry Lake Map...



About Clifton & the Columbus Way © of teaching sailing-

Clifton has been teaching sailing for thirty years, years before most other sailing schools existed! Long ago he realized that sailing is not something to learn in a classroom but must be learned out on the water. As Captain Ron says, "If it's going to happ'n, it's going to happ'n out there!"

Clifton came to call the teaching method he developed, The Columbus Way ©. The Columbus Way focuses learning on the water, and today, with the advent of laptop computers, Clifton brings the classroom sessions to the water by moving the formally in-door PowerPoint presentations out to where the student's are learning; on the boat! Another element in the Columbus Way is to help the sailing students understand sailing terminology by explaining the fascinating history behind most of the terms. Sailing is history in motion!

Experienced teacher, Adults & Youth! -
Clifton first started teaching sailing to adults and youth by becoming Red Cross certified in 1977, teaching in their prescribed classroom-plus-water sessions method. During the next thirty years he taught to adults and to youth through Girl Scouts (creating The Stowaways special interest group), Boy Scouts, Campfire Boys and Girls, public schools community education programs and parks and recreations programs. After moving to the Kansas City area he started teaching for Johnson County Parks and Recreation in 2005 where he was asked to take over leadership of the adult program the following year.

Call Clifton to schedule personal CCSS training for you!
Phone 913-220-5177 !

Youth Sailing-
Clifton has been growing sailing programs in the Kansas City area. The Johnson County Parks program was originally developed years ago as an adult sailing program. It normally holds classes throughout the summer, with full classes in each session.

Seeing a need for a youth sailing program, Clifton approached the Olathe Parks Department about creating a youth program on Lake Olathe. Starting with one boat, this program has grown to four boats (looking for more!) and has already taught sailing to 20 young people, boys and girls. (Click for more info on youth program...)

Besides teaching sailing, Clifton is an explorer at heart. Having owned several boats, Clifton has been sailing The Cutwater since 1987. This classic designed cutter-rig has taken Clifton and his family on voyages to explore the waters of Kansas, Oklahoma, & Texas including Port Arthur, Galveston Bay, around Galveston Island, and into the Gulf of Mexico. He's also sailed on Long Island Sound, the Delaware River, and the ice-clear fjords of Norway.

Online Sailing Club; VN@C
("Venture Newports at Sea!") -

Utilizing his extensive I. T. skills, in 1998 Clifton created a website for Venture Newport owners. This has evolved to a full online sailing club with over 350 members worldwide!
To visit VN@C, click here...

The Cutwater is currently taking Jackie & Clifton's family & friends on exciting voyages on Lake Perry.



Email or call Clifton for more info at...
Cl Ph- 913-220-5177
Email: clifton@cdjr.org



About the sailing school Parrot-Sailboat trademark -

Sailing! Flying! Same principles!

The parrot is our real Blue & Gold macaw named "Captain Flint". The sailboat is our boat, The Cutwater.

Capt'n Flint is an important member of our crew! He has many responsibilities and a busy schedule!

Capt'n Flint helps Clifton and Jackie with their nature presentations to youth and adults. The presentations include story time presentations to young people called Story Time with Captain Flint! For older children, the Wild Birds of the World! presentations help older children to learn and understand about scientist's work in protecting world wildlife, especially birds. And for adults, Conservation and the Rainforest provides adults with beautiful, entertaining and educational information on issues such as Global Economy & Global Conservation. (Click for more details on these)

Capt'n Flint is also the inspiration for the "Carolyn" character in Clifton's children's adventure book series, Carolyn & Doyle, and Jackie & Ray ©. (Click for more details on books)

And last, Capt'n Flint serves as the mascot for Clifton's Columbus School of Sail and his youth sailing program, Evening Sailing Adventures where Capt'n is a (beautiful) classroom reminder that bird's wings and sailboat sails operate under the same principles of physics; lift & push. And in this mascot role Capt'n Flint is a fitting reminder of Columbus' discoveries which include; The New World - hammocks - barbeque - chocolate - and macaws!, all of which Columbus and his followers brought back to Spain from their voyages of discovery! -Thank you Christopher!

Capt'n Flint is named after the pirate Long John Silver's parrot in the children's classic, Treasure Island.


Email or call Clifton for more info at...
Cl Ph- 913-220-5177
Email: clifton@cdjr.org