Sailboat images promote calm living, unify county

Jim Blaylock/Staff
Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Karen Chrjapin holds the newly unviled chamber logo which is similar to the Columbia County logo.

If Columbia County had a theme song to match its logo, it just might be Come Sail Away.


The sailboat, part of the county's official logo for years, has been growing in popularity lately as its symbol.

In July, the county's Convention and Visitors Bureau incorporated a sailboat into its seal along with three trees and the sun peeking over clouds.

Just recently, the chamber of commerce also unveiled a logo displaying three sailboats. And the county's Development Authority has adopted its own logo, including a sailboat with three buildings and people talking in the background.

All are similar to the county's official logo, which was revamped in 2004 from a design that lasted 12 years and also included a sailboat.

So how did the wind-propelled water vessel take the lead in representing the county?

For the Chamber of Commerce, newly named Director Karen Chrjapin said the sailboat was chosen partly because it already was being used in the county's logo and also because it highlights the importance of Lake Thurmond, and "the sailboat just gives a nice picture of the county overall. Everyone loves being out on the water, and sailing, the wind in the hair."

Beda Johnson, the Convention and Visitors Bureau's executive director, said the bureau uses the sailboat image because it is used by the county, but also because the sailboat "is the kind of easy, breezy, out on the water (feel)."

Mrs. Johnson said her organization chose the sailboat identity over a few other proposed designs, including an oak leaf.

"I think we're all trying to have our own identity, but at the same time be affiliated with the county because the county is so successful and everybody doesn't want to stray too far," she said.

Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross said the county went with the sailboat image in its latest logo about three years ago after consulting with seniors at the county's high schools.

He said the sailboat is fitting in more ways than one.

"There's a tremendous sailing presence (at the lake)," he said. "They have regattas up there. There's a lot of sailboats at Tradewinds. And of course, the sailboat club."

The Augusta Sailing Club, which has an Evans address, has approximately 230 active members, most having at least one sailboat, according to Russell Cathey, commodore of the club.

Mr. Cross said the sailboat also conveys a sense of calm.

"You didn't want to put a power boat or something up there that made a lot of noise or associated with a lot of speed," he said.

"It was just a kind of laid-back symbol that people associate with the good quality of life and being able to feel safe and secure and relaxed in a community."

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or