Sailing isn’t Scary!…

– by Steve Harris

... or at least it doesn't have to be!

Recently, I’ve been very excited by the renewed interest in sailing at Buckeye Lake and at BLYC in particular.  The last time we saw this kind of renewed interest was about 20 years ago.  Following the lowering of the lake and other factors, its not surprising that interest fell off, but WOW!  It’s great that so many people are now interested in learning more and getting involved.

Most of our sailing activity at the Club has tended to focus around racing.  Given that fact, its easy to see how some may find sailing a bit intimidating – the terminology, the rules, sailing the boat in tight quarters near other boats…  It can all be a bit overwhelming to the “newbie.”  Reflecting on this, I recalled a video series from the early 80s that I used to watch repeatedly as I was preparing to teach sailing as part of the high adventure program at the summer camp I worked at in college.  While I had some experience sailing as a child, I wasn’t at all confident about it.  Someday, I’ll find that old VCR tape and digitize it (the clothing is certainly dated, but the principles of sailing never change!)  It was a very convenient way to learn and review and I think many new to the activity would find it useful.

While attempting to find the video online, I came across this “Your First Sail” online course from the American Sailing Association that does a very good job with the same introductory learn to sail instruction that I found so helpful in that old video.  Although most of my involvement in sailing in recent years has been with US Sailing, it’s important to remember that they aren’t the “only game in town.”  US Sailing is more focused on the racing aspects of sailing, whereas the American Sailing Association is geared more towards the recreational sailor.  Both are great resources and, I believe, their goals and efforts compliment each other well.

So… whether you’re a “rank newbie” or have some experience and just want to brush up on the basics, this is a great 30-45 online course that will help get you started and maybe build some confidence and excitement.  (I did it – it’s well put together) BLYC sailors are an open, friendly group and, certainly, you’ll find someone here who is happy to help you put your newfound knowledge and enthusiasm to work on the water – just show up and ask!  We race every Sunday starting May 16 and our weekly (Friday) “Grow the Sport” sailing experiences will also start in May.

See you on the water!