Want to learn to sail on Lake Erie?
Sailing for years was on my bucket list. A pastime like scuba or golf, which I figured I’d get around to when I retired and had both time and money. But why wait?
Plenty of organizations want to teach you the marvel of wind on water and expand the sport to Clevelanders who didn’t grow up at a yacht club.
I learned the basics of tacking and jibing last summer with the North Coast Women’s Sailing Association — which races nearly every Tuesday, all summer long — for less than $100. It was a thrill, and a challenge for both my biceps and my brain. This summer, I hope to compete on a race boat, and actually learn what it means to “fall off the wind.”
Here are some Northern Ohio programs and schools that can get you on a sailboat this summer.
Place: Old Coast Guard Station, Whiskey Island
Learn the basics of sailing during in a strenuous, entry-level course that focuses on terminology, etiquette, and basic sailing techniques, including tacking and jibing, reading the wind, and what to do in emergencies. Lessons take place on a mid-sized sailboat.
There’s also a Family Learn to Sail class.
Dates, times and prices have yet to be announced for 2018.
The Learn to Sail program is exclusively for kids ages 10 to 18. Coaches will teach everything a new sailor needs to know to start their on the water career: parts of the boat, sail trim, points of sail, upwind and downwind sailing, and much more. Classes run Monday through Friday 1-4 p.m. at the Old Coast Guard Station and can be combined with a morning Learn to Row program.
Cost: $250 a week, $400 for two weeks
Dates: June 11-15 (ages 10-13); June 18-22 & June 25-29; July 9-13 & July 16-20; July 23-27 & July 30-August 3
The North Coast Women’s Sailing Association introduces women to sailing through volunteers who share their time and their boats.
Women-only teams race each summer Tuesday night out of Edgewater Yacht Club, while newbies learn how to tack, jibe and trim a sail on prep boats.
Dates: Summer Tuesdays
Cost: $68, registration opens March 1
No experience needed to join this club of about 150 single men and women. You just need to be legally single and interested in boating. The club offers evening sails, day sails, weekend sails and an annual regatta.
Take a private lesson on your boat or theirs with Captain Jere Austin. Learn how to race, navigate or just cruise.
You can learn to sail with a captain on 27- or 30-foot sailboats.
Price: $200 for four hours, plus the cost of a captain/instructor
Dates: By reservation
The program is for children 7 and older who know how to swim. Beginner instruction will focus on water safety skills, rigging and de-rigging boats, nautical terms, knots, and elementary sailing skills. In the intermediate class, the emphasis will be on building the child’s confidence in boat handling skills, including skippering, sail trim, rules of the road and an introduction to racing. Students are invited and encouraged to participate in as many sessions as possible. Classes meet next to the Sandusky City Building, 22 Meigs Street
Price: Mornings $130 a week for members and $150 for nonmembers. All day $250 a week for members and $275 for nonmembers
Dates: Weekly sessions June 18-Aug. 3
The program is designed to make sailing accessible for children, adults, and veterans of all abilities, with sessions on Experiential Sailing, Learn to Sail, and Learn to Race throughout the summer. There are aslo special Open House days for the Ohio Veterans Home.
Learn how to sail in weeklong lessons, or rent your own boat by the pier in this idyllic community. Children age 5-10 can learn to sail for free in the Kids Setting Sail program, 2:30-4:30 p.m. on Sundays. Gate fees may apply.
Learn how to skipper and crew a day-sailing keelboat in two days of hands-on experience aboard a simple sloop steered by a tiller in the basic keelboat class.
You can also opt for more advanced classes that will allow you to rent and sail a boat from Harbor North.
Or, women can take part in the annual Women’s Sailing Weekend June 8-10. Spend the night on the boat and focus on hand-on tasks of a mid-size cruising sailboat. This is a great opportunity to hone your cruising skills in a friendly environment. On-the-water sessions emphasize boat handling and iclude practice drills in tacking, jibing and coming about. Crews will be split by ability level.
Cost: $345, including sleeping accommodations and meals.
Classes are offered at Sandusky’s home port, to learn in the protected waters of Sandusky Bay, as well as on Catawba and in Cleveland.
Both weekend and mid-week American Sailing Association classes are offered, as well as provide private lessons on your boat or theirs. Classes are limited to four people per class.
Dates: Two-day classes offered throughout season
Take a private 90-minute sailing lesson for beginning, intermediate or advanced sailors. Call 440-639-9972 for more information and availability.
Price: $40 includes instruction and use of Lake Metroparks equipment.