A poetic man once said: “Picture yourself in a boat on a river” (John Lennon). You’ve got the dream in mind, but you’re wondering: is sailing within my reach? Where do I start? Is it affordable?
Being on the water is a very enjoyable activity. It is social, spiritual, exhilarating at times (in a good way) and everybody can do it. And when I say everybody – I really mean it. In the 20 years I’ve been sailing all over the world, I’ve sailed with babies, toddlers, pregnant women, elders (as old as 95 years old!), deaf, blind, physically and mentally disabled – did I say everybody?
And, in spite of what some of you may think, sailing doesn’t need to be expensive. If you look hard enough, it can even be free! Sailors are friendly people and are always looking for new crew and enjoy welcoming new people to their boats.
We have gathered 5 accessible ways to start sailing:
Sail on a friend’s boat. You’d be surprised. It is very likely that one of your friends or one of your friend’s friends owns a boat! According to Statistic Brain, there were 11,860,000 registered recreational vessels in the US in 2016. Just ask around (in person, over social media etc.) and you’ll be surprised!
While classified ads are ancient history, the concept still exists – either on social media, websites or apps. Check out Facebook groups like: Sailing and Cruising, Women Who Sail, Facebook Yacht Club, Sailors of New York, Long Island Sounds Sailing Enthusiasts and any other local equivalent. Websites: Find a Crew (which has a “Find a Boat” section), Crewbay. Recommended apps: Go Sailing, Sail Connect.
Join a Sailors Meetup: there are meetup groups run by sailing aficionados, yacht clubs and even by private boat owners who are seeking crews! The Sailors NYC Meetup, with over 530 members, meets (at least) once a month for an indoor instruction, a lecture, a movie night, indoors and outdoors drinks, Docktails and more. We have many boat owners in our group who come to look for crew members – all you need is to Meetup!
Dock walk: We are not encouraging you to break into a marina dock, but if the gate is open – then why not? Even at marinas with limited dock area (as most of the boats are moored) you can most likely meet boat owners by the clubhouse, the Yacht Club restaurant, in the closest bar or restaurant or getting on and off the launch. Make a fun day trip out of it, be friendly, chat to local sailors (sailors are very chatty) and express your interest in getting into sailing.
Take an introductory lesson: for those of you who’d like to try out sailing but are looking to feel more comfortable in taking a lesson with a certified instructor – Sailors NYC offers a 2-hour Introductory Hands-on Sailing Lesson. In an intimate session (four participants max under the guidance of a certified instructor) and with the magnificent New York City skyline as backdrop, you get the perfect first time experience! $165/person. Use promo-code HOBOKEN for 50% off!
Sounds reasonable, mateys? So what are you waiting for? Another wise man once said:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” —Mark Twain.
See you at sea!