Going for that First Sail
Published on July 10th, 2017
Sailors one and all will tell you once they took that first sail and felt the wind, the water, and the boat meld into a single entity, they were hooked. It was a seduction they only wish had taken place sooner.
“For many people, once they are introduced to sailing, then sailing becomes an important part of their lives,” said Chip Gossman, the rear commodore of North Cape Yacht Club, located on the extreme western end of Lake Erie, just north of Toledo.
“You quickly fall in love with the sport of sailing and the time on the water, but you also get introduced to the community of sailing and end up making many lifelong friends.”
Gossman is helping direct the First Sail program at North Cape, which gives the interested, the curious, the adventurous, and the inquisitive all the opportunity to experience sailing in a relaxed setting.
First Sail, which is run in conjunction with US Sailing, is intended to introduce sailing and the sailing communities to newcomers interested in learning to sail.
The format allows individuals to sail on one of North Cape’s three 26 to 27-foot keelboats, then enjoy some hospitality and fellowship at the club.
“Sailing is really a community sport that brings people together,” Gossman said. “We see it all of the time. Some people end up in the racing side of sailing, while some just enjoy cruising or a leisurely sail, but we all share the enjoyment of being on the water.”
The First Sail initiative has received a lot of attention in national sailing publications, but Gossman said the target clientele — nonsailors — likely don’t see those magazines, and therefore many are not aware of the unique opportunity.
“This is the first year for the program and, like anything in its first year, we expected to experience some growing pains,” he said. “But we have been spreading the word and trying to let as many people as possible become aware of this chance to go sailing for the first time. We’re hoping to see this gain some momentum and really grow.”
Information on the national First Sail program is available at firstsail.org.