When it’s winter in Rochester

Published on February 13th, 2020

How do you keep your club membership activated during those months when the weather is unkind? Holly Stevens, Waterfront Manager at Rochester Yacht Club, reports on what her members are doing in an upstate New York winter when not much sailing is going on.


The Rochester Yacht Club has introduced a new competitive sailing fleet for its 2020 season. The Soling One Meter RC fleet has made a rapid introduction to RYC. Starting out with a few friends coming down to the Club to sail their RC boats has now turned into a 21-boat start line; the fastest growing and largest one design fleet at RYC.

The first ever RC Soling winter series was created. Nine races were completed under tough conditions for our first day of the winter series – 8-12 knots of breeze, snowing, and about 20°F out. Not only freezing the skippers on land but many had main sheets and boats iced over. All skippers still had a great day on the water despite the conditions.

Some would say it isn’t about the scores, it is more about the entertainment. We have professional sailors, powerboaters, and other water lovers out controlling these remote sailboats. The humor behind watching a world class sailor lose their boat under the dock or on the rocks over and over is just something that makes for a great day of sailing.

Many are still learning how to sail the boat, trimming with a remote control can be challenging. The competition is tough, but it is a welcoming, fun group for all that are interested.

The fun continues at the bar where skippers gather for a nice drink, food, and warmth. The scores are tallied, the daily award is presented and then comes the comical part; laughing about the mishaps on the race course.

Members at the Rochester Yacht Club have started something here. They can’t wait till summer to be on their boats, so they bring the fun to winter and continue to sail their Soling One Meters in the RYC basin.

A balmy 20°F and frozen mainsheets will not stop this fleet from being on the water.

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