Sailing Club Made My First Season A Success
By John Garner
How Joining A Virtual Sailing Club Made My First Sailing Season A Success
It was September and I just closed on the purchase of a Tartan 4400. I hadn’t sailed for about 25 years.
With confidence (or naivete) I knew my sailing skills would come back. With a hired Captain on board as my safety net I went out on day sails to build my skills and confidence.
Winter skies soon filled, and I was left “armchair” sailing from the comfort of home. A thousand questions entered my mind as I dreamt about my first full sailing season to come:
- What Cape Cod harbors are easy to sail to?
- How do I pick up a mooring when alone?
- How do know when to fill the diesel tank on my sailboat?
- How do I fix a vacuum flush toilet?
- How do I sail to Maine from Cape Cod?
With a serious need to surround myself with knowledgeable and experienced sailors, I had to join a yacht club.
My initial search led me to luxurious yacht clubs with restaurants, bars, facilities, and all the amenities. That wasn’t a fit for me. I wanted to cruise for a few weeks at a time. Be on the water. Explore new places. I’d be paying for a membership and facilities that wouldn’t get used.
I stumbled upon the Blue Water Sailing Club (BWSC) and Tartan Owners Northeast (TONE) that winter. Both are virtual sailing yacht clubs. I joined both. Here’s the best part. I got exactly what I needed. No clubhouse. Just sailors and sailing.
I’ve met and continue to meet very friendly, experienced sailors willing to patiently answer all my cruising questions. My first sail to Maine I had a buddy boat all the way from Boston Harbor to Penobscot bay and back. I know now sailing to Maine is nothing more that a series of day trips. But if you haven’t sailed to Maine before, it’s very intimidating. Having a fellow sailor to talk over the days sail plan, the weather, the destination and where to anchor are invaluable to an inexperienced sailor.
Even now, one club member is talking about sailing to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. The reality is I’d never do such a sail on my own. Now the seeds are planted, and I can’t help but think, could I do this? I think I can!