By Nicholas Upton
July 10, 2014
Filed under Nicholas Upton
Boating in an urban area is tricky, even someplace with as fantastic lakes and waterfronts as Minneapolis. I’ve always, somehow, found an outlet. A cheap canoe off Craigslist; a shared set of kayaks with a friend; rentals and monthly trips to a lakefront cabin have always kept me on the water.
But I wanted to try my hand at sailing, and that’s even trickier. A slip on an urban lake is no small expense, not to mention the price of a lake-worthy boat. The interminable Minnesota winters add the issue of storage and towing – not something my miniscule Honda is prepared for.
So when I heard about the Twin Cities Sailing Club, I was eager to sign up. The popularity meant I had to wait a while, and wake up far too early to mash the refresh button on my browser until the signup form was available. I managed to get in, and paid my dues (less than half the cost of a private slip).
I was enthusiastic to say the least; I even bought a pair of smart new boat shoes with all the money I saved.
The club has a really smart setup. You sail with experienced skippers until you’ve completed a long list of training requirements, then you have to abide by “the deal:” free access to the club boats as long as you help train new sailors a couple times a month.
When I showed up to my first meeting, I half expected a troop of Kennedy clones with big white teeth and dapper sweaters. Instead (for better or worse) I found a whole group of people just like me – sunscreen slathered urban professionals just excited to be on the water.
My first outing was a great experience, my very patient skipper let me refresh my skills with limited hand holding even though I could sense his distress when I heeled dangerously for my limited skills.
I made a good dent in my path toward being a skipper myself thanks to a little prior knowledge of sailing. But boy do I have to learn the terms – apparently “Duck!” is not sufficient warning when tacking.
I hope to write more about the club as I continue through the process, so stay tuned.