Meet Felicia Lombard: Tell us how you got into sailing.
I sailed one summer during camp as a child and was reintroduced to sailing in 2000 at the age of 20. I decided to join a women’s racing group in Rochester, NY, and went out with friends to learn more. That fall I joined a crew on a J/24, which I stayed with for five years, and we competed in J/24 World Championships. My love for sailing exploded, and I also started racing Sunfish and Interclub frostbiting in Rochester, in addition to joining crew on a Farr 47. Unfortunately I had a sailing accident during a race in 2017 and broke numerous bones, but got back on the boat the next season anyway!
Making the move to the Chesapeake Bay
In 2018 I moved to Maryland and found the community very welcoming. I posted a crew profile on the Annapolis Yacht Club (AYC) website stating my sailing experience and that I was looking to expand my current knowledge and learn as much as possible. I also went on SpinSheet for more information, attended a few crew parties, as well as emailed a few captains seeking crew for casual sailing in the Chesapeake. I found everyone to be very welcoming and open to sharing their knowledge of sailing to a newcomer. I now sail with a J/105 team at AYC, race Lasers at SSA, and do casual racing at Baltimore County Sailing Center.
What advice do you have for those who want to start sailing?
Variety: I would look to gain experience from a variety of opportunities because you will learn something different from everyone. Try going on a boat for a casual sail, advertising yourself as new crew, or signing up for a sailing course.
Courage: It can be scary to try something new. Know that there will be moments when you feel out of place, but that will change. Keep asking questions and keep getting back on the boat!
Passion: If you show interest and passion for the sport, others will be happy to help you find a way to learn. There are endless opportunities in the area! Sailors are a friendly bunch and want to share that joy with others.
My last bit of advice is a favorite quote of mine: Always remember that, “The expert in anything was once a beginner.” I encourage anyone to try it! You are never too old to try something new.