Start Sailing This Spring

How To Start Sailing This Spring

Spring is an excellent time to start sailing because you will have the heart of the sailing season ahead of you to learn new skills and practice them. 

Start Sailing Now
Photo courtesy of Annapolis Sailing School.

If you’ve been curious about sailing or wondered what it would be like to be aboard one of the many sailboats you’ve seen on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, there’s no time like the present. Over the next month or two, sailors and sailing schools around the region will be dusting off boats and splashing them into the water. Most of those boats take more than one person to sail, so skippers will be looking for crewmembers. 

You might wonder, what do I have to offer a skipper if I’ve never before sailed or have limited skills. If you’re open to some informal coaching and on-the-job learning, there are plenty of skippers who will welcome a newbie. Bring your positive attitude, coachable mind frame, friendly demeanor, and maybe a six pack of beer or a bag of pretzels, and you’ll be a welcome addition on many boats.

Loads of local sailors have picked up enough skills to become valuable crewmembers without ever taking a formal class. Talk to friends, co-workers, and outdoor enthusiasts in your social and personal circles, and ask if they own a boat or know someone who does that might welcome and eager and affable learner.

Crew Parties

You will find many sailors to network with at the SpinSheet-sponsored Crew Parties happening this spring. SpinSheet’s Crew Parties are for anyone who’d like to connect with other Chesapeake Bay sailors and sail more often. The parties are free and open to all experience levels. If you’re looking for a boat, we’ll give you a name tag that says so, then you go mingle. Sailors who have a boat and are looking for crew will be identified by their nametags. It’s a great way to meet new people and learn more about the Chesapeake sailing scene. The Solomons, MD, edition is already in the books. Two parties are coming up in April:

  • Hampton - Saturday, April 6, 6 - 8 p.m., Marker 20, 21 E Queens Way, Hampton, VA 23669
  • Annapolis - Sunday, April 28, 4 - 6 p.m. following the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show and featuring live music by the Geckos. Outdoor party held rain or shine, so dress for the weather. Eastport Yacht Club,317 First St., Annapolis, MD 21403

A terrific online resource is SpinSheet’s Crew Finder page, where boat owners and crew can connect with one another. 

Sailing Schools offer a comprehensive approach

Sailing schools are amazing resources. Such schools offer a comprehensive approach to building your skills. Sailing classes are an excellent way to make sure you’re learning best practices and not picking up sloppy habits. Each school has its own ‘flavor,’ so visit them online, make a call, and then go make an appointment to stop by in person. Get a feel for the staff and the boats they teach on. Ask questions. You will find many reputable schools advertising in the pages and pixels of SpinSheet. Be sure to look for our Adult Sailing Schools feature article in the April issue and find lots more resources and inspiring stories at Start Sailing Now.

Where are they now?

Over the years SpinSheet has profiled more than 100 sailors in the Chesapeake region who took up the sport (or got seriously into it) as adults. We wonder, where are they now?

Team SpinSheet is planning a series of articles to answer that question. If you’ve shared your story on the pages of Start Sailing Now and would like to update us on your sailing progress since we first interviewed you, we’d love to hear from you. Send a note to [email protected] and let us know about your racing, cruising, paddling, or powerboating adventures on the water. Have you bought a boat? Started racing? Sailed beyond the Bay? Made new sailing friends? Tried your hand at night sailing? Volunteered with an on-water program? Introduced others to sailing? We’d like to celebrate your accomplishments and share them with our readers. As always, our goal is to inspire other adults to start sailing now! 

We are planning to gather our Start Sailing Now 'Alumni' at the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show, April 26-28, 2024. Find more details here. If you were featured on our Start Sailing Now page and have not received a Save the Date email, reach out to [email protected] to update your contact information with us.