A sailor's view of Brooklyn and New York City.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Yacht Clubs of Brooklyn: Sorta Edition, Sebago Canoe Club
It's finally Spring, which means that we'll be sailing soon. But what do others, who have a passion to breathe the salt-air and experience the aero- and hydro-dynamics of sailing, but have a very limited budget do to start making plans to get on the water?
The simplest thing would be to find a friend with a boat and mooch! (For those moochers out there, the appropriate etiquette is to offer to help the skipper perform pre-season work on their boat, such as sanding and painting. And when you're invited, bring something, whether beer, fruit, water or sandwiches. It will be appreciated.)
Let's say you don't know anyone with a boat, there are still some low-cost options out there for you. One is the Sebago Canoe Club located on the Paerdegat Basin in Canarsie, Brooklyn. SCC has been around for 75 years and is easily accessible to Jamaica Bay after a short sail/paddle under Belt Parkway. As we can personally attest, Jamaica Bay is a fantastic sailing area, but our friends at SCC tell us that Paerdegat Basin "can be a bit nasty at times - particularly when the sewage goes to the storm drains and empties into the Basin, but once out of the Basin and into the Jamaica Bay it is an amazing place to sail and perfect for small boats and truly beautiful."
Sebago Canoe Club's sailing program is very different from a traditional yacht club/sailing club. The club is all volunteer - no paid staff so everything is done by their members - and the sailing committee is quite small (15-20 members) by comparison to the club's kayaking group.
All of Sebago's boats are limited by what can be carried down the ramp that goes to their dock. In terms of sailing, they sail one-design dinghies including Lasers, Sunfish, and Force 5s. The club has several sailors who have larger skiff type boats and some members still have and use sailing canoes. The club's boats include two Lasers, three Sunfish, a Super Sunfish, a Force 5 and a Club 420.
SCC's club boats are available to members who have been "certified." (Information is on their website outlining the requirements.) Additionally the club requires yearly work by it's members as part of the membership requirement. Because SCC maintains all of its boats, their sailing members must be self-sufficient with getting their boats down to the water and launched. Unfortunately, SCC does not offer rentals and does not have a youth program.
SCC has an annual sailing class for members, that includes classroom, rigging instruction, some on-the-ground practice and then on-the-water practice both days - (second day usually includes an extensive cruise, followed by a beaching, setting up buoys and putting the students through the paces of boat handling and capsizing). This year it takes place on June 28th and 29th. Our friends at Sebago Canoe Club limit their classes to members because the class has a 1:1 ratio of students to instructors. In addition, SCC's sailors plan cruises once a month throughout the summer and have races every Friday evening (on the water by 5:30pm). If last year is any indication, SCC is serious about racing. They had more than 16 club races in 2007.
The only time SCC takes out non-members is at their open house, which is scheduled to take place on May 24th.
Considering that family memberships start at $250, individual memberships are $175, this may be one of the best summertime options for New Yorkers looking to get on the water. I'm sure that even Madame X would approve of this expense.