Sailing classes

Edgewater Yacht Club launches adult sailing lessons for non-members

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Sailing can seem like an elusive, exclusive and expensive sport. It’s intimidating, when boats can cost thousands of dollars and sailors have been tacking and jibing since childhood.

“It’s a really tough barrier to break,” said Edgewater Yacht Club sailing program manager Dave Hein. “But it’s something that I work very hard to try to do.”

Edgewater will therefore be offering its first sailing lessons to adult non-members this summer, in a bid to expand the sport.

“He’s been a hope of the club for a long time,” Hein said. “We are finally going to do it and bring some of our expertise from the world of junior sailing to adult sailing.”

Update: Edgewater will not be offering adult sailing lessons in 2020.

Classes will likely use a small keelboat, the same dinghies that kids ages 8 and up use at Edgewater Junior Sailing Camp. The lessons will be tailored to the needs of the students – are they new to the sport or are they competent sailors who want to learn racing tricks?

Classes will prioritize EYC members but will also be open to non-members, said Hein, a sailing coach who raced on the University of Jacksonville sailing team and trained for the Olympic Games.

Each session lasts 3 weeks and will meet from 1-4 p.m. Sunday and 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, weather permitting. The cost is $250 for members and $300 for non-members. Registrations will be open soon.

Hein, 23, started sailing at the age of 6 at the Cleveland Yachting Club in Rocky River.

When he was a kid, junior sailing teams were made up of kids whose parents also raced. Now, however, with summer camps and outreach programs like Foundry, new families are trying the sport.

“There are definitely more people who want to be on the water,” he said. “We just have to find better access and create programs that keep them engaged…If we can get more boats on the water, it’s more fun for everyone.

The Foundry Community Rowing and Sailing Center has opened up sailing to children, especially high school and college students, who sail from the historic Cleveland Coast Guard Station. Adults can sail on fall Sundays with Foundry’s FROST series or Tuesday night dinghy races.

But aside from classes at Cleveland’s Metroparks, there haven’t been many opportunities for adults to cruise in Cleveland.

Hein hopes graduates of Edgewater’s sailing classes can sail their own dinghies or connect with EYC members who need crew on bigger boats. Eventually, he would also like to see the club organize corporate team building sailing sessions and charter boats for certified sailors.

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