Cruising Stories

Cabrito Anyone?

West Coast
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October 2020
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By
April
Winship

Ferocious with life was writer John Steinbeck's description of Mexico's Sea of Cortez. The 760-mile long Baja Peninsula is a ribbon of majestic mountains flanked on one side by the vast Pacific Ocean and the other by a turquoise sea, dotted with islands. Cactus and scorpions dominate the arid landscape while the warm waters teem with big game fish, colonies of sea lions, colorful coral gardens, and the largest animal to ever live on earth, the blue whale.

We spent our first year cruising in these crystal-clear waters and settled into the groove of life afloat with our five- and seven-year old daughters Quincy and Kendall aboard our 33-foot catamaran, Chewbacca.

[caption id="attachment_320862" align="alignleft" width="342"]

Cabo San Lucas by Zug Zwang | Cabrito | Marinalife

Cabo San Lucas by Zug Zwang[/caption]

Our mornings were dedicated to homeschooling, and by lunchtime when the temperature soared into the triple digits, we slipped overboard for a family snorkel. A swift kick of the fins brought relief as we were swallowed up by a layer of cooler water 15 feet below.

Rifling through the sandy bottom in search of chocolate-colored clams and exploring the rocky outcroppings for hubcap-sized rock scallops became a daily ritual. Probing the dark crevices for the twitchy antenna of a lobster sometimes brought us face to face with a partially hidden moray eel flashing a menacing row of inward facing teeth, but could just as often lead to the discovery of an octopus lair. Then I would slip a clam from my bag, carefully sliding it toward a curious outstretched tentacle.

We happily languished in this desert paradise until Christmas lay just around the corner. Although the threatening denim blue skies of hurricane season had long disappeared, the changing seasons brought a new hazard. As the prevailing winds clocked to the west, our once protected cove was now directly exposed to the increasing winds and waves. It was clearly time to move on. Many of our friends had already sailed south and were planning one last rendezvous before the fleet scattered.

Like a caboose following the train, we reluctantly prepared to leave, but even before the anchor was stowed, I heard the captain of Escape place an urgent radio call over the VHF. I caught the word EMERGENCY and turned up the volume. I leaned closer into the radio listening intently to the broadcast. Could anyone bring the missing ingredient for Debbie's family ravioli recipe? What, no MAYDAY? Understanding the seriousness of an Italian culinary calamity, we rose to the challenge.

After a slight detour to visit the local market, we hoisted our largest sails to make our best time toward the gathering. Packed on ice inside our largest cooler was the special delivery, dark green Swiss chard.

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Bruce with Starfish | Cabrito | Marinalife

Bruce with a starfish[/caption]

Mesmerized by the passing landscape, I drank in the kaleidoscope of colors; auburn, ochre and sandstone hues passed by, and I pressed them deep into my mind's eye, saving the images to be conjured up on a stormy gray day. My heart felt a twinge as I realized we would not pass this way again.

I turned to see if Bruce was also soaking in the bewitching views, but his gaze was focused on the chart as his finger busily traced the fathom lines searching for dangers. When I asked what he thought of this section of coastline, he looked up with a grin and said, This is fantastic, there are no shoals along this whole quadrant, and we can safely keep this course all the way to the last waypoint.

His voice went up a notch in excitement as he added, There is also a favorable current pulling us along…should be an awesome sail. Well, I would just have to drink in the beauty for the two of us, for his greatest delight underway was keeping our sails well-trimmed, his seamanship skills sharp, thus keeping our family and floating home safe.

By midday I spied a cluster of masts hidden in the aquamarine water of the shallow bay. As Bruce readied the anchor, I slowly circled the knot of boats when he abruptly raised his fist signally for me to power down. I slipped the engine into neutral, and we glided through the glassy water in silence.

Then I heard them. Scanning the surrounding bluffs, Quincy spied a small herd of goats climbing the scrubby shoreline and pointed. The small brass bells tied around their necks tinkled as they pranced nimbly up the narrow paths that crisscrossed rocky ledges.

Chewbacca slid effortlessly through the still water as Kendall asked, Is one of those goats going to be our dinner? Bruce replied with a grin and a wink, Well, our Christmas turkey this year may have hooves. I slipped the throttle into gear and by the time Chewbacca's anchor hit the pristine water, our welcoming committee had trotted over the shallow indentation in the hillock and out of sight.

Once settled, I dug out my less than chic 12 plastic Christmas tree and placed it squarely on the salon table while Santa, who was wearing shorts, rewired a new fan above the galley countertop. The girls had crafted a hearth out of recycled cereal boxes and even though the flames were cut from aluminum foil, they knelt before the fire rubbing their hands together as if to warm themselves, even clad in their swimsuits. Not your typical North American, Norman Rockwell Christmas scene.

[caption id="attachment_320864" align="alignleft" width="300"]

Quincy up the mast watching for reefs | Cabrito | Marinalife

Quincy up the mast watching for reefs[/caption]

The late afternoon sun turned a deep marigold as everyone reunited on the beach to coordinate the next day's festivities. We discussed who was bringing what to the potluck and the topic soon drifted to the main course. More than Chewbacca's crew had noticed the grazing goats. Bruce floated the idea that with no Christmas turkey to roast… maybe a BBQ goat Cabrito would suffice?

Heads nodded and soon a small contingent hiked to the nearby settlement to meet with the local goat herder in hopes of placing an order. As luck would have it, the farmer agreed, and even gave us the pick of the litter. No one stepped up to decide which goat would be the guest of honor, so they let the farmer choose. Cowards!

The Christmas feast was almost here and with my galley helpers, preparation went quickly. I had just finished dumping a pile of fresh steamer clams on a mountain of pasta when I glanced outside and noticed that the main course had arrived on the beach. A large bundle wrapped in aluminum foil was carefully lifted out of a fisherman's skiff and laid on one of several tables set up on shore.

A call over the radio announced the turkey had arrived, and within minutes waves rippled through the anchorage as a dozen dinghies converged on the beach. It was time to celebrate.

It's about the size of a German Shepherd, remarked Bruce as he peaked at the bundle of steaming Cabrito goat just off the spit. Let me check to be sure those are hooves and not toenails on our little buddy. This was met with a collective groan, but strangely I was salivating like a Pavlovian dog hearing the dinner bell.

Somewhere north of us, our families were pulling on mittens and wooly caps, driving through snow flurries to unite around the dinner table. Thinking wistfully of my family, I dug my bare toes deep into the hot sand and lifted my face skyward, pushing my wide brimmed canvas hat aside to catch the warming rays of the sun. Bruce wore his only button up shirt, which depicted hula dancers and palm trees swaying in the tropics. The whimsical theme framed his deeply tanned neck and forearms.

As I filled my plate, I knew I would have to pace myself as I chose between a little Cabrito goat, homemade ravioli, garlic shrimp, linguini, slaw, homemade bread, mashed potatoes, corn bread stuffing, and for dessert … an all-American apple pie.

A flood of contentment and gratitude washed over me as a rogue wave crept up the sand wrapping a foamy caress around my ankles and then retreated. I cast my gaze on the small band of sailboats clustered in the most gorgeous of settings and it struck me: Great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, impossible to forget.

It was exactly the Christmas I had hoped for.

Set Sail and Live Your Dreams (Seaworthy Publications, 2019), about their family's 10-year cruising adventure cruising aboard their 33-foot catamaran Chewbacca, is available in both paperback and e-book at Amazon.See April's other articles on Marinalife here!

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Our Adventures between the Great Lakes from Detroit to Port Huron
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My husband Tim and I spent 2021 traveling 8,000 miles around the Great Loop. Like many, we wanted to cruise in Canada, but we didn’t get the green light for entry in time. We were initially bummed, but our mood quickly shifted as we discovered some of our favorite stops on the stretch that kept us in U.S. waters, including our journey between Lake Erie and Lake Huron.

Starting Point: Detroit, MI

It’s not uncommon to find bumper stickers and t-shirts throughout the city with the slogan, “Say Nice Things About Detroit.” We found it was pretty easy to do. In fact, Detroit was so nice that we extended our stay in port by choice, because we didn’t want to miss out on all the Motor City has to offer.

The protected 52-slip William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor is the city’s most centrally located marina where it’s easy to take advantage of MoGo (Detroit’s bike-share), scooters and Uber to zip around the city.

Detroit’s dining options are mesmerizing and abundant.  Grab a slice of Detroit-style pizza at Buddy’s Pizza. For great Greek food, head to family-owned Pegasus Taverna, order the saganaki and prepare to yell “Opa!” with your server. Enjoy breakfast at Avalon International Breads for homemade bread and a fresh warm sticky bun. Be sure to sample hotdogs from Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island restaurants. They’ve been neighbors since the 1930s, and it is contested which restaurant has the best dog, so I recommend trying one from both to pick your team.

Stretch your legs biking or walking along Detroit’s Riverwalk, named the best riverwalk in the country.  It runs along the Detroit River and weaves around green parks, volleyball courts, wetlands and an amphitheater.

If you visit Detroit on a weekend, take the Dequindre Cut, a two-mile greenway lined with art from the marina to Eastern Market. In operation since 1891, the market spans six blocks with vendors from all over the state selling fresh food and produce on Saturdays and locally made goods on Sundays. The wares were so delicious that it made us wish we had more room in our galley (and more meals in the day).

Detroit’s downtown is bustling in the summer. Test your skills on rollerblades at the summer-only outdoor roller rink at Monroe Street Midway or grab a drink and put your toes in the sand at the beach at Campus Martius Park. And if you’re lucky to be in town during a home game, head over to Comerica Park stadium to catch a Tigers game.

To learn how Detroit became the “Motor City.” A 20-minute drive about 4 miles from the marina brings you to Ford’s headquarters where you can take a tour of the Ford Rouge Factory and the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, where Henry Ford built the Model T. Detroit’s rich past is not just limited to cars. Spend an afternoon getting to know the city’s history of innovation and ingenuity at the Detroit Historical Museum. 

Just steps from the marina, check out Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources' impressive Outdoor Adventure Center, to help you take advantage of Michigan's great outdoors and get pumped up for future cruising through the region’s waterways.

Stop 1: Belle Isle

Estimated Mileage: 2 NM

Belle Isle is the largest city-owned island park in America, located on the Detroit River between the United States and Canada. The island’s only marina is the Detroit Yacht Club, which has a limited number of transient slips for reciprocal members, so it’s best to explore while keeping your boat at Milliken Marina. 

Roughly 1,000 acres, Belle Isle is home to an aquarium, maritime museum, botanical garden, beach, picnic areas and playgrounds that provide a plethora of options to explore. You won’t find great spots to grab a bite to eat, so we recommend stopping at Atwater Brewery on the way back to the marina.

Stop 2: Harrison Township, Lake St. Clair

Estimated Mileage: 24 NM

Often referred to as the Great Lake’s smaller cousin, Lake St. Clair is large enough to easily keep your distance from freighters yet small enough to explore in a day.

By boat, you can visit several of the lake’s swimming spots in Anchor and Bouvier Bays (or “Munchies” Bay as the locals say), popular for their clear water and hard bottoms. After an afternoon of swimming, cruise through the Clinton River and tie up at one of several restaurants catering to a lively boater scene for a drink and meal. Crews Inn is one of our favorites for their fun atmosphere and great food.

Lake St. Clair Metropark Marina is a popular spot for transients. The marina is located in the park, so after docking, enjoy the expansive park’s beaches, trails, picnic areas and swimming pool.

Stop 3: Port Huron, MI

Estimated Mileage: 44 NM

Port Huron is home to the start of one of the longest fresh-water races in the world called the Port Huron to Mackinac Sailing Race, and the port is a charming and boater-friendly destination.

Ideal for its central location and friendly members, Port Huron Yacht Club is a great place for tying up, sipping a drink at the clubhouse and avoiding the drawbridges on the Black River. Another popular spot is about a mile farther down the river at the 95-slip River Street Marina.

Port Huron is home to the Island Loop Route National Water Trail, a 10-mile loop through the Black River, Lake Huron and St. Clair River. Your dinghy is a must through the Black River and for exploring the town and clear waters by boat.

Walk a mile along the Blue Water River Walk that runs along the St. Clair River. Be sure to leave enough time to watch the freighters go by and delve into the area’s history that is shared along the route. Continue a couple of miles farther to Lighthouse Park, where you can enjoy an afternoon at the beach and swim in Lake Huron’s crystal clear water.

During a stroll downtown, check out the Knowlton’s Ice Museum of North America to discover the history of local ice harvesting that took place along the Great Lakes.

When you’ve done enough activities to work up an appetite, Casey’s is the place for delicious breadsticks and pizza. For a more upscale option, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu at The Vintage Tavern. Maria’s Downtown Café offers a hearty breakfast, and Raven Café or Exquisite Corpse Coffee House are great options for a cup of coffee.

Kate Carney is a writer and Great Gold Looper who traveled 8,000 miles on Sweet Day, a 31-foot Camano trawler. Learn more about her and her husband’s adventures on lifeonsweetday.com

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Cruising Cartagena: A Worthy Destination
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Route planning can sometimes be more about what you choose to miss rather than what you include. Time in country can be surprisingly short for many cruisers, as seasonal weather requires you to plot a destination and move toward it on a relatively strict timeframe. Often you leave little room for detours and deviations. If a country isn’t on your track, it is left in your wake forever. 

The problem is, unplanned destinations often crop up and fitting them in can become a priority.  Colombia was never a name on our cruising destinations list until we arrived in the Southern Caribbean, but the closer we got to South America the more frequently the name Cartagena cropped up. At the time our focus was on transiting the Panama Canal and cruising the remote Pacific Islands, so detouring to a big city didn’t appeal. However, we were going from low-key islands in the Atlantic to low-key islands in the Pacific, so an injection of high-speed would be a nice change of pace. With a large, sheltered bay, busy metropolitan city, UNESCO World Heritage Site and the vivacious Latin culture, Colombia was our unexpected add-on. 

As the date for our transit to Colombia neared, rumors started to spread concern. We heard reports of strong winds, poor anchorages and crime off the north coast of Colombia, as reasons to avoid the country. The winds that funnel around the coast create a wind acceleration zone, resulting in high winds and steep seas. Would we be driving our boat Aeta into a chaotic washing machine? Colombia has a history of violent crime. Would we lose everything not padlocked to the deck or hidden on our bodies? Everyone spoke of rough anchorages and the need to stay in marinas. Could our budget survive? 

The more we heard of Colombia, however, the more the sense of adventure outweighed calls for caution. As sailors, how could we not be drawn to a city steeped in piracy, conquest and gold? As travelers, how could we not fall under the spell of a vibrant city thriving behind old, fortified walls? Plus, we’d get a break from our lazy sun-drenched Caribbean beach days to drink “aquadentes” under the twinkling lights strung above Cartagena’s rooftop bars and dance until dawn in the city’s famous salsa clubs. We re-drew the travel plan for the season and decided to sail for Cartagena. 

The Old Amid the New

Cartagena’s dramatic high-rise skyline rose up on the horizon as we closed our two-day passage from Bonaire to Colombia, giving our first indication of the different pace that lay ahead of us. As we entered through the eastern entrance to Bocagrande, our echo-sounder bounced from 10 to 3 meters, registering an underwater breakwater that was built in the mid-1700s to close off the northern entrance to the bay and force access to Cartegena by sea past the heavily fortified southern entrance. 

Old military forts that once protected the Spanish from foreign invaders now stood idle, welcoming inbound traffic from all over the world. Today, Cartagena is Colombia’s main container port and processes around 1,600 vessels each year, including container ships, cruise ships, bulk carriers and the odd cruising yacht. The cannons that point seaward are no longer a threat to foreign interest. [Image 5]

Sailing past these 500-year-old fortifications is a reminder that much of Cartagena’s past is deeply woven into its present. Old forts stand beside modern skyscrapers that line the shoreline of Playa de Bocagrande, Cartagena’s version of Miami Beach. Empty turrets stand next to busy modern housing complexes and sections of fortress break way to streets and pedestrian walkways. La Ciudad Amurallada, Cartagena’s historic walled city, is the most well-preserved and complete fortification in South America. As in the past, horse and cart roll down old cobblestone streets; however, they are now interrupted by lengthy traffic jams. 

Perfectly preserved colonial architecture has been repurposed into swanky cafés, upmarket restaurants, local residences and boutique shops. The 11 kilometers of old city wall are a unique feature, as you can circumnavigate the city by walking on top of them. The old, exposed brick covered in beautifully painted graffiti and covered in brightly blooming jacaranda is a perfect example of how the past has been woven into the present, creating one of the most beautiful cities in the world. [Image 6a-e] 

We enjoyed every minute of our time in Cartagena. We wandered through San Felipe de Barajas Castle and learned about the constant pirate assaults and colonial invasions, then strolled through the convent and chapel of La Candelaria de la Popa, a beautiful church that sits atop the city’s highest hilltop, Mount Popa. We walked throughout the old walled city a dozen times, seeing popular landmarks from statues of Simón Bolivar and India Catalina that stand in central plazas to gold museums, theater houses, slave quarters and bull rings held within beautiful colonial buildings. We found a dozen or so Spanish colonial-style churches and cathedrals spread throughout the city. 

When we were done sightseeing, we soaked up the colorful Colombian environment. We relaxed in street side cafés, listened to buskers strumming local tunes, window-shopped outside upmarket designer boutiques, ate scrumptious local chow in hole-in-the-wall restaurants and gazed at the provocative murals and graffiti that are displayed throughout the city. 

While ambling through backstreets and staring at magnificent street art, I remembered the list of reasons not to come to Cartagena, and crime topped the list. When everything around me left me buzzing with delight, I wondered what the negative comments were about. [Image 7a-e]

Little Reason for Concern

After gaining first-hand experience, we saw that many of the streets considered too dangerous 20 years ago are now popular hangout spots filled with funky cafes and swanky bars, trendy artisan shops and local art galleries. Rough turned bohemian, and the historically volatile neighborhoods had transformed into a hip, artistic quarter that drew international visitors by the thousands. While I was wary of pickpockets, I had no cause for concern regarding serious crime. [Image 8a-b]

Poor anchorages and restrictions to marinas were also mentioned, but we stayed just outside the Club Nautico de Cartagena marina with our anchor buried deep in the mud. The only rough movement we experienced was created by daily tour boats rushing past us and stirring up significant chop. If you do Cartagena right as a busy tourist, daytime discomfort is irrelevant. By the time you return to your slip, tour boats are tucked in their berths and the peaceful quiet of a flat, calm anchorage surrounded by a city full of sparkling lights presents a view no fancy hotel could match. [Image 9a-b]

Regarding caution with strong winds, the place of greatest intensity is the water between Punta Gallinas and Cabo Augusta. Approach the area with a good forecast, but it requires nothing more than standard good seamanship. The winds can be strong, and the swell can be large, but with a proper forecast you need not avoid the north coast of Colombia. We enjoyed remote, peaceful bays of the Tayrona National Park and the bustle of our anchorage in Cartagena’s busy port, but planned our movement between them with a quick weather check. With time and prudence, entry into the country doesn’t warrant precautions out of the norm. [Image 10]

After experiencing Colombia firsthand, we start a new rumor — Cartagena is a fantastic cruising destination. The winds are manageable, safe anchorages are plentiful and serious crime is a carryover from a bygone era. Take your time, check your weather, trust your anchor and go have big city fun. I came to Cartagena uncertain about what lay ahead, but in a matter of days I’d fallen for its charm. I could stay in the area for weeks, months, even years. Given a sturdy A/C unit, I could stay indefinitely. 

The people are friendly, the topography varied, the cruising options abundant. The city is a living history, blending the old and the new, the past and the present. It is radiant, vibrant and absorbing. 

Adding Colombia to our itinerary was a fantastic diversion, and if it lays as a detour from your route, do yourself a favor: rewrite the plan. Make sure you don’t look back and see it left behind in your wake. A dog-leg isn’t a detour when it holds all that Cartagena offers. It is the destination. [Image 11a-c]

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Women Take to the Water
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It’s 5:30 p.m. on a Friday. Do you know where your wife, mother, daughter or sister is? She might be at the Chicago Yacht Club, launching off in a learn-to-sail lesson in the summer series that’s part of the Women on the Water Program.  Or, if she’s in the Florida Keys, you could find her relaxing ashore after a day casting about in a Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing! tournament. Or maybe she’s cruising the Intracoastal Waterway in North Myrtle Beach on a pontoon boat with friends, all members of Freedom Boat Club’s Sisters group. 

Nationwide nowadays, many groups and clubs are oriented specifically toward female boaters. Some are exclusively for women, others are clubs within co-ed clubs, and still others are part of century-old all-inclusive organizations that now offer opportunities for the ladies.

“A boater is a boater; it’s anyone who loves being on the water. Still, for many years and often today, boating is viewed as a man’s sport. That’s changing as more opportunities become available for women to get out on the water,” says Mary Paige Abbott, the past Chief Commander of the U.S. Power Squadrons, rebranded as America’s Boating Club with 30,000 members — 30% of them women. The century-plus-old organization opened its membership to females in 1982.

Women making waves in boating isn’t new. New York-born Hélène de Pourtalès was the first female to win a medal sailing in the 1900 Olympics. Helen Lerner, who with her husband Michael and friend Ernest Hemingway founded the Bahamas Marlin & Tuna Club in 1936, recorded a women’s first record catch of a swordfish off Nova Scotia. In 1977, Betty Cook landed a first-place finish in the powerboat world championships held in Key West. These examples are extraordinary but only exceptions to the rule that boating is a male-dominated sport. 

Today, the tide is turning. Take sports fishing for example. About 36% of Americans who went fishing last year were women, an all-time participation high, according to the 2021 Special Report on Fishing by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing involvement in recreational angling and boating.

WHY WOMEN?

Why not? That’s what led Betty Bauman to start Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing! in 1997. Since then, this organization of which Bauman is founder and chief executive officer, hosts weekend seminar series dubbed the No-Yelling School of Fishing, as well as tournaments throughout Florida and abroad. To date, Bauman has empowered more than 9,000 women to sportfish.  

“I attended ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, the world’s largest sportfishing trade show) when I had a public relations agency. The American Sportfishing Association’s director asked in a speech why weren’t more women in fishing? After all, as he pointed out, the sport wasn’t reaching some 50% of the potential market. I thought to myself, women don’t want to feel uncomfortable or get yelled out. So, I came up with a way to teach women the basics. How to tie knots, how rods and reels work, and how to make value assessments when fishing, not just following what their husbands yell at them to do or going down in the galley to make sandwiches,” says Bauman.

Women learn differently from men, and that’s the benefit of learning boating skills with and from other women. Just ask Debbie Huntsman, the past president of the National Women’s Sailing Association (NWSA).

“My husband and I were taking a learn to sail class years ago. I saw another boat in the distance and asked the instructor, who was a man, what I needed to do to be sure we didn’t have a collision. He answered that it was just like going down the aisle at the supermarket with a shopping cart; you just know not to hit another cart. That didn’t do it for me,” Huntsman tells. 

The 1990-founded NWSA is a group of national and international women sailors. It supports its members via everything from a library of instructional videos taught by women, for women, to its annual conference, which features hands-on workshops and on-the-water coaching.

“I think women tend to be more meticulous in their learning. They want to know all the moving parts and why they move. They want to do it right and do it perfectly whether men are onboard or not. That’s what I see,” says Karen Berry, VP of operations at Freedom Boat Club (FBC) of the Grand Strand, in Myrtle Beach, SC.

FBC offers free boating training and safety education to all members, including those in the 2017-founded Freedom Boating Diva program, which Berry helped to launch. The group is now called the Freedom Boat Club Sisters group, and 40% of the clubs nationwide now have a Sister component. Members enjoy time on the water together, training activities, social events and boatloads of camaraderie.

CAMARADERIE & NETWORKING

More so than a one-and-done class, many women-centric boating groups and clubs feature ongoing and year-round events. A good example is Women on the Water, a club within a club run by the Chicago Yacht Club’s (CYC) Women’s Committee. The group’s Friday night learn-to-sail series in Sonar 23s only takes place during the summer. The rest of the year, the women (an eclectic group of boating-oriented 20-somethings to 70-plus-year-olds, singles and marrieds, professionals and retirees) meet monthly for educational programs, networking events and happy hours.

“We’ve done everything from a sunset powerboat tour to admire the architecture of the Chicago skyline to a cooking class taught by the club’s pastry chef. During the pandemic, we continued to meet virtually. We had the female president of the U.S. Naval War College speak. We met some of the crew of the Maiden Factor, which is sailing the world to promote women’s sailing, and we had one of our own speak — Maggie Shea, who raced in the 2020 Olympics. The fact that our events fill up and sell out almost immediately tells you there’s a need for this,” says Nancy Berberian, head of the CYC’s Women’s Committee.

Similarly, the nearly four-decade-old Women’s Sailing Association (WSA) at the Houston Yacht Club hosts a residential women’s sailing camp. The Windward Bound Camp, one of the first of its kind in the nation, organizes racing, educational and social events throughout the year.  

“Our sailing socials allow time on the water with other women in a non-competitive environment.  Yearly, we organize a ‘Sail to High.’ Yes, we wear lovely hats and gloves on the sailboat and dock at someone’s home for tea and trimmings,” says Jane Heron, WSA president.

More recently, Women on the Water of Long Island Sound (WOWLIS) was born, made up currently of more than 250 women from 14 yacht clubs in Connecticut and New York who love to sail, race, learn and socialize. 

“It started as a Supper Series, as a way to connect women across our venues,” says Cathleen Blood at WOWLIS. “Now, there is regularly held one-design racing on Ideal 18s, team and fleet racing events, chalk talks and clinics, summer regattas, frostbiting in the spring, and an annual winter meeting to plan for the year ahead. 

To participate in most of these events, you must be a member of one of the yacht clubs. In this way, it’s all about getting clubs to commit to training and get more women on the water. There’s a real advantage. Say there’s a race I want to sail. I’m never stuck for crew. I have a pool of over 200 women, whether I know them or not, I can ask. We’re all united by a shared love of sailing.”

A SAMPLING OF WAYS FOR WOMEN TO GET ON THE WATER

Chicago Yacht Club’s Women on the Water


Freedom Boat Club Sisters Program


Houston Yacht Club Women’s Sailing Association


Ladies Let's go Fishing


National Women’s Sailing Association


Women on the Water Long Island Sound

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