Jolly Roger Sailing Club

Jolly Roger LogoSailing! After ten years of dreaming about it and ten years of putting it off I was finally able to take sailing lessons.  The opportunity came in the form of a Craigslist ad for an Adult Sailing Program at the Jolly Roger Sailing Club in Toledo, OH.  For only $125 (total!) the Three Jays could get an introduction to sailing that included one class room session and six hours of on-the-water, hands on lessons from an experienced member of the club.

I’ll admit to being a bit nervous the first time we went to the club. The very thought of a “yacht club” evoked images of Bushwood Country Club – high society stuffiness and “pinkies out” etiquette. What we found was a warm welcome by some of the friendliest, down to earth people you could imagine. The primary purpose of the club seems to be about members sharing their sailing knowledge, promoting the sport, and enjoying the company of fellow sailing enthusiasts. We felt right at home.

Me at the helm under Bill's watchful eye.

Me at the helm under Bill’s watchful eye.

Phil, JRSC’s Membership Chair, led the classroom session, which was about 90 minutes focused on safety (wear your PFD), boating rules of the road, and a fun knot tying exercise. Many club members were there to help out and to get to know the students. At the end of the classroom session students were paired with an instructor for the “on the water” portion of the class and left to make arrangements to get out and do some sailing.

Jill kicking back on the way to Toledo Light

Jill kicking back on the way to Toledo Light

The day of our first sail came as slow as Christmas did for young Ralphie Parker and I was every bit as excited, impatient, and nervous as he was. But finally the day did come and we met our instructors, Bill & Judy, at their 30′ Ticon Magi. We hadn’t met Bill & Judy before but found them to be, like everyone else at JRSC, warm, welcoming, and a lot of fun.

Jess taking a turn at the wheel

Jess taking a turn at the wheel

Over the course of the next month we sailed with Bill & Judy three times. The first session covered the basics: safety, raising the sails, steering and trimming for various points of sail, tacking, jibing, and bringing the boat safely back to the dock. The next two sessions built on the first with drills that refined our skills and built confidence.  All this and some absolutely lovely sailing in the western basin of Lake Erie.


Under sail

The program culminated with a “graduation” ceremony at the JRSC clubhouse where we were treated to “Pirate Burgers”, a trivia contest, and a whole lot of good company. The Jolly Roger Adult Sailing Program was a positive experience at every touch.So much so that we are becoming members of the club!

In addition to the adult program JRSC offers a junior program that is known as one of the best in the area. The focus for the juniors is to build basic skills while having fun with opportunities for competitive racing when the time is right.  Jess was able to go out with them a couple of times before school started and is looking forward to taking it up again next summer.

If you are interested in dipping a toe into the world of sailing, Jolly Roger Sailing Club is a Good Place to go.

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