Episode #006: Your Pocket Sailing Instructor Podcast: 10 Ways to Meet Other Sailors
This week I’m all about helping you meet other like-minded sailors! And they DO exist. I promise. So whether you’ve had a hard time getting into the “boys club” or you don’t know where to start to look for sailing friends, here are some of my suggestions!
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#36: So yeah, all my docklines snapped during this storm… WTF – Your Pocket Sailing Instructor Podcast
1. Join a Club
This is a great way to meet other sailors! The setbacks would include financial commitments. Some clubs can be a bit pricy, but most places offer social memberships if you are not looking for boat mooring. Have a clubhouse, or a place to gather, is a great way to meet others. Grab a pint, break bread, and soak up the local sailing banter!
2. Go to a Boat Show
Boat shows are not only visually pleasing, but you can meet so many people from many different areas. Sailors tend to flock to these shows from great distances sometimes, so if you can get to a boat show I highly recommend it. Also, many boat shows have excellent guest speakers and training sessions that you can join to add to your credentials. Be sure to include them in your sailor resume!
3. Sign up for a Crew Bank
There are many different crew banks available online where you can highlight your experience and publish your interests. This is a great way to meet other sailors. Don’t assume that skippers already have their crew and don’t look at these crew banks! They do!
4. Facebook Group
Facebook has many different engaging boating groups. If you are looking for some humour, join the Boat Fails group, or if you’re looking for something more serious, search for some cruising groups. They could include groups in your area, or maybe an area that you would like to sail to one day. These groups are also a great place to get added value and information (such as “WTF is this thing on my boat?!” or “Sewing on Boats”).
5. Create a Local Event
This one sounds a little daunting from the title, but even creating a pub night for local boaters is a great idea to get people out! Just create a FB event with a date, time and place and note that it is for boaters. I did a paint night once where we learned how to paint sailboats! It was fantastic and I met all kinds of new sailors.
6. Take a Course
Well clearly I think this is a great idea as I run a sailing school, but you would not believe how many of my students get together and sail together after their courses! It makes sense as they have now trained together for several days, and some of them even go into boat ownership together. Taking a course not only improves your skills, but helps to increase your social circle. This is how I ended up doing a Maui to Victoria boat delivery in 2018.
7. Meetup Group
There are some cities that have very active meetup groups. These groups do all kinds of outdoor activities together. I would say that you could even join in on other outdoor enthusiast activities and you’ll probably find other sailors in the group. I have found that many sailors are also skiers, climbers, and scuba divers.
8. Volunteer at a Club Event
This one also falls into the category of joining a club, but there are also many clubs that appreciate volunteers. You can either volunteer for an event, or a specific role. When I moved to Nelson I joined the Kootenay Lake Sailing Association (KLSA) and volunteered as the Secretary for a couple of terms. Was a good way to meet other sailors in the area and learn about the local sailing community. Volunteering also helps to fill your social bucket and gives you something to look forward to. I have also recently joined the Bluewater Cruising Association, and they are a busy group with all kinds of great things going on!
9. Join a Race
If you learn about any regattas or social races in your area, sign up! Most clubs or associations have a physical board where you can post your credentials to crew, or there is an online spot to sign up as crew. Either way, getting a couple of races under your belt on different boats will help you meet new people, sail different boats, and get some local sailing knowledge about the area.
10. Talk About Sailing
You’d be surprised how many people actually sail! Many people grew up with family members who were sailors, or went to a summer camp when they were younger where they tried sailing. So, talk about it! You never know when you will meet someone through other social channels who is a sailor.
PRO-TIP: The Elephant in the Room…
It would be remiss of me not to discuss the elephant in the room which is how sailing has a bit of a bad wrap as being a “boys club” or just for “some” people. Hogwash I say! Don’t let an encounter with a crusty sailor put you off of learning and getting out on the water. It is for everyone, from all walks of life, and don’t let someone tell you that you don’t have what it takes or you should take up another hobby. There are many facets to sailing, and they are not the same for everyone. I had an instructor tell me once that I probably wouldn’t make a good instructor… I’d say my hundreds of students and sailing school success might have a different opinion 😉
Happy Sailing Friend! And get out there and meet new sailors!