Come Sail Away With UMSC
By Amy Watia Brennan
If you've wanted to rig a boat, take the
helm, set sail, tack and jibe to maintain a
course without any luffing, or if you just
want to know what those words mean, the
University of Michigan Sailing Club is right
"In a power boat, all you need to do is
turn a key. A sailboat is like a musical
instrument, requiring practice and time,"
says club commodore Kevin Bosley. The club is
officially a student organization, but all
are welcome to join. Bosley encourages
newcomers to try sailing with no obligation
for the first two visits, but adds that many
people get hooked (one member who came "just
for a visit" stayed for 47 years).
Photo by Amy Watia Brennan
First-timers are encouraged to stop by on a
Saturday morning to receive their first half-hour
lesson. After four or five lessons, sailors are
usually able to earn a crew rating, which enables
them to take a boat out in light winds. After this,
they may advance to helm and skipper ratings.
Sailboard instruction is also offered on Saturdays.
For the more advanced, there is informal racing on
Sundays. In addition, Thursday lectures and special
events are scheduled throughout the summer.
Member and club treasurer Joe Gelinas says he
joined because "I like to sail, and this is a good,
cheap place to keep doing it." Indeed, with the
all-inclusive rate starting at $65 for the
remainder of the season, the price is enticing.
Gelinas has sailed with the club since 1995, and
his teenage children have learned to sail
The club has a fleet ranging from sailboards and
single-person Lasers to the CL-16, which holds six
people. For days with no wind, the club has a canoe
and some kayaks. The clubhouse offers restrooms,
changing rooms and a kitchen. No food is available,
so when you go, pack a picnic lunch for a perfect
afternoon on the water.