at Lorain Harbor Boat Club
"FirstSail" is a nationwide program promoted by US Sailing -- the national sailing authority for the United States. It's intended to give adults interested in sailing an opportunity to explore if the sport is right for them by leveraging the skills of US Sailing members and organizations across the country to take new comers to the sport out for a sail.
Lorain Harbor Boat Club, through its educational foundation, is a registered provider of US Sailing's "FirstSail" program. We provide a FirstSail experience on sailboats of 25' to 30' in length that come equiped with auxiliary power and a main and jib (sloop) rig. Each vessel is skippered by a USCG Licensed Captain, and your safety is our utmost concern.
Each vessel can carry up to four participants. The class is geared toward adults, but youth can participate if accompanied by a parent/guardian.
This is a working sail with participants expected to contribute to the operation of the vessel for a full sailing experience. Participants must be agile enough to move about in the confined space of a 25'-30' sailboat while the deck is also heeled up to 30 degrees out of horizontal. Think of it as an "introductory sailing class" as you explore whether sailing is right for you.
The sail is preceded by a half-hour safety review, where you will be fitted for a life jacket and receive some basic safety instruction.
We do not presently have a set schedule of sailings. Please contact us if interested.
The participation fee is $40/person. Payment is by cash or check only. (Make check out to "Lorain Boating Education Foundation" or "LBEF.") Fees are collected on the day your sail.
Your sailing may be canceled at the last minute due to weather conditions. Every attempt will be made to reschedule on a mutually available date, and no payment will be taken until your sail begins. Be sure to inclue a cell phone number with your application that can be reached should the event be canceled at the last minute.
Preparing for your Sail
Weather on the lake can be much different than experienced on land. Winds can be cooler, sun can be more intense, steep waves can kick-up quickly and rain can be unexpected. The FirstSail program has policies about what weather is acceptable before we ever leave the dock. But weather can change, and it's best to be prepared. Therefore, you should plan for your trip by considering the following suggestions:
- Bring with you a windbreaker and/or warmer sweatshirt in case you find the temperature on the water cooler than you expected. Even with a warm, sunny day, winds blowing across the lake can often feel cooler (expecially earlier in the summer) than you might expect. We also recommend some light rain gear. We won't go out if the weather has a certainty of heavy rain. But an unexpected light rain shower may pop up, and having some light rain gear will keep you dry while we seek shelter and/or decide to remain out and continue sailing.
- You are required to wear soft-soled shoes that fully cover your toes. The boat will likely heel (tip), and soft-soled shoes are much better at keeping your footing and enabling you to move around as needed. Likewise, a sailboat deck is a confined space full of all kinds of edges and hardware making it easy to stub your toe, so proper foot protection is a must. Sandles and flip-flops are not appropriate foot gear, and you will not be boarded without proper shoes.
- The sun is more intense on the water as it shines both from above and reflects off the water from below. So we advise you bring both sunglasses and sun screen for the protection of your skin and eyes.
- If you suspect you are suspectible to motion sickness, you may want to acquire an OTC remedy such as Dramamine or meclizine and take these medicines as directed (usualy some time prior to leaving the dock). If you have a history of motion sickness, your trip will be much more comfortable if you plan ahead. You should also abstain from a heavy meal and foods prior to departure as they can also lead to an upset stomach. And staying hydrated is always a good strategy to warding off an uneasy stomach. Sea bands (wrist bands) may also help.
- You will be fitted with both a type I and type III life preserver. You may bring your own type III if you like. Everyone on a FirstSail cruise, skipper included, will be required to wear a preserver for the duration of the trip. And kids 12 and under will be required to wear them even while walking around the LHBC boat basin.
- You will be asked to fill out an emergency card with contact numbers should something happen on this trip; this information will be left ashore as a float plan and passenger manefest in the event of any unforeseen emergencies. Your safety on and around the water is our utmost concern!
FirstSail is targeted to Adults; youth and children are welcome if accompanied by parents/guardians and are mature enough to participate in this sailing activity! Unaccompanied youth will not be boarded.
Please contact us at Education@lorainhbc.org to determine if a First Sail can be coordinated with one of our volunteer skippers. Thank you!