The Digital Journalism Blog


Thinking of learning to sail? – Thoughts, advice, and reflections from a landlocked sailor

By- Jacob Terranova

Up until I was 19 I had never sailed before. The biggest body of water I had been around was the Rock River, notorious for its pollution and unnatural green tint. It wasn’t until my freshmen year of college at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee that I had considered taking sailing lessons.

You see, I foolishly based my decision of attending college on where my highschool sweetheart was going. Because life isn’t a Hollywoood movie, it did not end well. At all.

After a winter of self loathing I managed to move on and make the best of the situation.I found myself trying to follow the age old advice of finding a new hobby, something that would get my mind off of the break up. I found myself sulking around the spring activity fair until I happened upon something that caught my interest. There was a booth set up for the university’s sailing club.

I can’t remember what exactly it was that made me so intrigued. Perhaps the thought of escaping on the Great Lake Michigan, or the idea of adventure at sea, or some other calling, whatever it was I signed up.

I’ve never regretted it.

The thrill of sailing has since been something I’ve craved. I encourage anyone that has even the slightest inkling to take the first step. The American Sailing Association has a large index of various organizations that teach sailing, as well as groups that plan organized trips. There are several cities that offer various clubs that provide training for beginners, even if you don’t necessarily live near large bodies of water. Often times the club will set up trips to the nearest bodies of water. An article that appeared in the Lawrence Journal World from Kansas wrote an interesting piece about how even people in the landlocked state have found a way to sail.

This just doesn’t go for sailing either. There a plenty groups that can serve as a great way to jumpstart your interest in adventure, whether it’s hiking, climbing, skydiving, or whatever.

Joining a group is the best way to meet some likeminded people who are willing to share in the adventure.  Groups also hold informal informational meetings for people who are unsure. Attending one of these meetings is a great way to get answers to some of the questions you may have. I know it was for me when I attended my first sailing informational meeting.

So don’t be afraid to take the first step, because really that’s all that is separating you from your next adventure.

This blog was a reflective piece written as if it could appear on Beyond the Edge 

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