How to Start Sailing? (Or Rekindle Your Sailing Hobby)

The truth of the matter is, if you search ‘sailing near me’ you are most likely going to be offered a mixture of dolphin watching and dinner cruises. So in the google search result jungle, how do you find the right kind of sailing for you?

For Kids

This is a very easy age to get young people into sailing. Try searching for Sailing Summer Camps, After School Programs, Academies, Classes, Lessons, Clubs or even Teams.

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For Adults (New to Experienced Sailors)

If you’re not sure what kind of sailing you’re looking for, read through the questions below and see what kind suits your current situation.

Are you curious about sailing but not quite sure if it’s the hobby for you? Check out First Sail! This is a great program helping sailing curious adults find a way out on the water.

16836500_984138901685981_906572828195709094_oAre you ready to be a social sailor? Search ‘Community Sailing Center’ instead of just sailing near me. You’re most likely going to find an easy going group that wants to share their passion for sailing with you for a price point that isn’t too terrifying. Memberships are as low at $20 a month at Sail Nauticus in Norfolk, Virginia.  Community Sailing centers like Hudson River in NYC offer discounts to millennials. 

If there isn’t a community sailing center near you, or if you’re looking for an upscale sail, try joining a Yacht Club. Plus, they’ll have many additional perks like pools and tennis courts.

Sailing Centers and Yacht Clubs are both likely to offer Learn to Sail classes or free clinics to members.

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Are you ready to cast off and take a full course? Try looking for an American Sailing Association or US Sailing Class! There are many accredited sailing schools like Offshore Sailing and Blue Water Sailing School sailing out of ports all over the world. Some of these classes last a week or more and offer everything from monohulls to catamarans and cruising to racing. What a wonderful vacation!

If you’re not ready to commit a few thousand to an ASA course, you also have Basic Keelboat or any other Learn to Sail Class.

Would you rather be the captain of your own destiny? Try searching for a timeshare like SailTime or a one-time private boat charter.

Or are you ready to be crew? Try MeetUp.com! There are groups for sailors or even Captains looking for crew for races! This is a great way to get on the water with little to no cost deterrent. You’ll likely make friends with boats.

Or can you believe there’s an app for that? American Sailing Association has an App called Go Sailing to help Captains find crew and vice versa for cruising and racing!

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Need an immediate fix for your sailing addiction? If you’re traveling or need a one-time sail, try searching for Schooner or Tallship Cruises in the area. They’re not likely going to be hands on but I’ve been on a few beautiful sunset and dinner cruises in Norfolk, NYC, and Paris.

Do you not necessarily need sails?  Get on or in the water paddleboarding, kayaking, jet skiing, surfing, swimming, or Discover Boating.

Let me know if you can think of any other ways to help new sailors or old salt get out on the water.

Sailing Themed Appetizers: Caprese Flotilla

I’d say our sailing club, like any club, has a big social component. We spend many days on the water but once a week we have camaraderie after racing, once a month we have a potluck, and about once a quarter we have an open house. I am always looking for fun sail themed dishes to bring.

Here is a quick guide to the Caprese Tall Ships I made recently.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 1 Basil Plant
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • 1 Pack (10 Slices) of Mozzarella.
  • 1 Baguette or Crustini
  • Toothpicks

Directions:

1.) Start by slicing your baguette into rounds about 1/4 of an inch thick. This way they’re thick enough to be a sturdy base for the mast (toothpick).

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2.) Slice the tomato into half rounds. (First, slice into rounds then cut them down the middle.) Lay 1 slice on each of the baguette rounds.

3.) Center a full or half leaf of basil on the tomato. (I had giant basil leaves so I ripped them down the middle)

4.) Add a drop, line, or swirl of Balsamic Glaze.

5.)  Cut your slice of cheese. Trim the rough edge. Then cut in half. Finally, cut the top 1/3 off the rest of the slice.

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The longer side ends up being the sides of the sail.  While the shorter edges are the top and bottom.

6.) Assemble your sail! Fold your larger rectangle of cheese to be the bottom sail and your smaller rectangle to be the topsail.

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7.) Poke your mast through the center of your boat. For the best results, make sure it goes through the basil leaf, tomato, and bread.

8.)Serve!

Tips:

  • Use full thickness cheese slices. Thin slices end up being too crumbly!
  • I found it easiest to hold both (shorter) ends of the cheese together and pierce them both then slide them apart to the appropriate spacing.

 

Marketing To Your Ideal Customer

Some larger companies aim to have everyone with a swoosh or a horse on their shirt. However, for most companies, the product isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea and it’s in their best interest not to try. A locally based restaurant won’t find regular diners who don’t value locally sourced produce enough to pay the premium just like a beef jerky monthly subscription can’t hope to convert a group of vegans.

So if we can’t sell to everyone, who should we target with our marketing?  From Facebook to Google, we are seeing that platforms are letting advertisers narrow their audience by gender, age, income bracket, in-market status and more. The key is finding a niche that is small enough for people to identify with but large enough to be profitable.

The goal here is to create a customer base that not only purchase our products, but that become brand advocates. It’s very clear in market research and from common sense that consumers are significantly more likely to purchase something from a recommendation over an advertisement. So if a business can bring one brand advocate onboard with their product, they’ll end up seeing stronger engagement and growth.

Let’s do a guided visualization to create our ideal customer. Remember to be specific enough to create someone you can talk to.

  1. Who is she? What does she look like? (mostly for your mental picture)
  2. How old is she? What is her income bracket? (This tells us how much disposable income she has)
  3. What is her family structure? (Married, Single, Dating, Divorced)
  4. Where does she live? (rural, urban, apartment, townhome, trailer, home)
  5. What does she value? (brand names, buying local, good deals)
  6. What are some of her hobbies? (This tells us what she spends her disposable income on.)
  7. What is her favorite social media platform? How does she share feedback about products she loves or hates?
  8. How frequently does she shop? How frequently is she in the market for a product like yours?
  9. How does your product fit into her daily/weekly/monthly/annual routine?

Now give her a name.

Hopefully, you will think of her and use your marketing campaigns to talk to her and convince her to interact with your brand. If your company has many products or services, you can use this tactic to create a handful of ideal customers.
Here are some examples of imaginary customers:

Ideal Customer 1: Kenneth is a forty-something college graduate with a mid level salary. He lives in a rural area in a three-bedroom house with his wife and their dog. He enjoys kayaking, hiking with his dog, and hunting. Kenneth uses facebook to connect with his friends and to share videos related to his beliefs and interests. He knows some brand names but he values the best deal over the brand. He shops when he runs out of things or when things are broken.

Ideal Customer 2: Sarah is a twenty-something recent college graduate with an entry level salary. She lives in a city in a studio apartment with her boyfriend and their cat. Sarah likes to cook, swim and binge on Netflix.  Sarah habitually frequently leaves reviews on yelp, trip advisor, facebook, & google for exemplary or poor experiences. She values sincerity and she gets a warm glow from buying locally and responsibly. Sarah becomes very brand loyal.  Sarah shops mostly online and browses web stores at least once a week.

Ok… So obviously this is me. But you get the picture. (Actually, I was in the cover picture.) Let me know if you were able to imagine your ideal customer!