Interested in the ILS Sailing Team? Here are Some Tips to Get Started


An example of the physicality and harshness of sailing

Umi Noritake, Writer

A Coast Guard approved life jacket.
The ILS Sailing Team after being crowned Team Racing District Champions.

ILS has a distinguished Sailing Team, last year having won both district championships in team racing and fleet racing, and being crowned Team Race National Champions, finishing 3rd in the nation at the fleet race national championship.

If you are interested in the Sailing Team, here are some things you should know before trying out:

All of the team members have at least three years of experience in sailing. That means sailing year round and not just at summer camps. The sailing team is, unfortunately, not a learn-to-sail program. The team doesn’t have the time to be teaching new sailors the basics. But, if you come with experience, the team is more than happy to help further your skill-set.

Sailing has been considered a sport since 1896 when it was first introduced in the Olympics, It has grown as a sport with new boats, techniques, and intensity. So if you are interested in becoming a sailor here are the steps to take:

Step 1 : Make sure you are comfortable in the water.
Sailing is unique in the fact that you are part of a team, but you compete individually so there are no teammates to help you. The way to get comfortable is going to the beach and swimming out by yourself and just taking in the vastness of the ocean around you.

Step 2 : Buy a life jacket.
There are life jackets in all shapes and sizes. Find the one that fits your body weight and whatever design you prefer. You may want to have two different types of life jackets because some events require a Coast Guard approved life jacket which are usually bulkier and are not as form fitting. The second life jacket is very tight on the body which allows for better movement around the boat. As a sailor new to the sport, you should buy a Coast Guard approved life jacket.

Step 3: Know how to swim.
Knowing how to swim is crucial for a sport that centers around being in the water. You will get put into situations where you end up in the water away from your boat and if you freak out and do not have confidence in your ability to swim, you become a safety hazard to yourself and the people around you. I suggest taking swimming lessons where they help build your confidence in swimming.

If you are seriously considering getting started sailing, whether it be learning how to race or just the basics, here are some options for you:

Coconut Grove Sailing Center has a strong learn-to-sail program as do Coral Reef Yacht club and Key Biscayne Yacht club.

Those yacht clubs and sailing centers focus more on the racing aspect of sailing.

If you are only interested in learning the basics and nothing more, Shake-A-Leg offers lessons, plus it is a great place to volunteer serving children with special needs. Lastly, the Miami Yacht Club also offer basic sailing lessons.