From afar, I always thought that sailing was so elegant, peaceful and that you had to be rich to be able to enter into it. This was of course from afar before I had become a sailor myself in 2000. Any reference to sailing in the media shows beautiful, happy people on a large sailing yacht sipping wine and enjoying the wind upon the sails. I am not sure that the media (or the media that I had paid attention to) had really shown me any other side to sailing.
As a child growing up near the water I saw boats all of the time. I would stare at them and wish that one day that would be me. Don't get me wrong, I had a great upbringing. We enjoyed great vacations on the beach, large cruise ships, a lake house, Disney, ... I could go on but none of them ever included sailboats. It was a silent wish that I had, not one that I shared. It was almost one that I would never even take seriously or say out loud because I was in such amazement and I thought it was so far out of reach. I did not know anyone that knew about sailing or had a boat. I just knew that the people in the movies and on television looked so happy and that watching sailboats ease through the wind so peacefully made me happy. So much so that when I moved to the big city I had to have a view of the water to watch the beautiful boats go by. I had already had this view from my office.
I had no idea of how easy the entry point into sailing could be. I was having lunch with a coworker who, through the conversation, learned where I lived. It was a neighborhood on the water with a marina full of sailboats. He let me know of a sailing club in the area. The words that he spoke next are the ones that are etched in my memory forever as they changed my life at that exact moment. He said that this sailing club was the best kept secret in the city, it was similarly priced to a gym membership. Instead of being able to use the gym equipment, you are able to go out on the sailboats. I was intrigued. On my way home from work I stopped and looked for the contact information by the marina. I saw that there were people down in the office at the marina that would be able to help me but I was still so intimidated by sailing that I chose to do my research first on their website.
On my short walk home I could not wait to get the details. I kept thinking, could this really be happening, can I really do this, will it really be affordable, will I really be able to live in the city and be able to walk to the marina and go sailing? It was a bit of a surreal moment for me. As soon as I got home I went online and did my research. The answer to all of my questions was 'yes'!
I found that how it worked was first you needed to take a sailing course that taught you the foundations of sailing. Done. From there you apply to the sailing club and once accepted you have access to go out on the sailboats. Unlimited. I could not wait to get started.
The sailing course that I took validated my yearn for sailing. During the class I had the most exhilarating time of my life. The winds were strong, the waters flat and the weather was perfect. I was hooked. So hooked that when the class ended all I could think about was getting back out. I immediately went through the application process and membership meeting to join the sailing club. This seemed to take forever. Every day that passed without being accepted into the club was one less day of sailing. After many stressful days of wondering if I would be able to continue sailing, I finally got the call..."Welcome, you have been accepted". I was out on the water the next day. That was my entry point. Not only was that my entry point for sailing, it also carried an important entry point in another very, very important aspect of my life.