Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Where the City Meets the Sea: Baltimore Downtown Sailing












Standing on the main pier of the Baltimore Downtown Sailing Center, it is easy to get distracted by the vista spread out before you. The city skyline provides a dramatic background to all of the many ways that one can now enjoy the harbor front, such as museums, restaurants, parks, and, of course, sailing!

The main pavilion at DSC.

Leading the charge in re-igniting on-the-water activity in the area is the Downtown Sailing Center (DSC), which provides a truly impressive range of programs to local residents. From introductory classes aimed at both children and adults, to weekly racing, to disabled-accessible sailing, and even to regional cruising, DSC has something for sailors of every background and skill level.

We were fortunate enough to be on hand for two days at DSC, and got to participate in a couple of their  flagship programs. The first was Thursday night racing in J-22s, which provides the best competition, at the lowest cost, of any sailing program in the area. On Friday, we helped out with the Accessible Sailing Program, which allowed some disabled sailing students access to the water on both Sonar-class keelboats and the (extremely) fun Access Dinghy.

Programs like this are, I believe, the future of sailing. By taking boat ownership out of the equation, community sailing programs are opening the doors to a massive chunk of the American public that otherwise would never be exposed to the sport. At places like DSC, you can sign up for a yearly fee of a few hundred dollars, and get months of no-hassle, low-cost, and rewarding sailing, right in your neighborhood.

Check out the video above to see how the staff of DSC is changing the face of the sport in Baltimore.


PS- DSC was just featured in the Baltimore Sun!

More photos!
Thursday night racing.

DSC Executive Director Kristen Berry (right) and Member Relations Manager Grady Byus (Left)

The Accessible Sailing Program underway.

Will getting hauled into an Access Dinghy.

And away we go! The Access Dinghies are steered by a pulley-powered joystick, and are an absolute blast to sail. 

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