It was like going to your best friend’s house where they have every fun toy you can imagine in their toy box. Last Saturday’s Sail a Small Boat Day at Richmond Yacht Club was one of those days that had magic conditions between storms. Anyone who showed up was introduced to the pleasures of sailing small boats. Sailboats getting pulled out of the ‘toy box’ included a 420, Weta, Hobie, VX One, RS Tera, 110, Mercurys, Wabbit, Sunfish, El Toro, Optimist, Seascape 18, Ultimate 20, Laser, J/24, Viper, Opti, RS Aero, and . . . we’re sure we’ve forgotten a few. Of course, each boat came with a volunteer owner along with a slew of RYC volunteers who served free hot dogs, got waivers signed, got lifejackets on, and generally provided the soil for planting a new crop of sailors.
While the morning was pretty calm, the afternoon breeze built just enough to keep sailors and newcomers smiling without frightening anyone away. Thrill seekers looking for an adrenaline buzz would have had to jump in for a swim, but it suited everyone else just fine. We managed to get out on two boats by joining Lyn Hines aboard one of the two Mercurys he brought over for the event. We also joined RYC member Phillip aboard his Seascape 18 with two first-time sailors, Caroline and Matais, who are in third grade and kindergarten respectively. We all had a great time.
While much of the event is aimed at introducing new sailors to sailing, the other mission is to give experienced sailors a chance to shop for a boat or class in which they’d enjoy racing. The Bay has many one-design fleets like Wabbits, Wetas and J/24s who’d all like to see new fleet members join their ranks.
Sail a Small Boat Day is a pretty simple formula that’s well-practiced by the sailing enthusiasts at Richmond Yacht Club. It’s generally held at the end of February or early March before the season gets busy but while the weather is still a bit of a wild card. Nonetheless, the event generally finds a decent weather window and a large crowd of soon-to-be sailors who appreciate the opportunity to try sailing. Keep an eye out for SASBD again in 2020.