Plan to Have Fun
Sailing is a great sport. There are many reasons for this, but fun is at the top of our list. Part of the fun is that the boat heels as the wind hits the sails. Part is the rush you get when the boat jumps up on a plane and you are suddenly sailing a rocket. Part is the camaraderie - the team effort in sailing a boat well. Plan to have fun when you sail with us.
To have fun, you need to be properly dressed and bring the appropriate gear with you. Many of our guests have questions about what they should wear and what they should bring with them when they come to sail with us. Guests also want to know if the weather is going to keep us from sailing and often have many other questions. Here are our suggestions.
Safety and Weather
For Lansing Sailing Club classes, clinics or seminars, we always have a plan for activities in the event of bad weather - but keep in mind that a little rain or cool weather won't keep us from sailing. Please dress accordingly. Safety is a big item with everyone at the Lansing Sailing Club, and we will not sail in unsafe conditions. Conditions that will keep us from sailing are very high winds or when lightning is present. Our breakpoint on wind is about 18 mph. Winds like that would not keep most big boat sailors off the water, but the small boats we sail are no longer fun in that kind of breeze. At the first sign of lightning, we are off the water. Lake Lansing is a small lake, so it is very easy to quickly sail back to the Club when high winds or lightning threaten.
For races, a lack of wind will usually result in a delay to see if the wind will come up. There are very few days when there is insufficient wind to race.
When to Arrive
We try hard to start all clinics, seminars and races on time. It is best to be at the Lansing Sailing Club a little ahead of time. If you are late and we are already on the water, it may not be possible to come back and pick you up. If you are crewing, be sure to discuss the time you should arrive with your skipper.
Parents of Junior Sailors & Family
Parents dropping off or picking up junior sailors from class can count on class beginning and ending on time. Parents are welcome to stay and watch. If room is available on a Safety Boat, parents will be welcome to come on the water.
On days where you may be crewing, your immediate family is welcome to come with you and use the Lansing Sailing Club for swimming or picnicing. Keep in mind however, that we do not provide lifeguards or supervision for children.
Plan to Get at Least a Little Wet
Being on the water means there is a good chance of getting wet. While the boats we sail with guests on board seldom capsize, this is always a possibility. More importantly however, there is often spray as the boat hits waves. For those involved in classes where you will be sailing a boat by yourself, wear your swimming suit. These small, one person boats are fun to sail because they do capsize. In all our junior sailing classes we teach capsize recovery - so junior sailors will get wet. In adult classes, where the adult is going to be in a single-handed boat, we will also teach capsize recovery.
PFD (Life Jacket)
The Lansing Sailing Club has some PFD's (Personal Flotation Devices, or "Life Jackets") available for guests to use. However, if you have your own, please bring it. Guests usually find their own PFD much more comfortable to wear. Everyone should wear a PFD on the docks and on the water. Like driving on the road - you may be very cautious and safety conscious, but you can't control other drivers or mother nature.
There are times when unexpected wind shifts occur or there is a need for quick maneuvering. As a result of these or other situations, you could find yourself in the water. You might be exhausted from hiking hard, or you might be dazed from being hit by the boom. You might be fully clothed and find swimming very difficult. These are examples of situations where even strong swimmers want to be wearing a flotation device.
Wear boat shoes or tennis shoes that will provide secure foothold on the boat. No flip-flops please. And, make sure that the sole of your footwear is a light color so it won't leave dark skid marks on the boat.
Sun Screen and sun Glasses
Always use sunscreen and bring your sun glasses. The sun can be intense on a sailboat in the middle of a lake, and it is magnified by being reflected off the water. We suggest using sunscreen liberally. As you perspire, sunscreen will often get in your eyes. Some sunscreens are less aggravating than others in this regaard. Each person seems to respond differently to the various sun screens - so you may need to try several before you find one that works best for you.
Sun glasses are an important protection for your eyes. Get glasses that offer 100% UVA and UBA protection. Look for sun glasses that will conform to your face and block the sun from above, below and the sides. A device to hold your sun glasses around your neck is a good idea.
Bring a bottle of water, gaterade or similar drink. Avoiding dehydration is very important.
We strongly urge people with long hair to tie it up and keep it inside a cap. This is to prevent hair from being pulled through a block, into a cleat, or caught in a fitting.
Bumps Along the Way
If you are new to sailing, getting around in the boat is going to take a little getting used to. Guests out for a pleasure sail are going to have an easier time of it than the racers who are moving quickly in the boat, hiking hard and deliberately hitting the side of the cockpit with their bodies as part of a roll tack maneuver. There are plenty of hard surfaces your body will bump against as you go across the boat during a tack or other maneuver. For example, during a tack, you will usually need to go across the centerboard to get from one side of the boat to the other. Since a centerboard is typically stainless steel - it isn't going to have any "give" when you bump against it. For this reason, many sailors like to wear long pants or sweats to provide a little cushioning - particularly for the inner thigh area. Even so, you should expect to get a few bruises. If you sail regularly however, your body will quickly adapt. Like the first week of basketball practice, you can be a little sore - then your body accommodates the change.
Wear clothing that is appropriate for the expected conditions. Plan on it being colder on the water. Layering is a good idea. You can always remove a layer if you are too warm - but if you are cold, you won't be having fun. If rain is forecast, bring your rain gear. A windbreaker may be nice to have. Loose clothing that can accidently be easily pulled through a block or caught in a fitting is to be avoided.
Many sailors wear light weight long sleeved white clothing (such as Patagonia's Capoline silk weight long sleeved crew neck T-shirt) on the hottest days to help keep themselves protected from the sun.
Change of Clothing
The changing rooms at the Clubhouse have restroom facilities.
Bring sailing gloves if you have them. They give you get a better grip and protect your hands when you need to move around the boat or when trimming the sails. If you don't have sailing gloves, ask the skipper if there are extras you can borrow. Sailing gloves are specially designed with padding across the palms and with other features for sailors. In the Lansing area, West Marine carries sailing gloves. Click here for info on Sailing Gloves.
On the water, with the wind blowing, caps have a tendency to go overboard. Even when a skipper quickly turns the boat and goes back to pick up a cap, it has often sunk and can't be found. We suggest that you bring a cap that can be tied under your chin or that has a device you can clip securely to your shirt/jacket. Cap clips can be purchased at West Marine.
Leave things of value at home or in your car. Experience has shown us that jewelry or other valuables are easily lost overboard and are almost never found when that happens.
If you are coming to race with us, bring a count-down stop watch if you have one. This will help you be more aware of what is happening at the start of a race and the skipper may need a back-up time piece on board. Typically the countdown to the start of a race will be either five minutes or three minutes.
What About Capsizing
Capsizing in one of the larger boats we sail, like a Lightning or Wayfarer, is very unusal. They do capsize, but rarely. Most of our guests and crew are going to be sailing on one of these larger boats.
Guests that are ready to sail on their own might want to borrow one of the Club Sunfish or Lasers - as long as an experienced sailor is close by in a Safety Boat (or other appropriate boat) to assist. These boats are small boats, designed to be sailed by one person. In a boat this small, getting wet is part of the fun - and capsizing is a common event, particularly in the laser. LSC members who race Lasers and Sunfish expect to capsize - knowing that if they don't capsize occasionally, they aren't sailing the boat aggressively enough. All our skippers have experience with capsizing and know how to get the boat righted and on its way again. Also, there is usually plenty of help available from other sailors and boaters.
There are often some parking places just to the right as you drive through the entry gate. Please don't park in front of boats with a "No Parking" sign in front of their boat. Always avoid parking in a position that would keep someone from trailering their boat to the boat ramp. If all empty spots have been taken, park in front of a boat that is unlikely to be sailed. How will you know this? Look under the boat to see if the grass has been mowed recently. Also, on Wednesday evenings, avoid parking in front of boats that are closer to the water (the small boats we race on Wednesday are located closer to the water. If in doubt, ask someone.