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Sail Through Summer | Backyard Adventures at the Jersey Shore

I’d always imagined catching the wind in my sails, cutting across the sea, powered by nothing but nature. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I assumed that my sailing adventure could only be realized on my dream vacay in Nantucket (which I’m still dreaming about). However, when Jake’s friend asked him to go to sailing camp, I realized that there were loads of seafaring, wind-powered escapades in my own backyard.

We found Baycats in Ocean City that offers a variety of ways to sail the Great Egg Harbor Bay We set up a two-hour private lesson for Jake (12), Zac (6) and me. Our instructor, Nate, was amazing. He’s still in high school, but knows and respects the water as much, if not more than, someone much older. If you take a lesson, I would definitely recommend him.

Our sailing adventure began on the dock with a quick whiteboard lesson. Nate went through the basics. He drew and diagrammed the parts of the boat, wind direction and positioning. And then went through this part of the lesson quickly but carefully - as he knew everyone wanted to get out on the water.

We raised the sail on our Hobie catamaran and set out. With the wind at our backs, we cruised around the back bays of Ocean City and Somers Point. I was the first one at the helm, so I grabbed the tiller to steer, and the mainsheet to control the speed.

The feeling that you get from actually harnessing nature is incredibly satisfying, even simply using the wind to move forward. It’s exhilarating, yet calming. On the water, my mind was at such peace, though my body was full of energy as I steered our small catamaran. While I truly had no idea what I was doing, thanks to Nate, it was fun to feel like a captain for a moment.

While being at the helm was fun, to see the excitement and gratification on the faces of Zac and Jake was the absolute best! When Zac first grabbed the tiller, he was nervous, and couldn’t believe that he was controlling the boat. It only took a few minutes for him to become comfortable, and then his face lit up.

With three days of sailing camp experience under his belt, Jake was the “expert” in our group. He was the last one to take over the helm, and steered us all the way back to the dock. He was so proud of himself, as he was able to tack, and we never even got stuck in a “no-sail zone”.

If you decide to try out sailing all you really need is a bathing suit and sunscreen. It’s fun for the entire family and a great way to get outside. The greatest gift this quarantined summer has given us, has been the loads of backyard adventures that we’ve discovered!

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