July 29, 2010 | by Kevin Majoros
Raise your sail with the Rainbow Spinnakers

With images and stories of the BP oil spill filling up our media outlets, what better time to get out and enjoy the Chesapeake Bay?

Team DC has a sailing club on its roster, which offers a great daytrip out on our local waters. The Rainbow Spinnakers Sailing Club (RSSC) is a diverse group of mostly gay and lesbian sailing enthusiasts who stay connected through their Google Group e-mail list, which has close to 400 names.

The Spinnakers generally do short day sails on the weekends and the occasional weekday. If you sign up for the Google group, you will receive notices as to when the next sail is taking place and how many sailors are needed to fill the boats. If you would like to become a member, the dues are $20 for an individual and $30 for a couple. The RSSC also welcomes those who are just interested in going out for a day sail. They do not offer sailing lessons, but many people have learned to sail by going out sailing with the Spinnakers. If you let the skipper know that you want to learn how to sail they can provide extensive, but informal instruction. Formal instruction is offered at both of the launch locations, Belle Haven Marina in Alexandria and the Downtown Sailing Center in Baltimore.

The group sails on rental crafts obtained from their launch locations and occasionally a member will offer up their boat for a sail. The number of boats that depart on any given weekend depends on how many skippers are available. A skipper is defined as the person who has command of the boat, but may or may not be the owner of the boat. The rental boats are either Sonars or Flying Scots. The Flying Scot, ideal for beginning sailors, is a 19-foot day sailer dinghy used for pleasure sailing as well as racing throughout North America. It has a large deep cockpit and provides comfortable sailing for up to 6 people. The Sonar is a 23-foot keelboat with a contoured sit-in cockpit that seats 3 to 5 people. The Sonar was adopted years ago by the world’s disabled sailors as their premier boat for racing. Its large cockpit makes adaptations easy for handicapped sailing.

The costs associated with going out for a sail with the Spinnakers range from $20 to $40 depending on the length of the sail. All you need to bring is a change of clothes, a beverage, sunscreen and a hat. Whether you want to learn to sail or just be out in the water is your decision. The Chesapeake Bay has an abundance of osprey, blue heron and other wonders of nature. What are you waiting for? Visit rainbowspinnakers.org for more information.

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