Want to become a Lassie, but have no sailing experience?
All interested women are encouraged to participate in the Introduction To Sailing (ITS) Program in the fall before joining the Luffing Lassies. ITS will teach you to sail or serve as a valuable refresher course. It is a great opportunity to make new friends and bond with others who share the joy of sailing.
If you have a Sunfish, you can join the Luffing Lassies provided you are able to sail and race that Sunfish by demonstrating basic sailing knowledge to the Sunfish Captain (or her designee).
If you don't have a Sunfish, you can rent one from the Luffing Lassies training fleet subject to availability (ITS has first priority).
New to sailing but cannot participate in the Fall ITS Program?
We understand that the ITS Program may not fit your schedule. As an alternative, the Sarasota Sailing Squadron offers sailing lessons to the general public year-round.
Luffing Lassie members also need to join the Sarasota Sailing Squadron.
When and where do the Luffing Lassies sail?
Luffing Lassies sail every Thursday morning from September through May at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron. Participants at all skill levels sail and race against one another weekly. Other women’s sailing clubs, fellow members of the Florida Women’s Sailing Association, visit Sarasota to compete on the water and socialize afterwards at the Squadron. And the Lassies are invited to do the same at member clubs up and down the Gulf Coast. These carpool “away” events are team building sessions or gypsy caravans or both. Friendly competition and spirited enthusiasm define these days.
What are my obligations as a Luffing Lassie?
Sail & Support
Call yourself a sailor. Luffing Lassies have the opportunity to master all the boats in the fleet. Or, at the very least, master one. Sailing clinics are frequent and convenient; Come. Learn. Become a better sailor. In fact, each time you launch your boat you should come back a better sailor than when you started out. Help another sailor. Offer a hand pulling a dolly out of the water at low tide. Help another Lassie lift her boat onto a storage rack. Give a new sailor tip on boat cleaning. Look around you and see who needs a hand.
Financially, you are obliged to pay the Introduction to Sailing course fee. If you are in your first-year learning phase and sail a Luffing Lassies owned training boat, you pay an annual rental fee. You must become a member of the Sarasota Sailing Squadron, the best sailing venue bargain in Florida.
Many years ago, Lassies adopted the term “Holy Thursday” to define their dedication to sailing and racing every Thursday morning from September through May. You need to be there Thursday mornings. No kidding. You can’t learn to sail if you are not there.
Any sailor will tell you that part of the culture is caring for and maintaining boats. You and everyone else will care for the Lassies’ boats by properly cleaning and putting boats in storage racks. From time to time, Lassies leaders will ask everyone to participate when “work parties” form to keep our gear in good order. Did you read The Wind in the Willows as a child? Perhaps you will remember this quote from the Water Rat, “There is nothing-absolutely nothing-half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
The Squadron area where the Lassies store boats, have chalk talks and care for the boats sometimes needs attention. Weeding, trash pickup, general area maintenance is part of our volunteer relationship with the Squadron. We have all learned to just do these things without being asked. In true Lassie fashion, we make work into a work party.
If you don’t already exercise, start moving. Walk or swim or run or do yoga. Or ask one of the experienced Lassies what they do to stay in shape.
There are many reasons that Luffing Lassies have sailed together for more than 40 years, not least of which is the mutual respect that builds with the experience. Bring a positive attitude and share it with other Lassies. You’ll be one of us in no time.
We respect one another both on and off the water. We treat our own equipment and the Lassies equipment with respect. We look around us and cannot help but respect our environment. If you see trash on the water, safely scoop it into your boat and put it in a trash bin when you return to shore. Sarasota Bay needs you as much as you need Sarasota Bay. Maybe more.
Have fun. Laugh. Make someone smile. Veteran Lassies will tell you that one of the most joyous sounds on the water is the whooping and celebrating as boats cross the finish line and hear that horn or whistle from the Race Committee boat. Last or first or somewhere in the middle, every skipper is happy to finish the race. Isn’t there a life lesson there? Have fun. Laugh. Make someone smile.