Sheepshead Bay

Sailing along Brooklyn’s unique waterfront: It’s almost that time

April 4, 2018 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Recently I was inspired to write this by a wonderful  atmospheric event. No, not the “Super Blue Blood moon,” which was spectacular, nor the beautiful sunset that preceded it.

A miracle happened smack dab in the middle of February! We caught a 70 degree day!

Brooklyn was suddenly energized!! People walked the beaches, lazed on blankets in the parks, flew kites, played ball, mobbed the golf courses, and…wait for it….yes, the sailing community began to stir!

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Many of us who love the wind  around us, the serenity and excitement of being one with nature, who cherish the quiet of our little vessels moving through the water propelled by nature, went straight to the boat- yard and to ponder launching.  No noise and fumes from an engine for us, just the ancient, God-given gift of wind.

As we feel occasional weather changes, which remind us that soon Spring will have Sprung, true sailors want to share the possibilities offered by this great place we call home.

Brooklyn is surrounded on three sides by water. Not much to do up North, except possibly kayaking or rowing in one of the narrow tributaries around Greenpoint and the historic Newtown Creek. Don’t knock it until you tried it! Of course, it’s not for sailing.

To the West, as you sail along our south shore and you pass the most westerly community of Seagate,  you’re in the Ambrose Channel, where cruise ships and commercial tankers come into and leave New York Harbor. A great place to sail! Head North and pass under the Verrazano Bridge looking at The Statue of Liberty and further up, Ellis Island and, of course, Manhattan. If the current is favorable, you may want to hang a right into Buttermilk Channel. Oh yes, it’s not only the name of a terrific Brooklyn restaurant, it’s actually a body of water too. That will take you up the East River.

To the East, you can explore Jamaica Bay, Canarsie Pier. Just watch out for shallow spots.

To  the South, you’re in Jamaica Bay and the Coney Island Flats. You can zoom around here in generally calm waters. After clearing Rockaway point, your choices are quite unlimited. You’re in the ocean, darling, and the possibilities are endless. You can keep going and you’ll follow the Jersey Coast to wherever you wish, or keep going to Bermuda if you have the skill. Perhaps you’ll spot a whale, a dolphin, catch a striped bass, a blue or weakfish. Or simply play Pavarotti, Chuck Berry, Giuseppe Verdi, Rachmaninoff, or whoever “floats your boat” on your radio. There is something special about listening to a soaring aria from an opera like Puccini’s Turandot followed by “Roll over Beethoven.” And for good measure, “tell Tchaikovsky the news!”

Most of the boat/yacht clubs are in Sheepshead Bay.

I’m partial to Miramar Yacht Club. I’ve been a member for over 25 years. We have members who have been here since the Dead Sea was just getting sick! More importantly, we have many new members, whose ideas, contributions and volunteer spirit  keep the club going strong. We are a Corinthian club, which simply means every member is expected to contribute and volunteer some hours to the club. I like to cook at our barbeques. We have people who are handy with tools. They repair things. We have people who know that the  black wire is the negative and the red the positive. They help out with electrical issues, without getting killed or causing a blackout. And so on. Everything gets done, and it’s a cool place to hang!

You can’t sail every day. Sometimes there is no wind, sometimes there is just too much. Also, it does rain sometimes. No, this is not a complaint! So we have cocktails, organized parties, etc. It could be worse!

If any of what I have written peaks your interest, here are a couple of dates you may want to keep in mind:

 

May 19, 2018 – SAILING CLASS

If you’ve never sailed or need pointers on how to sail better, this is for you.

There is a Groupon available. I’ll guarantee you that after taking this course you will fully understand why you “don’t spit into the wind” Not to mention you’ll be able to tie a bunch of neat knots. You’ll also learn sailing terms, like why a length of rope may be called a “sheet,” why “left” is “port” why “right” is “starboard,” and so on. I personally think it harkens back to the days of Columbus and his crew with  a lot of time on their hands and the ready availability of alcoholic beverages on their cruise to the new world.

June 9, 2018 – SEEK & SAIL 

If you take the above course, you will be invited by a member to go for a sail on his/her boat. This is how you may be fully hooked.

Spring is around the corner. I hope I gave you something to think about.

— George Farkas, leading criminal defense attorney and veteran sailor

 

 


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