Just over the Providence city line in the Edgewood neighborhood of Cranston lies a well kept secret: The Edgewood Sailing School. Advertised almost exclusively on a sandwich-board sign at the intersection of Narragansett Blvd and Shaw Ave, the sailing school has been giving lessons from the Edgewood Yacht Club for over 50 years.
In the summer of 2003, I had been out of college for over a year and found myself wanting to take better advantage of the Narragansett Bay beyond sitting at a beach. My company had just relocated to the South Elmwood neighborhood, so cruising over to Edgewood after work took only minutes. There, my instructor taught me, over the course of six weeks, everything I needed to know to sail about on a small boat in the upper Narragansett Bay.
The on-water classes get you in a boat on the very first lesson. For adults, the classes are small groups and start at 5:30pm; perfect for after-work sailing. After completing the six weeks of sailing instruction, you become eligible to participate in the Wednesday night one-design racing on Rhodes-19s, the same fixed-keel boats on which the classes are taught.
I spent that summer taking every class the Edgewood Sailing School offered. Still wanting to be on the water, I signed up for a membership at the Providence Community Boating Center at India Point Park, where I practiced my new skills on a variety of small boats every night after work and on the weekends.
This being Rhode Island, word gets out pretty fast to friends and friends-of-friends once you know how to sail, and before I knew it, I was being asked to crew on races all over the bay and teach sailing to others.
Consider this an invitation to get outside and do something active, learn to sail!