Luffing Lassies' Racing Program
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For more than 40 years the Luffing Lassies have sailed every Thursday morning on Sarasota Bay. Women teaching women to sail is time-tested; a proven success for hundreds of women who learned to skipper their own boat and share the joy of sailing. There’s a place for you among the Lassies; experienced sailor or rookie.
The annual Introduction to Sailing course, offered every summer, teaches women to skipper a sailboat and get around a race course. Navigating a race course in your own boat is the best way to learn or improve sailing skills. And, as any Lassie will tell you, it’s fun. You build your skills on the water, race alongside your instructors and perhaps win a trophy when you cross the finish ahead of your classmates.
After completing the Introduction to Sailing, you will join veteran Lassies and your classmates every Thursday at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron. Most often we race against one another in Sunfish, 420’s or Flying Scots. As a Luffing Lassie, you will have the opportunity to learn to sail all three boats during the sailing year.
The Racing Program also features Interclub Races with other clubs in the Florida Women’s Sailing Association. Again on Thursdays, other FWSA member clubs come to Sarasota to compete in various classes of sailboats. Competition is fierce among the long-time members. New sailors meet and race against other new members of the sister clubs. After hauling the boats out of the water and hosing down the boats and ourselves, we enjoy lunch, racing recap stories and awards for the race winners. And on other days, we put our boats on trailers and hit the road, headed to another FWSA club where they organize the races and after-party.
Lassies were charter members of the Florida Women’s Sailing Association which today includes nine women’s sailing clubs along Florida’s Gulf Coast. The Annual FWSA Championship Regatta and the Annual FWSA Rainbow Regatta rotate among the member clubs. Both events are rich with sailing and social traditions. The racing venues are first class. And imaginative trophies and lively lunches are shared at sailing clubs from Dunedin to Venice.
And if that’s not enough, all levels of sailors are invited to sail in the Florida Women’s Sunfish Championship (and Pub Crawl), Bart’s Bash (a world-wide sailing event), the Race Around Lido (a fun, local sailing event) and our annual Lilly Kaighin Memorial Regatta.
Today’s Lassies, approximately 70 women, range from world-class competitors and instructors to novices who learned to sail during our annual training class. Most are somewhere in between. What we all share is a desire to be on the water and at the helm; improving sailing ability and confidently handling the variety of boats in the Lassies’ fleet.
Racing is integral to the Lassies’ tradition. And, as is true with most sailors, so is a good time. Thursdays at the Squadron, Lassies often relax with a brown bag lunch after sailing. Or perhaps regroup at a nearby waterfront restaurants. Lassies open their homes for parties - celebrating holidays, the beginning of racing season, the end of racing season and any other excuse we can find. The squadron has an active social calendar as well so there’s always someone ready to share a cold drink and tell tales of the last regatta or an afternoon sail on the bay.