By Ed Killer for Martin County
The southeasterlies on the Indian River Lagoon in Jensen Beach are delightful for the sailor. The predominant winds lightly buffet the western shoreline of the lagoon about 250 days a year.
The naturally-occurring tradewinds wafting off the nearby Gulf Stream and protected waterway make the area a natural spot for sailing adventures. So, in 1992, when U.S Sailing – the nation’s sanctioning organization promoting and fostering the sport of sailing – sought a place to expand, Martin County seemed like the perfect location.
As a result, the U.S. Sailing Center of Martin County has been the base of operations for sailing instruction of all ages and levels of experience. The center has a well-maintained, large and varied fleet of vessels available for sailing.
OPTIs, O’Pen Bics, Lasers, Flying Scots, Hartleys, 420’s, Hobie Catamarans, kayaks, windsurfers and paddleboards are for use by members, visitors, adults and children. Optis are small single-handed sailboats like the Sunfish some may remember. O’Pen Bics are an exciting new versatile sailing vessel which combines the qualities of a windsurfer with those of an Opti. On calm mornings, there is nothing like a short paddle on a kayak or paddleboard to recharge the batteries.
Since 2002, the sailing center has been housed in a two-story waterfront facility at Indian RiverSide Park, one of Martin County’s premier destination parks located along Indian River Drive.
During the winter months, the USSCMC is a hub of activity. Numerous regattas take place here bringing in talented sailors from all over the northern hemisphere including Canada and the islands of the Caribbean. Junior Olympic sailing festivals sail these waters featuring competitors who go on to represent their home nations in international competition.
Here for a short stay? Volunteers are always welcome. On a family vacation? Schedule a sailing tutorial with a U.S. Sailing trained instructor. Have you always wanted to learn how to sail a catamaran? This is the place to do it. Call (772) 334-8085 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a lesson.
Warm weather and warm water year-round invite sailors to spend time on the clear waters of the lagoon. While sailing, don’t be surprised to see dolphins swimming along in front of the bow, or perhaps glimpse a manatee munching on sea grass as you depart the channel.
Gliding along atop the waters with a tiller in one’s hand, or reeling in the jib, is a great way to spend an afternoon. Feeling the salt spray in one’s face and the wind in one’s hair is exhilarating. It’s hard not to imagine the first visitors to the Treasure Coast crossing thousands of miles of open ocean essentially using the same method of transportation.
While here, stop by and check out the U.S. Sailing Center of Martin County. You’ll be glad you did. They are located at 1955 NE Indian River Drive in Jensen Beach, FL 34957.
A HUGE THANK YOU to Ed Killer, Outdoors columnist with Treasure Coast Newspapers and the USA Today Network for providing the copy.