Whether it’s competitive sailing races for the experienced, holistic schooling for the youth, or private lessons for adults wanting to learn new things, the Rehoboth Bay Sailing Association truly has it all.
Founded in 1963, the Rehoboth Bay Sailing Association is a nonprofit, membership-driven private club and part of the Rehoboth Bay Foundation. Priding itself on customer service, walk-up rentals and lessons are a big attraction. Located on the bayside of Route 1 south of Dewey Beach, the site holds an illustrious history.
“The location here is great,” said Commodore Roger Anderson. “It’s extremely accessible from land, as we’re right past Dewey, and it’s especially great for small boats in the bay.”
Anderson hired General Manager Greg Holochwost in January 2017 to help make improvements to the facilities – something Holochwost is very used to doing. As an employee with Coastal Properties Management in what’s known as the sailing capital of the world, Annapolis, Md., Holochwost managed, brokered and consulted with struggling shore properties to improve their businesses.
Now in his second year, Holochwost has made some improvements at the association’s grounds. It’s easy to notice the hanging flowers at the information desk, the new-and-improved dock areas, and an added touch of helpful customer service.
“Our mission is to promote the sport of sailing,” Holochwost said.
Memberships have spiked to around 150 total, and the sailing school is booming. The RBSA has also broadened its appeal to non-sailors, now offering kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding as popular options as well.
Now, about halfway through the summer season, children ages 6 to 16 come and learn the basics of how to sail; 80 percent of them are not members the club. Typically, each weekly summer class comprises about a dozen campers ready absorb the principles of sailing from four certified instructors, creating an intimate one-to-three teacher/student ratio.
“We pay for our instructors to get certified at a weekly course, typically in Annapolis or northern Virginia Beach,” said Anderson, who’s been commodore of the RBSA for the past six years. “That way, the kids are getting taught the very best and we’re not saying, ‘Hey, this guy sailed once. He can teach them.’”
From Monday to Thursday, the students learn the basic points of sailing, the terms of a sailboat, how to tie a proper knot and how to right a capsized boat, all in the classroom before testing their knowledge in the bay. The campers get out of the weekday 9 a.m. to noon routine every Friday to take an adventurous sail to Thompson Island to test their new knowledge in a fun way.
The association has such a long history that instructors find grandparents and parents learned how to sail there many years ago and are bringing their children to do the same. The school usually includes a good mixture of returning and new students.
Aside from the sailing school, RBSA also hosts weekly Saturday races for three different boat fleets – the Sunfish, the Flying Scot and the Hobie fleets. There are also several club regattas throughout the summer, with four more remaining. Next up is the Hobie Fleet 106 Championship Saturday, Aug. 4.
“I love to sail,” said Anderson, who despite all his responsibilities with RBSA, hasn’t lost his passion for the sport.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the RBSA is there to spark the interest in new or out-of-practice sailors from all over. Visit their website at rbsa.org for more information.