Learn to sail at the Birmingham Sailing Club

DSC 0188 Learn to sail at the Birmingham Sailing Club
(Barton Perkins/BhamNow)

I watched the Caldwell Cup at the Birmingham Sailing Club this weekend. It’s a regatta, or a sailing race, the club puts on in memory of its founder. People wake up at the crack of dawn so they can be able to hit the water at 8 AM sharp, and then sail until sundown. While I was there, watching the race everyone was so welcoming. Almost none of them had met me before that Saturday, but they were so happy to see me—so eager to tell me about their community of sailors, and why they did races like this every weekend. Read on to hear about what I learned.

In the beginning

Birmingham Sailing Club
(Barton Perkins/BhamNow)

Back in the 1960s when Alabama Power first decided to build Logan Martin, a man named Sam Caldwell saw it as the perfect time to start a sailing club near Birmingham. Caldwell was an avid sailor but had grown tired of the weekly two-hour trek to Lake Gunnersville to pursue his passion. So, Caldwell and a group of fifteen other men purchased a plot of land near where the future lake Logan Martin would be before there was even any water.

DSC 0185 Learn to sail at the Birmingham Sailing Club
(Barton Perkins/BhamNow)

Three years, and 30 new members later The Birmingham Sailing Club was officially incorporated.

When the lake finally did arrive a year later…

“When the water just barely came up, Dad (Sam Caldwell) launched the boat and we went sailing around on the first boat in the water.”

– Skip Caldwell, Son of Sam Caldwell

The Community

DSC 0191 Learn to sail at the Birmingham Sailing Club
(Barton Perkins/BhamNow)

Those 60 founding members of the Birmingham Sailing Club didn’t realize it at the time, but the club they founded would grow to have a passionate and dedicated community. Today, with 150 members the Birmingham Sailing Club is a tightly-knit and passionate group dedicated to both teaching people how to sail and how to have a fun time doing it.

“Everybody volunteers their time, several weekends a year to other races and other things. Pretty much if you’re here, if you’re a member, it’s because you want to sail.”

-Troy Carmichael, Club Member

Internationally Recognized Members

DSC 0200 Learn to sail at the Birmingham Sailing Club
(Barton Perkins/BhamNow)

People may look at the Birmingham Sailing Club’s relatively small member size and location in Alabama and write it off a bit. But the club’s commitment, passion for sailing, and training have managed to produce a number of sailors recognized both nationally and internationally for their talent. Here are a few notable individuals.

  • Jim Leonard, who back in 1982 ranked in the world Catamaran tournament
  • Richard White, ranked 5th in the North America Flying Scot Championships
  • Sally Mar, who recently ranked 2nd in the North America Women’s Flying Scot Championship
  • and many more!

Educational Opportunities

DSC 0183 Learn to sail at the Birmingham Sailing Club
(Barton Perkins/BhamNow)

Almost every weekend, and even some weekdays, the Birmingham Sailing Club puts on sailing races. It’s a great opportunity for people to just get their boats in the water and have a grand old time. Everyone out there is also eager just to help out if anyone is starting to learn how to sail. Along with that, the club does offer a variety of more formal lessons and activities such as:

  • A Junior sailing camp during the summer
  • Adult Sailing courses
  • Competitive sailing teams for youths and adults
  • a wide variety of tournaments all over the South

Come down and set sail!

DSC 0197 Learn to sail at the Birmingham Sailing Club
Ladies of the Birmingham Sailing Club (Barton Perkins/BhamNow)

Even if you don’t own a boat yourself, the Birmingham Sailing Club has a fleet of over 40 boats they use for lessons and racing. While the club does not rent out any of their boats, they’re always keen to help people sail. Give them a shout beforehand and they’ll do their best to get you out on the water!

Are you a sailor? Give us a shout @BhamNow!

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Barton Perkins
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