Learning to sail with the Utah Lake Yacht Club


The Utah Lake Yacht Club, previously known as the BYU Sailing Club, offers sailing lessons on a variety of boats on Utah Lake.

“For people that are just learning how to sail it’s a great opportunity because we teach how to do it right and how to do it safely.” said Steve Morris, founder of the Utah Lake Yacht Club. “Students will learn about general sailing, boat repair and maintenance and boat racing.”

Jared Bishop straightens out the sail of a sailboat with assistance from Lloyd Grubham. Photo by Ari Davis
Jared Bishop straightens out the sail of a sailboat with assistance from Lloyd Grubham. Photo by Ari Davis

But according to Utah Lake Yacht Club board of directors member Jared Bishop, boating skills are not the only skills a student can gain from learning how to sail.

“The more you learn about sailing the more you understand about weather, research and physics,” Bishop said. “You have to know all of these things well to be confident on the waters. Aside from the actual sailing skills there is a lot of team management and event-planning skills that students can gain from sailing on open waters.”

Bishop also said the Utah Lake Yacht Club was designed to be an inclusive club for “the least common denominator.” A person’s age or skill level will not change eligibility to learn to sail.

“In a small sailboat, one can very quickly learn to recognize the wind, properly control the sails, and navigate much quicker than in a larger boat, getting a feel for the overall picture in no time,” said Utah Lake Yacht Club sailing instructor Jacob Colvin. “There are no additional bells or whistles, just you and the wind — sailing in the purest sense.”

For Bishop the satisfaction of sailing doesn’t just come from the actual sailing itself. He enjoys rebuilding boats that are broken and worn down.

“We get a lot of old boats that have close to no value, and we will take those and repair them, give them life again and give them meaning,” Bishop said. “There is something very satisfying about taking something that doesn’t work and making it work again.”

Club members appreciate the opportunity the club provides for local residents to participate in something beyond the typical outdoor activity in landlocked Utah.

“One of the things that I got a kick out of over the years was sailing despite of the geography — it was going against the grain.” Morris said. “To go sailing in spite of being in Utah is what made it fun.”

Colvin said  what he enjoys the most about teaching students to sail is seeing them succeed in a short amount of time.

“There is something really special about seeing the joy in a student who becomes empowered, sailing the boat with little or no assistance in such a short time period,” Colvin said. “It’s what keeps bringing me back.”

Morris said sailing is a simple sport that can be learned on your own, but there is something more that people get with the Utah Lake Yacht Club that they can’t get anywhere else.

“The Utah Lake Yacht Club offers great sailing instructors with a lot of knowledge and the experience to someone who is interested in sailing,” Morris said. “You won’t find that anywhere else in Utah.”

BYU students can pay $25 for one year of unlimited sailing lessons and club events.

More information is available at www.ulyc.org.

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