Cooper Anderson loves to sail. He also wants to share that passion with others in the San Diego LGBT community.
Anderson is the organizer of the Silver Strand Boating Club, a group event that invites new LGBT members in San Diego to join him and others on the sea for a day of yachting.
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro, the club is an opportunity for people in the community who share the same passion or curiosity.
Not only is it inexpensive at $10 a year, but you don’t even have to own a boat to do it. However, there are a few important things you should know before you decide to join.
“The Club started in 2014,” Anderson says, “as a way to try and connect our fellow sailors in the LGBT community, and those who might yet be sailors but just don’t know it yet.”
Anderson began to pursue his love of sailing once he left the ranch he grew up on in central Washington.
In his twenties, he migrated to Seattle and met two gay sailors who were based in the Navy in Puget Sound.
The two men gave him a sense of adventure on excursions throughout the islands, “They were kind enough to take me under their wings and teach me the art of sailing. It wasn’t long before I was hooked,” he said.
For the next thirty years Anderson would cultivate his sailing skills and journey out on his own. He says he has owned a number of sailboats within that time and traveled through the protected waters of Puget Sound, up and down the west coast, and even crossed the Pacific Ocean.
“Open ocean sailing is by far my preferred sailing environment,” he said. “But I enjoy day sails here on the bay as well.”
Wanting to give people the same learning opportunity he received from the two Navy men, Anderson hopes that The Silver Strand Boating Club creates an equal inspiration in other LGBT people.
“Anyone can join, as long as they understand a few basic rules,” he says,” One, We are here to have a great time on the water, and that we require everyone to participate in some capacity (we are not a sunset cruise boat). Two, we are an LGBT centered club, all are welcome but this is our main focus. Three, sailing comes with rules, they are in effect for safety as well as comfort, you must be able to take direction and follow all guidelines when a guest on one of our host boats.”
There is also one more important rule. If you’re considering joining the Silver Strand, you must also participate. That means Captain Anderson will give you task aboard the vessel which you must perform during the duration. Not to worry though, he or any of the other hosts will help you every step of the way.
“We currently have three host boats in the club: two “traditional” boats and one catamaran sailboat,” Anderson says. “We love to teach the new members sailing. Myself and the other hosts are very patient and take the time to help one understand sailing fully i.e. why the boat moves certain ways in certain conditions etc.”
He adds: “To that end, everyone that joins us is given specific tasks to perform on the boat, taught how to do it and then given a lot of practice. There is also plenty of opportunity to take the helm of the boats and be a “skipper” for a while during every outing. Most of our outings are either in the bay or a few miles out to sea, but this year we are looking to expand our outing further out to sea with some overnighters in the plans, should be a lot of fun.”
Potential members who are looking for a “free ride” need not apply, everyone on the boat should understand that being a part of the team means you are also an active participant and that includes showing up for at least one event per year.
“To be frank, I manage the membership strictly,” he explains, “and deactivate members who do not participate (they are always welcome to sign up again if life changes and they are able to participate). We could certainly have a lot more members, but I am interested in quality not quantity.”
The Silver Strand Boating Club is open for all to join, but it is a primarily LGBT organization which hopes to get the community involved in discovering San Diego’s waterways. Captain Anderson explains the basics on how to join this adventurous club.
“Joining is easy, go to our meetup page ( Silver Strand Boating Club ) and click “join” I will send you a brief questionnaire, and once you get back to me I can approve your membership,” he says. “Membership is $10.00 per year, this covers the cost of the meetup app service. However, you may attend your first event before paying to see if you like the club and its members.”
Whether you are curious about what it takes to be a sailor, or just want to learn a new skill, The Silver Strand Boating Club allows the LGBT community a place to appreciate the art, the hard work, and the friendships that can be made along the way.
For more information on how you can join the Silver Strand Boating Club, click HERE.
Timothy Rawles is Community Editor of SDGLN. He can be reached at [email protected], @reporter66 on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.