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Welcome: About Me & the Moriches Island Sailing Blog

Welcome, and thanks for stopping by! My name is Luke Hickling, I'm the owner and founder of Moriches Island Sailing. I want to take this opportunity to tell you a bit about myself and this blog.


I've been fortunate to sail on a wide variety of boats all over the world, from 30' to 282' in Colombia, Panama, Mexico, Europe and the West Coast of the US. Working on yachts has given me amazing opportunities- I've sailed over 28,000 nautical miles, crossed the Atlantic twice, transited the Panama Canal, and been lucky enough to see more of the world than most. I never would have had those opportunities if I hadn't started sailing on Moriches Bay as a kid.


The purpose of this blog isn't to teach you how to sail; we'll do that part on the water. The purpose is to inspire you to begin your sailing career by sharing stories of my own. You never know where sailing might take you; I certainly didn't!


 

I grew up in East Moriches and went to high school in Westhampton Beach. As a kid, I spent my summers learning how to sail at the Westhampton Yacht Squadron. Eventually, I started racing in my Opti in junior regattas throughout the South Shore. As I got older and bigger, I switched to racing a Sunfish, and started doing more racing in the Fall. By the time I was 16, I was teaching sailing in the mornings at WYS before sailing in the racing class in the afternoons.



sailing long island
Sailing in my Opti as a kid (though I'm not sure where I am going)!

When I graduated from Westhampton Beach High School in 2011, I went on to study at the University of Miami, where I quickly joined the sailing team. After our first practice in Coconut Grove, I knew I had made the right choice in going to UM (my other option was Hamilton College, in frigid upstate NY). Over the course of my college sailing career, I was able to race in a number of local regattas throughout Florida and a few intersectional regattas in the Northeast. In 2015, I graduated from UM with majors in Economics and International Studies and minors in Sociology, Marketing and Entrepreneurship.



sailing lessons long island
Sailing at the University of Miami


From the end of high school until I started Moriches Island Sailing in 2020, I spent my summers teaching and coaching sailing, mostly at the Westhampton Yacht Squadron. I was able to spend the summers on the water and teach people something that I loved; it was a summer job that was hard to beat.


Like a lot of people, I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do for work after I graduated from college. But I did know that I loved teaching sailing, and that this would be a good time in my life to travel (even if it were to be on a very slim budget). So I spent another summer teaching sailing at WYS, saved up all I could, I spent the winter backpacking around Southeast Asia. I did a similar routine the next year but with the winter in Peru. The following year I planned to do the same but with a start in Panama, but my plans changed when I had a stroke of luck and stumbled upon a job on a 76' sailboat, taking backpackers between Panama and Colombia with stops in the San Blas Islands (more on that in future posts)!


That job started a cycle of working on boats and yachts in the winters and coming back to Long Island to teach sailing in the summers. Eventually I went on to pair my Level 3 US Sailing Instructor Certification with a 100 Ton USCG Captain's License and a 200 Ton RYA Yachtmasters Offshore. These days I spent less time working on yachts and more on Long Island; big boats have their draw, but I'd rather be messing around in small boats on Moriches Bay.



Sailing lesson on long island
Helping my cousin sail his new boat from the Northern side of Nova Scotia to Halifax in 2019


In 2020 I started Moriches Island Sailing without much of a plan. All I knew was that Covid restrictions might prevent WYS from having a sailing program (and thus me having a job) and that a one-on-one private sailing lesson would probably be pretty Covid friendly. I had always wanted to have my own business, so I figured I'd give it a try. Fortunately, it's worked out well enough so far; this summer will be the fifth summer of Moriches Island Sailing!


We have a short sailing season on Long Island, and I often get asked what I do during the rest of the year. In the Fall, I have another business (Moriches Island Shrink Wrap) where we shrink wrap boats and patio furniture. This year, we'll be exclusively using biodegradable shrink wrap from Bioaqualife, a transition that is much needed and long overdue. I'm also a co-founder of EMO Electric, where we are expanding access to electric boating; we sell electric outboards, offer electric outboard repowers, and are in the midst of building an 22' electric power catamaran that will have two 100hp electric outboards.


But for now, I am gearing up for the summer- our lessons begin three weeks from today! I pulled the shrink wrap off of our Flying Scot last week and am getting her ready for your sailing lesson this summer. I can't wait to get out on the water with you soon!










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