Do you know why we sail? Most people canít put it into words, but they know they like sailing. Some of you reading this article know why and some donít. Which category do you fall into?
The main reason we sail is that we like the water. We are the same as power boaters and other people that play on the water. Maybe back in our childhood we identified ourselves as water people. We preferred the lakes and oceans to hills and mountains. That trait may have determined our profession and where we lived our lives as adults.
Most of us water people started off with powerboats because they were cheap to buy and more practical for a young family. We water skied and fished and enjoying the water. At some point, we identified that we didnít need to go fast to enjoy the water. I canít think of anything that can be enjoyed quickly. A good example might be consuming good food and wine. They need to be enjoyed slowly. There are many other examples.
If you are a water person, the next step was to identify your home waters where you could use a boat and enjoy life on the water. Our goal was to get good at sailing and that takes practice. You need to know our sailing area really well. Getting good with the terrain, shoals, points of land and how the wind and currents works in your area. This is something that may take some time and will get better and better as you enjoy the water. Lets say a person is thirty when he or she identifies that sailing may be the best way to stay healthy and enjoy life. They will have another fifty years to know all the details of their home waters. Everyone needs to be good at something. If you are a water person, knowing your home waters is called local knowledge and itís very valuable if you are a water person. Getting good with the boat and sailing is going the sneak up on most people during this period of time.
Things that we do poorly we donít like and things that we do well we do like. Thatís the way humans are built. You have to do something enough to get good at what ever you do. So far all this makes sense and few people would argue with the basic premise. OK. Why do we sail? Most sailors canít put their finger on it, but they know itís true. Most sailors like the fact that they are in control of their vessel in natureís environment. To be in control means we have to sail and sailing practice means we are going to get good at sailing. We can get as good with a sailboat as we are with our cars. Most good sailors can sail from one point to another without thinking about the mechanical details involved in making it happen. How many drivers think about the shifting gears or using the turn signals? When you sail enough, the boatís functions will become second nature. The boatís operation will become an extension of your thoughts. This doesnít mean that you should use your cell phone while driving your car or steering your sailboat.
Does the sailboat that we use make a difference? Its capabilities need to match your home waters. Other than that, any sailboat will do. The beauty about getting good in your home waters is that the experience will prepare you for other waters. As humans, we only need one new variable at a time. The boat and your sailing experience need to be rock solid and then the only other variable will be the area. That works for safety and enjoyment.
You might not like waking up on a still morning with dew on the deck and watching a sunrise. You might not like coffee and sweet roll in the cockpit. Thatís all part of traveling on a sailboat. It could be from one end of the lake to the other or from New York to Florida. It may not be the same little boat you learned on because boats need to change with the area. The experience you gained with that little boat was like putting money in the bank. Experience is a valuable asset thatís valued the World over. Your experience will be transferable from boat to boat.
I havenít really told you why people sail in one direct statement. Most experience sailors want to go places and see things from a boat. The Com-Pac 27 below has been to Florida and Texas and then back to North Carolina on its own keel. It was an experience of a lifetime and I will never forget the adventure or my friends on that voyage. The only practical way to travel a waterway is by sailboat. An average person with a modest budget can travel the waterways in a sailboat. You need to get good at sailing with that little boat on weekends and get ready for the big adventure after retirement. Of course, you also have to be a water person.
Theyíre another story about the radar arch on the stern. I think I will save it for later.
Richard Summer's CP-27, New Bern, NC