Favorite Sailing: Whatever’s On Now

Whenever I mention my chosen sport to a non-sailor, I always wonder if they’re picturing me lounging in the sun on some enormous yacht, sipping an umbrella drink that was delivered by a uniformed crew member. Even after sharing more detail, I usually feel like I’m confusing rather than clarifying; how could high-speed foiling and light-air drifting both be key parts of living my best life?

And if they ask for my favorite sailing activity, the answer will probably seem even less clear: whatever it was I did most recently.

This summer, I’ve been savoring the incredibly wide variety of sailing opportunities that have come my way: everything from leisurely evening sails to heart-thumping race starts. In one memorable week I fit in an evening of Snipe sailing, an overnight in a quiet harbor (bookended by two great sails), and several afternoons of wingfoiling—before capping it all off with a fantastic weekend regatta on a 59-foot classic yacht. Each adventure made me smile, though for a slightly different reason. Is it any wonder our sport is so hard to explain to landlubbers? 

I’ve written about this before; in 2018, I compared two very different sailing experiences to beach reads and literary novels. The conclusion still rings true:

“It’s hard to describe what I like about sailing for the same reason it’s hard to describe what I love about books; there are so many different aspects to both. Fortunately, I get to puzzle all of it out here on the blog, discovering as I write some of the many, many ways in which Books Meet Boats.”

Before this summer ends, I hope to fit in as much sailing variety as possible, along with—gasp—some exploring on our powerboat. I’m very grateful for the wide array of water-based experiences I get to enjoy, even though it’s very hard to explain—and will likely never include a delivered umbrella drink.  

What’s your favorite summertime activity? Share it in the comments below, or send me an email… whether or not it involves getting out on the water. And thanks for reading, all the way to the end! See you next Thursday.

4 Replies to “Favorite Sailing: Whatever’s On Now”

  1. I started sailing at a very young age with my parents and cannot remember any one sail that was the same as any other. I have sailed and raced many different class boats (Penguins, Blue Jays, Lightnings, Thistles, Ravens, 420s, C and E Class Scows and ice boats) as well as being part of the crew racing fairly large keel boats. Every boat is different even in one design classes and every day on the water is different from the previous days (wind speed and direction, waves and chop, currents and tides, etc.). So I guess you could say that the reason I enjoy sailing is that it presents a different set of challenges every time I go out.

    1. John, I completely agree. Every Snipe race/regatta is different but familiar at the same time. Another reason it’s so hard to explain to non-sailors what our sport is “like.” Thanks for the comment and happy summer!

  2. Same with me. Started sailing at 4 on knockabout. Teen years sailing with parents on bugeye. Started racing Techs at 12. Raced Shearwater cat during college and Air Force. Cruised Chesapeake in Hunter 25 then Ericsson 35. Returned to small boat racing in 1939 classic Chesapeake 20. In retirement race MC, E Scow and Melges 15. I am now 80 and still enjoyed going out on the race course despite the fact that I am usually the oldest. I wrote a book: Sailing in My Time: A Lifelong Passion for Cruising and Racing (on Kindle). The major changes I have witnessed. I grew up when there were no coaches, no professional sailors and sailing was mostly a family and club based sport

    1. Ted, I love that sailing is a lifetime sport! And yes lots of changes, but we can still choose/find places where sailing is mostly a family/club based sport if we work at it. Thanks for the comment!

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