Long before I was a homeowner, I was an ardent member of the Snipe Crew Union and always attended the annual Midwinter Championship in Clearwater. Each sailing day started with a fifteen-minute morning commute from housing to boat park, when my passenger eyes would be free to wander over perfectly manicured squares of lawn. One morning, my skipper pointed at a particular corner property and said excitedly, “Look, the perfect sailor’s lawn!”
Everything that should’ve been grass was covered instead with white rocks.
We both laughed, and the moment was forgotten… though I always flash back to that happy pre-race drive every time I hear the phrase repeated. Usually the speaker (between post-race sips) is referring to their own scruffy patch of grass, unmown and neglected back at home, along with all those other chores that don’t involve boats. Sailing season and lawn mowing season have way too much overlap, and at least for the folks I hang out with, getting out on the water is a much higher priority than a perfectly pristine lawn.
When we bought our house 25 years ago, Paul took on lawn responsibilities and I claimed the perennial beds and vegetable garden. Last year, locked down at home, both the grass and the flowers looked way better than they had in years. This summer, we’ve both got plenty of sailing on the schedule… and the weeds have already taken charge.
We sometimes joke about replacing all the grass with something like those white rocks, though that would look extremely odd here in New England. And we’d also be removing a key quality of life indicator. What looks like neglect (or laziness) to neighbors and passersby is really a visual fringe benefit of living our best lives—and that’s better than a freshly trimmed lawn any day.
So if you’re wondering what the lawn of a happy sailor should look like, just stop on by and admire the mangy side effects of a busy sailing season. Because even though it brings back a nice memory and makes for a lighthearted joke, we don’t plan on replacing all that patchy grass with white rocks any time soon.