9/1/17 – So Why Sail?
Just like any new activity, sailing can seem like an intimidating prospect to those foreign to the art. The idea that this whole world of nautical travel is solely for those who grew up on the water with knowledge of how to tie a cleat hitch before they have even taken their first steps is far from the truth. Another misconception is that sailing is limited only to the financially affluent with an excess amount of free time on their hands. Learning to sail this day in age is surprisingly affordable, and there are many different paths to honing your skills that do not require dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars on your own boat. With the accessibility of the Chesapeake Bay and its accompanying sailing schools and charter operations, learning to sail can fit into any demanding schedule. It is not necessary that one learn in the exotic waters of some slightly obscure Caribbean island as many imagine. The Chesapeake Bay is a wonderful place to start and offers so much variety that it is a difficult task to take full advantage of all the interesting destinations it has to offer.
Now that we have debunked some of the most common reasons people use to potentially rob themselves of an activity they may fall in love with, the question remains, “Why should I learn to sail?” This is a difficult question to answer simply because sailing becomes so individualized to each and every sailor. If you ask any sailor why they love sailing it is almost guaranteed they will provide you with an answer unique to them, and therein lies the beauty of sailing. There are so many different things you can do once you know the fundamental concepts and skills necessary to comfortably skipper your own vessel.
Using a motor and throttle to get from point A to point B is one thing. Using your knowledge of the environment around you and adjusting your heading and sails accordingly, while feeling how every slight adjustment affects your vessel in its entirety is a completely different animal. No longer are you relying on some artificial source of power that requires the burning of fossil fuels, but you are harnessing one of nature’s most boundless and robust of forces, wind. Learning to channel the power of the wind and manipulate it as you wish brings with it a primitive sense of achievement that is seemingly innate in every one of us.
Sailing is an activity that provides its own distinct teachings. It sharpens one’s ability to achieve a higher degree of mindfulness. You begin to see the natural world around you in a different light. You begin to pay attention to details that you would otherwise completely ignore. You learn how to most efficiently work with what the natural world provides, and more importantly, how to respond with the least resistance.
There is something to be said of the therapeutic nature of being out on the water. Sailing without the obnoxious droning of an engine to disrupt the equanimity of one’s mind is refreshing and invigorating. There is a peace out there that seems to be untapped and free from the contaminants of the chaotic world we live in. It is crucial to find a way to center oneself and relinquish the stresses and struggles that are all too common in our daily lives. For countless men and women this outlet has manifested in the art of sailing. With a little effort, a little time, patience, and willingness, you may become one of them.
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
~ Walt Disney