Adventures of Sailing #1

Sailing is one of the most beautiful and peaceful activities in which one can participate; it’s a special bonding with nature.  Leaving the harbor and raising the sails, there is an excitement, an enthusiasm that can only be described as the dawn of a beautiful summer day or the excitement a child experiences on the last day of school.  It’s a hopeful feeling, a feeling of limitless possibilities.  The engine is turned off and you move completely under the power of the wind.  The sails billowing with a fresh breeze, the ocean rushing by, the spray of the whitecaps on your face, and all you can think about is how free you are.  Free from the mundane, everyday existence that joins us all.  Free of the stresses of work and bills; everyday life.  Other activities such as white water rafting, skiing, mountain climbing, or gliding capture this same feeling.  But whatever the outdoor activity, there is no place for noise pollution, only the sound of the wind or water; sounds of nature.  As the boat heels you have a great sense of speed and power even though you may not be traveling more than 7 or 8 knots, (9 miles/hour).  Sailing abeam, sailing downwind, sailing just off the wind, each requires a different skill and must be mastered in order to make the boat go where the captain wishes it.  A sailboat, unlike a powerboat uses the wind to drive it forward.  If the wind is coming out of the east and you need to sail east, you can’t simply point the boat and go. Wind at your face can’t fill the sails so you must sail to varying degrees left or right (port or starboard),  of the wind in order to make forward progress.  It flies in the face of logic that states the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  In sailing there often is no straight line.  But sailing isn’t necessarily about the destination, it’s about the journey.  Making forward progress, while making lateral progress may not make sense but must be mastered in order to successfully sail.  In the coming weeks, I will tell of some of the adventures I have experienced on the sea.  Some fun and exciting, some, challenging and downright scary.  I hope the readers of these adventures will enjoy them as much as I did experiencing them.

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