Sail Away With Me

Have you ever been on a sailboat? Sailing offers a relaxation that is distinct from other forms of water recreation. You get away from engines and electronics, and rely on the wind to get you where you’re going. I guess you could call it ancient alternative energy.

Last Sunday was my first sail of the season. Crazy, right?! We seem to have had most of our stormy days on the weekends this summer.The planets must align perfectly, to get me on the boat. Sunday was one of those days.

When the waves are rollers, my stomach doesn’t do so well. It must run in the family, because when we took my sister out last year, she had the same issues. She was so excited to go, as it was her first trip on a sailboat. It started out great, but as we ventured further into the afternoon on the lake, the wind picked up and the waves started.

My response to this situation is to move as high up on the bow as I can get. There is less of a rocking feeling when you move up; however, you do experience the cresting and dipping as the boat cuts into the waves. It can get a little “splashy.”

My sister followed my suggestion, but it didn’t work for her. We spent a grueling hour and a half plowing back to the dock. I am hoping to persuade her to try again. Honestly, though, it is very hard to predict changes in the wind.

We have several friends who’ve expressed interest in sailing, and have yet to be out on a sailboat. We’d love to host, but the timing is tricky. There have been many days we’ve planned to go out, and the weather doesn’t cooperate. Conversely, there are days we didn’t plan to sail, and the weather turns out to be perfect!

photo of lighthouse

the always scenic lighthouse

I guess you could call sailing a fickle mistress. Sailors must be flexible, and that isn’t something that most of us are, in this intense, modern culture.

Boaters (those who enjoy power boating), can change course and return to port much faster. There are times when I wish my husband had gone this route in his boat acquisition; but, as we motor out of the harbor to set sail, I clearly understand the attraction of sailing. The motor cuts off and the sails rise, and you hear nothing but the breeze, and the waves, and the birds.

 

If you are about to set sail on a maiden voyage, you may be wondering what to wear, what to bring, and sailor etiquette. Not being an expert by any stretch, here are my observations.

Sailing Attire for a Casual Day Trip

What do you wear on a sailboat? Whatever you like to wear on land! Really, some people prefer shorts and T’s, others wear bathing suits and cover ups. Personally, I like to bring my bathing suit and change below if I am inclined to swim or sun.

If you wear your bathing suit, you may want to bring a quick change of clothes for after you return to the dock.

A heads-up: jeans aren’t very comfortable and take a long time to dry.

Bring a water-resistant windbreaker. If it is cool, or you think the temperature will drop later, bring a fleece to wear under the windbreaker.

Shoes aren’t as specialized as you might think. Anything with a rubber sole will do, and I often wear sandals (or go barefoot!). My husband prefers sneakers with a thinnish sole as opposed to running shoes. You DO NOT need deck shoes. Sorry, Sperry.

Other Essentials

The common sense things are sunscreen, a water bottle, a hat and/or sunglasses, towels. Check with your captain; he or she may already have the common sense stuff stocked. No need to duplicate.

The boat is a mini island, you can’t bring everything! A small bag with your personal items is appropriate. Save the steamer trunk for your next cruise.

Food

This is another frequent question – what kind of food should you bring on a day sail?

You really need to consult with your host on this one. Some boats have refrigeration and some do not. Even with a refrigerator, space is limited. If your planned sail is only a couple of hours, there may be no need to bring food.

Are you programmed to always bring something to the host? Consider a bite-sized, temperature-flexible snack like nuts; or, a small bottle of your host’s favorite libation. Present it either before or after your sail, so the captain has the option to leave the gift on dry land.

A few food items that we never bring: ice cream, chocolate, mayo, or any foods that melt in the sun.

Some of our faves: melon chunks, strawberries, apples, grapes, nuts and seeds, carrot sticks, snap peas, snack mix, bite-size pretzels, cheese cubes, wrap sandwiches.

Foods that crumble when you eat them, or spill easily, may not be appreciated. Keeping a boat clean is labor-intensive. Also, foods that demand cutlery can be more trouble than they are worth.

Ready To Go!

Your first sail will be special, so soak up the experience. Take photos. Offer to help out with whatever the captain needs. Most of all, embrace it all with a positive attitude. Who knows? Someday, you may end up as the captain of your own ship!

photo of mainsail

looking up at the mainsail

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