Boat Head Dept. Blog: How You Can Get Addicted to Sailing

Boat Head Dept. Blog: How You Can Get Addicted to Sailing

 

Sailing Could Be Your Next New Love 

Even for the weekend sailor, the relationship between men and boats is a bit like a love affair. There’s the same initial infatuation, the same preoccupying passion, the same pain of separation. For a married man, there’s even the same kind of tension he has with his spouse. 
I had sailed since I was 12, but it was not until I was 40 that I finally bought a boat of my own. She was a Pearson 26 One Design, a sleek, fiberglass-hulled, 26-foot sloop that I sailed on the Chesapeake Bay. I can still remember the excitement of the day I took commission of her at a yacht yard in Annapolis and the thrill when we got the sails up for the first time. 
But by the second season, and certainly the third, conflicts had begun to develop. Weekends that I wanted to spend on the bay had to be devoted to long-overdue chores.
When I didn’t use the boat, the costs of maintaining her suddenly seemed like an extravagance. A 26-foot boat is hardly a yacht of the proportions J. P. Morgan had in mind, but the routine expenses were considerable, nonetheless. 

Experience the Joy of Sailing Now

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I used the boat less and less in the fourth and fifth seasons, and finally even I had to admit that the rewards no longer justified the expenses. (You can ruin a boat owner’s day by forcing him to calculate his per-sail costs.) Finally, reluctantly, I put her on the block. I was depressed for weeks. When the yacht broker would call with an offer, I would make it my business to be out. 
I frankly expected to be devastated. Instead, I felt strangely exhilarated. No more did I fret when a storm blew through, no longer did I have to worry about whether her lines were secure, no longer did I feel guilty about the fading teak and fraying jib sheets. That was someone else’s worry now. I rediscovered tennis and became reacquainted with my children. They’re really quite nice, and my son’s tennis game had improved sharply while I was away.
Old sailing magazines are especially dangerous for me. I leaf through the four-color ads that read: ”Imagine yourself the proud owner of this beauty,” and there is a deliriously happy carefree skipper heading his gleaming white yacht into the sunset. I know it isn’t really like that, of course, and yet, when the breeze stiffens the flag atop the office building across the street.
As club programs so often are the gateway to youth competition, this leads their programming to focus on racing. While this approach keeps the youth circuit hopping and supports the school sailing environment in USA, it arguably contradicts the premise of the program. 
That answer will likely shift a bit over the next twenty years as the number of Optimist-equipped junior programs has proliferated over the past 20 years but I think there continues to be lots of doubt about whether these racing-focused junior programs are really creating lifelong sailors and growth in sailing.  
Summer camps, Sea Scouts and community sailing programs introduce thousands more – again the numbers dwarf junior programs. And thousands more get introduced to sailing at resorts with Sunfish or Hobie Waves or similar boats on the beach.
There’s healthy debate and adjustments being made to junior programs to create more well-rounded offerings but the total numbers remain small compared to the way ‘most sailors’ become hooked on sailing. 
So don’t forget these great reasons why you cold get addicted to sailing. People get hooked because of 1) tall ship training courses;  2) summer camps;  and 3) junior programs.

California Police Officer Saves Dog From Burning Sailboat

Upon reaching the burning boat, he realized that in order to save the dog he would have to earn the scared animal’s trust first. As a horse trainer and all-around animal lover, Ruggles knew he was the right man for the job, and did what he could to calm the dog as the crowd watched tensely from the harbor.
“When I first got there, I reached out for the dog and he started barking and growling. So I tried to talk to him in a soft voice, and see if that would help,” Ruggles said. “He was very wide-eyed and his ears were up, so you could see how scared he was. I reached up and started petting the backside near the tail. I could just see the eyes start to droop down, and the ears start to fall, so I took that opportunity to pull him into the boat.”
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Author: mslrmss

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