I Don’t Need a Helmet to go Sailing

Published on June 14th, 2017

Sailing takes many forms, and as the sport evolves, this span continues to increase. Professional writer Roger Vaughan seeks to make sense of the latest shift.


There’s a new sail-powered sport to go along with board and kite sailing. It is called Foiling. Foiling over the water under sail.

Sailing is the other sport we know and love where a boat is moved through the water under sail.

I have only gone foiling a few times. I’ve never been at the helm of a foiling boat, but I am sure there are some very rewarding moments as well as the thrills involved. Moments that might compare favorably with the various sensual moments that made me fall in love with monohulls.

When sailing monohulls, there are those moments like finding the narrow groove upwind when the boat is perfectly trimmed, balanced, and charging like a running back, rail down; like learning to plane off the wind, using weight and trim and experience to get on a wave and feel that gratifying chill when it accelerates beyond its hull speed, and learning exactly when and how to get on the next wave.

Foiling is faster. So what? My old truck is even faster. Speed is for Vin Diesel, NASCAR, F-1, Miss Budweiser, Ski-Doos, and the 2017 Americas Cup. Sailing is more about performance, working to make a well-designed boat perform to its max, even if that max is 6 or 8 knots. Foiling is about performance too: get up on those foils and stay there.

Sailing involves sexy hull shapes. Beautiful sometimes.

Sailing is satisfying. So is Foiling, I am sure, although I have not asked those guys on the America’s Cup Class cats if pumping the hydraulic system through an entire race to charge a compressor is satisfying.

I submit that Sailing feels better because one interacts with the water; enjoys the motion of the ocean. I can wear old jeans and a flannel shirt on a chilly day. Shorts and a T-shirt in Summer. Or wet gear, gloves, and boots when its veins in the teeth time.

And I don’t need a helmet to go Sailing.

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