Visit Pensacola

Sailing Is Like a Beer Run

Published on August 31st, 2015

By Cindy Fletcher-Holden, Spinsheet

Sailing is like going on a beer run. You park, run in the store, grab your favorite 12-pack, pay, and you’re done. But if you don’t know what kind of beer you like, the choices can be daunting. Imported, domestic, pale ale, lager, porter, cans, bottles, hoppy, fruit-infused, and so much more. Like beer, there are many ways to enjoy sailing, and each has a different characteristic and attitude. Not all kinds appeal to all people, and everyone seems to have their favorite.

Like a cold bottle of beer, daysailing is one choice. On a small boat, it may be just you or one other person. You go out for a few hours, enjoying the brisk breeze, sunshine, or moonlight, or maybe hot hazy skies and biting flies. Whatever the conditions, chances are you are back when you plan and home in time for dinner.

Day sailing on a bigger boat could involve inviting friends, some of whom may not have sailed before, who show up with a cart full of food only to discover the cafe table tilts. This kind of sailing involves relaxation or exhilaration, great conversations, and bonding.

Racing is another type of sailing. More complicated, like a porter. Here you have a schedule and need to be on time. It is a sport and someone will win. The more practice, the better. When crews race together over a long period of time, they work as a unit. Crossing the finish line in the top three on a regular basis makes it all worth it. And still, you’re back at the dock and home or at the club in time for dinner. Unless it’s an overnight race. But even then, you’re done and home the next day or so.

The big ocean races such as the Volvo Race, or Around Alone, are for such a select few, it would be like having a designer brewery craft you a custom beer with your boat on the label.

Cruising the Chesapeake Bay is all about the joys of its protected creeks, singing crickets, historic towns, great day sailing, and a new anchorage every night. Like it says on a can of Nattie Bo, the Bay is “The Land of Pleasant Living.” The Chesapeake Bay offers some of the best cruising places in the world. This is the opinion of many sailors we’ve met who have sailed around the world multiple times!

And now that I’ve experienced cruising in many other parts of the world, I totally agree with my new friends. Sailing can also include tall ships, dinghy racing, windsurfing, and lots of small crafts. Even some kayaks have sails. When a cruise ship or a Navy PT boat leaves a port, they say it “sets sail,” but these vessels have no “sails.” So I am not including them in my beer run analogy.

Then there is passage making. In this case, there is often an ocean involved, and several days at sea. You decide on your destination. You load up the boat with weeks’ worth of food. When it’s time to go, you point the boat out toward open water, and the magical feeling that comes next is like nothing else. There will be a certain amount of anxiety. Even a perfect weather forecast can be totally off, and even a perfect boat can experience major issues.

Read On…

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