Racing on the Outskirts

Published on April 9th, 2019

Flathead Lake, Morro Bay, Monterey Bay, Stonington Harbor, Lake Ray Hubbard and the Charles River in Boston. They’re not exactly mecca racing venues the likes of their more widely known neighbors such as San Francisco, Newport or Marblehead. But at sailing enclaves like these lesser knowns around the United States, sailboat racing thrives with rich, eclectic and passionate fleets, and competitive racers.

They’re out there to discover, and award-winning photographer Onne Van der Wal has struck out across the American landscape lately for the soon-to-be-published photo book “Sailing in America.” For Sailing World magazine, he takes us on the road and detours down a few new side roads and onto racecourses we don’t hear about every day.

Morro Bay, California
I never knew this place existed (above), but when we were researching our West Coast stops, I saw this and had to find out more about it. It’s beautiful here and a really unique place. The rock is what grabbed my eye because it’s just so massive, and it sticks out from miles away. In its shadow is this massive lagoon where there were lots of cruising boats anchored. To be honest, I went here to take a picture of the rock and maybe find a few boats on moorings; I had no idea there would be people out sailing. It was early spring and when we got there EARLY in the morning it was foggy, but the hotel receptionist told me it normally burns off by 10 a.m. It did, and in the late afternoon these three dinghies appeared out of nowhere. They were doing drills and short tacks on a whistle, going upwind. For small boats, especially, the bay seemed like it would be an excellent place to run a regatta with its beautiful, flat water. The fog came and went and the conditions kept changing. The landscape is so different, and something I’m not used to seeing. It was so refreshingly different than what I shoot on the East Coast.

Full report… click here.

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