The Most Satisfying Sailing Experience?
What is the most satisfying sailing experience for you? I would expect everyone to have a unique and personal answer. It might be an event or a particular place. Maybe it is weather dependent or a favorite companion. For some, it might be the exhilaration of racing, while others, the calmness of cruising. A few enjoy the zen of building or working on a boat. For me, it is a day of sailing where I do not need to use a motor.
There is a joke, “sailing, the most expensive way to get somewhere for free.” My satisfaction doesn’t come from not spending money, that’s another essay. I could use the motor for 15 minutes weighing anchor or leaving a dock. Or 15 minutes docking or setting the anchor and I would use only about $.25 (2018) worth of gasoline. I might easily put $.25 of wear and tear on the sails and rigging. It’s not about the environment. Burning less fossil fuel is great, but a fiberglass boat with bottom paint is not footprint-free. I could argue with myself here too, but once again, another essay.
It’s about the challenge, the patience and knowing I did it and could do it. Could I sail off the anchor? Did nature allow me to do it regarding the wind, tides and times? Was I able to plan and calculate correctly considering these elements? Was I patient enough to do it, knowing I could get there faster by starting the motor? Could I handle the sails well enough to do it? Was my boat good enough to do it under the conditions? Did I plan the departure and arrival correctly? Were my expectations of achievement reasonable? Was I still able use the solar panel to charge the battery? Would I know what I could do if I was engineless or had engine failure? Could I set the anchor just where I wanted it? Must I always be dependent on a motor and its external resources?
Independence, proper planning, working with the elements, testing myself and passing. These are a big part of what defines a satisfying sailing experience for me.
What is the most satisfying sailing experience for you?