Friday, August 15, 2008

Why do people sail?

Seriously, why?

Can't speak for the rest of you sailors out there. I know why I sail, though today still unable to sit "normal" almost a month after my Black Fly turned Staph Infection incident from doing the Chicago-Mackinac race, an experience which has overshadowed the pages and pages of notes on the amazing time otherwise had.

How a "microscopic" negative can so easily undo a 50 foot boat load of fantastic memories is beyond me. The experience has me reminding self "why I sail."

I sail for many of the same reasons the likely person reading this blog does: for sport, sensations of movement, love of water and being outside, etc., etc. Explaining to people why a sailor sails is pretty easy picture to paint. Despite being a little uncomfortable these days, the love and passion for sailing has not weakened. Just a little jaded about sailing anywhere there may be Black Flies.

Now, if we (sailors) could leave out a few bits on why we sail. For example, sharing the "war stories" for after they go out on the boat a few times. Sailors love to hear other sailors "big fish" tales from regattas past or wild deliveries. Unless the potential new sailor is already an adrenaline junky, they want to hear about the lovely cruise which involved more civilized affairs.

Granted, this takes putting a few feelers out there. Understanding a little bit more about the person one is talking with and then deciding what picture would entice them to scope out the closest sailing center. Sailing does have so many "faces", many "flavors" to choose from, truly an activity, sport for anyone who chooses to give it a try.

For example, some of us choose to race around bouys, go offshore, hang on a trapezes ,etc.. We choose to sail on the boat which best matches our personalities. It is ok if that style includes a 25 foot Cape Dory, sipping wine on a lake or coastal waterway in just enough breeze to keep the iron jib tucked away. As sailors, active ambassadors for our sport, it is our responsibility to ensure all the facets of sailing get properly portrayed.

To grow our sport, increase participation and ensure our favorite events are there for our children's children to participate in: we each have to share why we sail. Though, why we sail may not be why the person listening wants to sail. They may just want the ability to cruise on a gentle boat in gentle waters.

Though, do advise they bring bug spray...just in case!