As I was growing up, I had minimum exposure to sailing. Sure, my dad took me on boat trips a couple of times and I got to play sailor, but when you’re on a motorboat, you’re not really sailing. For as long as I can remember, I was into scuba diving, fishing, surfing. Sailing seemed natural, it was always there, but I never reached for it. It was only when I was already an adult that a group of friends took me sailing, and after my initial phase of being a total newbie, sailing just grew on me. Became my hobby, and later on, my job. And it’s wonderful.
I found a lot of parallels between sailing and life itself. When sailing for the first time, you will learn that you can move from one point to another in a straight line. Such is life – you keep moving forward (yes, sounds like a Rocky quote, I know), you search for new horizons, and for yourself.
And so I began to learn, and with each new trip, I gained more lessons that are valuable. People skills, celestial navigation, tackling, the right tools and all that other sailing-related stuff. Practical skills that also have a spiritual value, if you look deeper into them.
Get Ready to Sail
When sailing for the first time, you require no special clothing, but it’s best to wear what’s appropriate, and by that I mean you should dress practically. Depending on the weather patterns, you may prefer shorts and t-shirt. When sailing, a rain jacket is essential to protect you from winds and spray. Your first concern should be your safety, and as such, so make sure you have flotation devices and life-jackets on board.
Before stepping onto the boat, you should first check the forecast and local wave and wind conditions. It is best to notify a person when you are leaving and when you expect to be back. The fuel and oil levels of your vessel should be sufficient. Calm, uncrowded waters will give you the best sailing experience. Being accompanied by an experienced sailor may come in handy during your sail trip.
Life Lessons from Sailing
Planning Ahead – You will need to prepare beforehand if you want to enjoy your sailing experience. Set the date right, when the weather is favorable. In your planning, ensure you have the right tools such as emergency kits to cater for emergencies. The last minute rush will spoil your trip and leave you prone to dangers.
Depending on Yourself – When you leave everything at the hands of others, you will never learn how to sail safely and successfully. Do whatever you need and ask for help only when you really have to. From researching to planning to preparing all the way to the actual sail, ensure your input is substantial. This will be helpful in real-life applications.
Working in a Team – Sailing with friends or family requires cooperation for success, which is pretty much the same as team work in an office. Learn to delegate, receive orders, and execute them to the benefit of the entire team. Your people, cooperation, teaming, and social skills will grow enormously.
Learning Basic Survival Skills – I have sailed for many times than I can remember and capsized a significant number of time. At first, I was at the mercy of my team and the waves. As time went by, I learned various survival skills, including what to do when a person is overboard.
Learning CPR – You’ll never know how important it is to know this basic, crucial skill until it is needed in a case of emergency. Take your time to practice how to do CPR procedure effectively. Cardiac resuscitation is a life-saving procedure consisting of an artificial respiration and external cardiac massage to treat a person who has stopped breathing, has collapsed or has no pulse.
Learning Basic and Celestial Navigation – Even if you’re in a group with a hired crew, knowing how to navigate will be helpful. Ensure you learn tacking and maneuvering techniques. Check weather forecasts. Celestial navigation or navigating by the stars seems a bit advanced, but it’s actually very basic, and is a skill you can use anytime the night sky is clear and full of stars. After a while, you’ll know how to utilize the sun, moon, a planet or one of the 57 navigational stars for easy positioning to enable.
Discovering New Places and Customs – I love sailing as a hobby because of its adventurous nature. It is advisable to navigate in new regions and meet new people, learn their customs and enjoy moments together. Your mind will be more active and fresh when you are out of your comfort zone.
Appreciating Nature – Without nature, we would not even be sailing. Therefore, embark on that sailing trip and enjoy yourself, look around you, take deep breaths, appreciate the nautical wonders of nature. The ocean beneath you, with your sailboat cutting through it as the wind blows into its sails, and the blue sky above – I certainly discovered a feeling that can only be described as an overwhelming appreciation for this beautiful planet we all share.
Health Benefits of Sailing
Yes, simple as that, sailing keeps improving my health, both mental and physical. The sounds and motion of the sea splashing and swooshing, the sailboat’s rhythmic movement and the winds’ sounds always put me in a laid back mood. The scientific explanation would be that your body produces serotonin, which results in a good mood, while the spiritual explanation would be that calm waters bring you a sense of wellness and peace.
Now, sailing is often dynamic as well, and you have to act quickly, and this will help you learn how to multitask efficiently. A sharp mind can be the most powerful tool.
Physical benefits? Active sailing will build your endurance and muscle strength. The hosting and pulling of sails toa yacht will keep you fit. It lowers your risk of obesity, hypertension and improves your cardiovascular system.
Sailing as a Hobby? Absolutely.
Sailing is my favorite pastime, but it has become my job as well, as I teach those completely new to sailing, and I love it. Learning to sail isn’t really difficult, but it does requires patience. This is a great group activity, for friends and families with kids as well. It goes without saying that it is a bit adventurous, relaxing and thrilling at the same time. If you want to learn new skills, discover new sights and sounds, and have fun along the way, try sailing. I did, and it was one of the best decisions of my life.
Sean J. Tolliver
Sean is a personal trainer turned freelance writer and traveler with an affinity for sailing and scuba diving, always on the lookout for new destinations to visit. An adventurous Californian, he prefers a nautical lifestyle, but when he’s on dry land, you’ll find him typing or planning his next big fishing trip, probably with a freshly brewed cup of coffee by his side.
Contact page: https://about.me/seanjtolliver