Get Away From it all with the Joy of Sailing.
By Gloria Jones
During COVID when social distancing, self-isolating, and mask-wearing have become part of the rather unnatural way we live our lives now What a thrill it is to get away from it all by heading to the sea to take part in one of the oldest sports. The sport that forces you to appreciate your surroundings immersing you in them to be as one with nature.
A common misconception about sailing is that it’s wet, uncomfortable, and dangerous. Certainly, if you look at the photos in this article that show people of all ages at hair-raising angles you might think it appears far from relaxing. But there are all types of sailors and sailing can be for anyone.
Day-sailing for example is simply about sailing out into the ocean for the sheer pleasure that drives us toward the water. Hearing the wind, the water, the rigging, the slapping of water on hulls, and nothing else. Feeling the breeze on your face as the wind presses into the sails creating the motion of sailing along the water. Having time to watch the ripples of the wake as a big boat passes by. Looking back at the shoreline and up at the sun, and the clouds, everything we usually cannot take the time to appreciate in our daily lives. Surely this is the very essence of relaxation to be taken outside our usual comfort zone and forced to realise how small we are compared to the vast ocean – it might also be called a spiritual experience.
However, there is plenty to get right before you can experience this zen like state. Firstly before you even set off from dry land you must ensure that you are properly attired. Footwear that has a good grip is of course essential. Also, make sure to have sunglasses and sunscreen – not a namby-pamby factor either, but serious sunblock. When you sail with Royal Varuna they will of course make sure that you have a proper life jacket. However, you may want to consider headgear to stop the wind lashing your hair around your face and ideally waterproof clothing with long sleeves and dark colours as it can get dirty on a boat.
Always take proper instruction and be accompanied by a proficient teacher. They will teach you about health and safety when on a boat and the basic skills which will help you become a competent sailor. You have to be able to tell which way the wind is blowing and be able to steer accurately. This is done by the use of the tiller that moves the rudder and angles the boat so that it is perpendicular to the wind.
Then angle the mainsail so it fills with wind, and learn to recognize when it is properly trimmed that is to say when you use the line (never say rope) to control the fluttering of the to get the boat sailing in a straight line. Then once you have everything as it should be it goes quiet and instead of the flapping of the sail all you can hear is the hull as it moves through the water and the breeze as it pushes past you. No wonder people get hooked on the experience.
Once you are a confident sailor and again there are courses at The Royal Varuna Club to help you gain in proficiency, you may long for a faster experience. The thrill as you experience the adrenaline rush of racing, as you try to go faster than the other boat – there’s nothing like it!