11 December 2006


I usually don't engage in blogversations with other bloggers but if I didn't do it at least once I wouldn't get to use the term blogversation.

Tillerman is interested in hearing how we all got inspired to start sailing. I don't think my story is very unique but since it is so typical might be worth telling.

My Dad sails. He learned when he was 8 or so and pretty much has sailed his whole life. In fact, I believe my parents met racing in Florida though nobody seems willing to talk about that. Back to my Dad, he owned a series of boats in his adult life. When my parents split, we moved to California, my Dad stayed in Florida for a bit before purchasing Zorra, a 72 foot yawl, and moving to the Caribbean:
Kathleen Port Tack

I would spend summers in the Caribbean with him. I don't have a lot of memories of the sailing but a few of the beaches. He sold this boat when I was 7 or so and moved back to Miami. Throughout my youth, whenever I'd visit Florida, we'd take a few days to sail down to the Keys on his boat or a friends. Didn't seem unusual, just sort of what you do in Florida.

This all changed when I hit my early 20s. My Dad was set to retire and his plan was to cross the Atlantic. We started chartering larger boats on trips (family reunion in NC, sister's wedding in SF) and I signed up as crew for the crossing. I made a few extra trips down to Florida, then moved down about 6 weeks before crossing for a haulout and final preparations.

We made the crossing in mid-92 and it still ranks simultaneously as the most boring and most exhilarating sailing experience of my life. I don't know if I really knew how to sail after all of this but I know it was definitely in my blood.

Moving back to SF, I never really got to go sailing. Didn't know anyone with a boat and had plenty of other interests. When I moved to the East Bay and started crossing the Bay Bridge twice a day, I would daydream about buying a boat every day. I had a family now and I kept thinking how nice it would be to take them sailing. I thought I should make it an everyday part of life, sort of how I remembered visits to Florida.

So I bought a boat. I could fill thousands of blog pages with my first experiences on the Bay on my own boat. Nobody really let me know that in the summer the wind is 25-30 knots EVERY SINGLE DAY. Not to mention, I had never docked a boat before and had a beautifully situated cross-wind berth.

I'm not sure if "inspiration" is really the correct word for what my Dad gave me. More like DNA. I pretty much sail because I've always sailed. What he has given me in spades is excellent advice and teaching by example. I could probably fill another thousand pages with his advice, but I'll just give you one for now: "you can never dock too slowly".


Pat said...

For us it's trickier, because we sometimes sail without a motor on board ... and too little speed can also be the set-up for "oh no, not another learning experience!" Dropping the sail too soon can mean frantic sculling, a quickie re-hoist, or an "improvised" docking.

amaury@caylus.me said...

zorra is now named valteam and based in france
next december she will participate to classic transat cascai/barbados