Sailing Magazine - On the Wind Fri, 22 Sep 23 00:00:00 -0400 en hourly 1 America’s Cup crew may not be sailors, at least they are human beings OK, I promised you no more America’s Cup rants but, hey, you know you can’t trust me. The Cup is a sad, broken, shadow of an event that once enthralled sailors worldwide. How many of us sat up int...]]> Rules for thee but not for me doesn’t work on the water Five adult sailing students were making their way back to the dock after a couple of hours of drills on a J/24 and two instructors and I were following in a tiny chase boat. We were heading into the �...]]> Sometimes the most important learn-to-sail lesson is to play nice In the process of learning to sail, there is one thing that is not often taught yet it is extremely important. It falls somewhere between learning to duck your head on a jibe (ouch) and not getting yo...]]> Some sailing myths need to be busted Since sailors are now flying, sail trimmers are now biking and cloud computers are now navigating, it seems appropriate to separate today’s sailing myths from reality. Surprise, everything I’ve li...]]> Practice makes perfect when an idiot with his pants down goes overboard In World War II, aviators had what they called the “Caterpillar Club.” It was an organization for pilots and aircrews who had “hit the silk” by parachuting out of their damaged aircraft. I’m...]]> Let’s call it learning to learn to sail instead Interest in sailing saw a remarkable uptick starting in about May of 2020 that hasn’t let up. Google searches for the phrase “How to sail” had been increasing steadily since 2004, but doubled du...]]> The America’s Cup has moved so far from the glory days it might as well be on the moon Disclosure: I love sports cars. I’ve loved them since I didn’t have a driver’s license and, since then, I’ve owned them, restored them, raced them and often sworn at them. It’s exactly like ...]]> Survival suits, torrents and other climate consequences Golf course greens turning tan. Ski jumping off of artificial turf towers. Scuba diving on monochromatic reefs where rainbow coral once grew. Mountaineering to peer into one last crevasse. Climate cha...]]> Bargain boats found in old barns should star in fixer-upper shows As often happens for my musings in this column, three things converged like a perfect storm to make me start thinking. First, being a car nut as well as a boataholic, I visited a friend who is in the ...]]> Sailing crews look a lot different these days. You can thank diversity. Every spring we assemble our crew lists for the season and pack key sailing events into our best friend’s calendars. We draw a Venn diagram of teams to race on weeknights and weekends (since not eve...]]> Don’t waste good champagne to christen a boat with a dreadful name It was a beautiful morning and I was rowing our tender ashore to grab a Sunday paper. I like rowing, and the fiberglass tender is fun for rowing (unlike those baggy gray inflatables), and I didn’t w...]]> Hosting boats from high-tech to discarded relics, boatyards are both playground and graveyard Vesper’s giant carbon fiber rig towered over the rest of the boats in the yard like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar visiting a kindergarten classroom at nap time. The TP52 glistened in perfect glossy shades of ...]]> Fitting out projects require an educated thumb, just don’t varnish naked When it comes to refitting your boat, whether it’s for the upcoming season or to upgrade it in general, I’m happy to report (from more boats than I’ll admit to), that there is one item that does...]]> Much-maligned runners have their advantages Our local fleet champ recently declared that he’s done with sailing. “This is it,” he said. “When this sailboat sells I’m not buying another. Runabouts don’t have runners.” He’s a ter...]]> Slippery bottoms are the key to go-fast sailing We were standing in the yacht club bar after the race when Jon arrived and grabbed my arm. “Were you just feeling her bottom?” he demanded, which turned every ear along the bar into little pointed...]]> The weather you get, not the weather you want Whenever a newcomer comes to town I usher him or her to our priceless waterfront and we talk sailing. If I see even a flicker of curiosity, I suggest sailing lessons. Our town benefits greatly from on...]]> Trust what your eyes tell you, and you will always know how the wind is blowing I was considering the 55th anniversary of SAILING, and I asked the question, “What is the one thing that binds all SAILING readers together aside, of course, from great photos and even greater ...]]> Sailors keep an even keel, crisis be damned If you’re a child of the 1960s or before, you may recall the first oil embargo when prices spiked and shortages had drivers wasting weekends in line at the gas pump, like we saw in May 2021 on the E...]]> Sailing affirmations can unlock your best self She Who Must Be Obeyed is a big believer in affirmations. Until she entered my life one spring vacation many moons ago, I freely admit that I didn’t know what an affirmation was. Or, at least, I did...]]> Hey racers: The cruisers are coming, tone it down Sailing can seem bicameral—like a 50/50 Senate—split between racers whose passion is intense competition, strategy and speed, and cruisers seeking fun-in-the-sun and vacations to exotic locales. ...]]> When America’s Cup sailors suit up for battle, they ditch the Topsiders and khaki shorts Last weekend, with a fine breeze blowing, I decided to take the Laser out. Me to She Who Must Be Obeyed: “Hey, honey, do you know where my oxygen tank and mouthpiece are?” SWMBO to me: “Where t...]]> Let’s hope a newfound kind of sailing sticks around Before Covid-19, sailing seemed stuck in place: it was the same boats moored in the same marina sailing to the same destination or starting on the same line and racing the same course against the sa...]]> The luxury of onboard showers can leave you all wet Full disclosure. I love showers. Hot showers. Long, hot showers. I have done some of my best thinking during a leisurely shower, and it reached the point where I installed my own waterproof notepad: a...]]> How to convince your teenagers to sail with you The question I’m asked about most often is about family sailing. The scenario differs only slightly: Usually a parent of teenagers aspires to sail in a family group, but can’t convince the kids to...]]> Paper charts hold secrets that modern GPS units can’t Didn’t you cut it a little close to Point Loma?” my friend Jon said on the phone the other day.   “What are you talking about?” I said. “I’m looking at the course you laid out to cl...]]> The time to sail is coming Memories of post-race parties run together, but one stands out, not just for the fun being had (fun was definitely had) but for the shocking dockside news that awaited the unknowing fleet. After thre...]]> Sailing is the ultimate and best method of social distancing It had never occurred to me, until this pandemic put everyone into self-imposed exile, that sailing is a magnificently and spectacularly solitary endeavor. I now realize that many of my best memories ...]]> On this we can agree: On a boat we’re all friends Sailing boasts unmatched power to make quick comrades from nemeses. For example, when climate change provocateur Greta Thunberg chose to sail across the Atlantic Ocean instead of flying, sailing soci...]]> A return to sailing by the seat of your pants Iwent sailing with an old friend recently on his 38-foot racer-cruiser that shall remain nameless because what I’m about to say has nothing to do with the boat, which was quite fun to sail.  B...]]> The last of the paper charts, and the memories that go with them It was a quarter of a century ago but it seems like yesterday. We were 50 miles into a 120-mile overnight passage bound north by northeast. Our homeport lights had fallen below the horizon  so o...]]>