Sailing is a great sport. Whether you sail competitively or not, there’s very little that can beat the sensation of being out on the water, wind filling the sails, harnessing the power of nature and relying on your skills and expertise. Here are eight reasons why sailors consider the art and science of sailing to be one of the best things you can do with your time.
- It lets you find some peace and quiet
- It slows down time and helps us understand ourselves
- It lets you get away from it all
- It teaches you lots of technical skills and expertise
- It increases the sense of freedom and speed
- It helps us feel connected to nature
- It rewards focus, effort and competition
- It teaches us about being part of a team
1. Sailing lets you find some peace and quiet
Sailing is a great way to bring peace and quiet into our busy lives; the simple sounds of the wind as it fills the sails, or the water as it flows past the boat can be very relaxing and centering, a perfect antidote to the stresses of the modern world. It gives busy people the understanding that they can relax, whilst at the same time focusing on sailing.
2. Being on a boat slows down time and helps us understand ourselves
Some sailors gain a profound sense of oneness with their boat, the sea and the wind. The boat becomes a self-contained universe, the process of sailing becomes all consuming. Any sense of time changes and expands, small moments becoming more important. Sailing can be a meditative, reflective and engrossing experience.
3. Sailing lets you get away from it all
As you step onto the boat, the busy world that you’re so used to starts to fade away. As you sail away from the shore, the things that happen on land become small, background concerns. The boat is the center of the world, and everything that matters is right there, in the boat or immediately around it. It’s not as much about where you are sailing to, but the enjoyment and challenge of the journey itself.
4. Being a sailor teaches you lots of technical skills and expertise
A large part of sailing is about experience, self-confidence and learning the right skills. Moment to moment, you develop an understanding of what needs to happen to keep yourself, your crew and the boat safe and get to where you need to be. Every moment on the water is different, and being able to react and deal with any situation that comes up is a challenge that many sailors relish. The combination of artistry and science when sailing is a great way for people to enhance their understanding of both, and get a real feeling of accomplishment. In addition to the mental skills needed, sailing is also a good way to stay fit, as there’s plenty of exercise to be had!
5. Being on a boat increases the sense of freedom and speed
There’s a great freedom in sailing, that of gliding effortlessly across the water, the boat slicing through the waves as the wind fills the sails. If you’re in a race, the perfect breeze with the right boat, trim and technique means that you can speed along and get a real appreciation of space, time, excitement and life.
6. Sailing is a great way to feel connected to nature
Sailing is a very pure form of being with nature. Whether that’s capturing the wind in the sails to propel you along, feeling the currents in the river or the sea or understanding how the weather is going to affect the boat, you learn a tremendous amount of respect for the natural world. Sailing is also very environmentally friendly; you’re not polluting the sky or the ocean with fossil fuels, but travelling the same way that mankind has done for thousands of years.
7. Sailing rewards focus, effort and competition
Sailing needs a good, consistent, constant focus; it demands your attention. The wind and water are dynamic, and understanding any changes that you need to make, especially if you are sailing competitively, is vital to doing well. If you’re racing, you also learn to refine and improve techniques very quickly, whether that’s boat positioning, trimming the sails or distributing weight to build up speed.
8. Being a sailor is about being part of a team
You can sail alone or with a crew. When you’re alone, it can lead to some profound, reflective moments, but when you’re with a crew it deepens the sense of camaraderie and trust between you. There’s also lots of opportunities to chat with people and develop good communication skills when sailing; you can be an instructor and mentor, a captain or a crew member.
Sailing can bring you closer to others, enhance your own experiences and deepen your connection with the world around you. It demands attention, creates challenges and helps you understand your own strengths.
Written by Paul Maplesden