Did you spend your July 4th on the water? I have memories of boating on pontoons and motor boats on the lake in Minnesota. Lake life is a beloved summer tradition in the state, after all. But until recently, I’d never been on a sailboat.
When I got invited to go sailing in the Bay Area, I was reluctant to go at first. Mostly this was because my dad told me what a bone-chillingly cold experience sailing the Bay can be. Luckily I had an experienced racing crew to take me and I was able to borrow a windbreaker, waterproof overalls, and dinghy shoes (a type of soft rubber boot). I added a flamingo print scarf and lots of layers so I wasn’t cold at all my first time sailing. Just to prove that it happened, here’s all my gear. Not my finest outfit of the day, but sometimes practicality is called for.
The race was intense because boats can come within feet of each other on the course. I wasn’t prepared for how the boat tipped precariously while turning. But the crew assured me that the vessel’s heavy bottom kept it from capsizing, unlike a dinghy we saw overturned completely (everyone was okay).
Sailing at sunset past the Bay Bridge, I felt connected to nature in a whole new way. We were free, gliding on wind and water with the seagulls into the dusk. Sailing is very much a here-and-now experience. There’s no checking your phone or dwelling on the past or future–there’s only time to focus on working with your teammates on what needs to be done right now.
When we docked back in Redwood City (pictured above), there was a great sense of camaraderie between all the teams as they shared sailing stories over dinner at the yacht club. I was glad I experienced something new, and grateful to the kindness of the boat crew for taking me in for my first time sailing. Having resources to help you on new boating adventures makes all the difference! Here are some enjoyable links for beginning to advanced boaters:
Discover Boating Resources
Helpful boating videos, including how to tie knots and boating communication basics.
Kids can learn skills for a lifetime of boating. Just pop in your zip code to find youth program resources in your area.
Find boating opportunities near you.
Take a fun and interactive questionnaire to discover a watercraft right for your lifestyle and budget.
(And read more about my San Francisco discoveries here.)