As I head down the stretch of the best sailing months of the year, I’m in a good place after a terrible start. The COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 a memorable year for all of us. For me, the worst part was not being able to sail at all for the first half of the main season (I didn’t own a boat until late July, and the Club Boats were not available until about that time.) Also contributing to 2021’s challenges was “learning at the helm” from a Club management perspective for this “Rookie” Board member during a year in which almost nothing was “normal” (thanks to other long-time club members with more Board service under their belts, that didn’t turn out to be problematic for the club.) The unique challenges associated with the latter, although not completely behind us, are definitely on the decline — and buying a boat took care of the former.
As to why I’m in a good place. ... There’s something about enjoying Nature by sailing that for me is somehow different from other ways of enjoying it like hiking, camping, downhill skiing, other activities on or in water, etc. It’s that feeling I get when I’ve readied my boat to take me wherever I want to go with only the wind for propulsion, motored out just far enough to put that propulsion into action, and cut the engine. There’s no sound of an engine, no smell of its exhaust — and if there are no people around who don’t have a clue what I’m trying to say here playing loud music or otherwise making noise, just the sound of swishing water disturbed only by the unobtrusive mechanical sounds associated with helm and sail management. If I’m having this experience in coastal waters, I’ll hear louder sounds of swishing (perhaps augmented in higher winds by sounds associated with wave motion,) and I may see dolphins or porpoises doing their wave-like jumps as they pass within a few yards of me. In some regions, I may see a few pilot whales or even gray or humpback whales in similar moves.
So now, as the main season winds down, I’m back to a good place more like last year (“a good place” being, of course, sailing whenever I want 😊⛵️.) In another month or so, I’ll be sailing less frequently until probably late February or early March simply because there will be far fewer days per month when wind and other weather conditions — especially temperature — are optimal for doing so. When it’s feasible, of course, I’ll go out to minimize “withdrawal symptoms,” enjoy “moments” like I’ve described here, and whet my appetite for the fun awaiting me next Spring. By then, I’m thinking we’ll either have COVID-19 behind us or at least we’ll have settled into living with precautions that strike a more reasonable balance between controlling its spread and causing the social, psychological, and economic problems associated with business shutdowns. So I’m looking forward to a more “normal” year in 2021. 👍