Why Sailing is the Best Sport in the World

A bold claim perhaps, but let’s look at the evidence: sailing is a great antidote for the modern world – when you’re out on the water, whether it’s at your local lake, or on a keelboat out of sight of land, you’re physically and mentally separated from everything that’s going on back on land; somehow your problems and challenges seem smaller out there and when you come back to shore after a good sail, your mood tends to be so much better (sometimes we do have bad days on the water, but a bad day’s sailing is still probably better than a good day at the office)!

We all benefit from getting back in touch with nature regularly, and sailing is all about being in-tune with nature. If you spend your weekdays inside, in front of a computer screen – then you’ve got to try sailing! You might also be interested in Advice for Buying a Sailboat.

There’s a boat that’s right for everybody

The shear variety of sailboats and roles on sailboats means that anyone can participate, no matter their age or physical ability – from the physical exertion of working on the bow area of a racing keelboat, or hanging off the trapeze on a modern skiff – all the way to the more leisurely steering a modern cruising yacht, or even for those with physical disabilities – skippering specially adapted sailboats.

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It’s as social as you want it to be

Want quality family time? No problem, go for a keelboat, or even a larger sailing dinghy. Want solitude? A one-person dinghy will deliver. And you can’t beat a yacht club for social life. Plus, there are several active sailing groups on Facebook.

Sailing – an elitist sport?

It is a common misconception that sailing is only for the rich, because you need to own and maintain a sailboat; however, this isn’t true at all. Whilst if you’re going to sail regularly you’ll want to invest in the appropriate sailing clothing for your location and type of sailing, boat ownership is optional. So, ‘how can I sail regularly without buying a boat?’ I hear you ask. Most, if not all Learn to Sail programs have their own sailboats, and once you’ve got the hang of sailing, if you just want to go out occasionally, there are sailboat rental companies where you can rent small sailboats by the hour – which is very cost-effective. Yachts (keelboats and larger catamarans) can be chartered by the day, or for longer periods – either ‘bareboat’ (you sail it yourself), or with a professional skipper included.

How to sail regularly without purchasing a sailboat

If you want to sail regularly without owning a boat, the best way is to crew (or even skipper) on someone else’s boat. Most yacht clubs (sailing clubs) have ‘Crew Wanted’ ads on their noticeboard, or on their website. There are a lot of jobs to do on keelboats – offer to help in whatever way you can. You might find that at first your main job is to sit on the side, helping to keep the boat upright, but you will be able to learn so much from more experienced sailors onboard, and before long you’ll get the opportunity to assist with various roles around the boat. USA yacht club directory (sailing club directory)

Get paid to sail

Obviously this isn’t for complete beginners, but there are so many opportunities for employment in sailing, from crewing on super-yachts, to working in the tourism industry with sailing cruises and yacht charters. There have been professional sailors racing yachts for many decades now – either funded by wealthy owners, or through sponsorship. Just be aware – you’d better not get too attached to your own bed, because the life of most professional sailors is one of regular national and international travel. Many of the places you get you visit will be beautiful, but you will be there primarily to do your job, not to sight-see.

Summary

It’s hard to imagine a sport that offers as much as sailing: from peace and tranquility, to adrenalin pumping action; from enjoyment of your local surroundings, to exploring far off lands; from spending a fortune, to getting paid to do it. All of these are possibilities with sailing, and the type of sailing that you do will no doubt change with you as you move through each stage of your life. Happy Sailing!

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