Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sailing Is The Ultimate Sport

My brother-in-law took me out sailing again on the labour day weekend. This was my third time sailing with him (or anybody else) so I am starting to get used to the craziness surrounding sailing.

Before I knew Josh I had never really thought much of sailing. Despite living along Lake Ontario I just assumed that the sailboats out on the lake were merrily putting along having a grand ol’ time. My knowledge of sailing was limited to what the bible says and what I saw when I went for a walk along the lake. As with most things that you never deal with, there is so much more to it than you think. Now that I have done it and seen real racing sailboats I can say that I have a lot of respect for the sailors who race these small boats throughout the world. The guys who race have got to be slightly insane. They are travelling so fast on a vast, unpredictable course while relying solely on the wind. Some of the crashes rival Formula 1 and NASCAR. The boats can actually flip ass over tea kettle and the sailors get thrown way off the boats. It definitely has an element of insanity but its cool to watch.

A while ago, Tim wrote about luge and how it shouldn’t really be considered a sport. I couldn’t agree more but now that I have tried sailing I would vote sailing to be the ultimate sport. To be good you have to be athletic and smart. There is so much to know in the world of sailing. You have to know how to read the wind and water and know all the different types of sails and how they work. You have to be able to do multiple things at the same time and you have to do them fast or you will capsize.

It also takes a fair amount of energy to keep the boat going at a good speed. You have to ‘go out on the wire’ and pull on various ropes to keep the sails full. And you have to hold the rudder straight. I am just getting started and if Josh was explaining it this would turn into a full length text book.

The last thing I want to say is that there isn’t much that comes close to the thrill of flying across the water while hanging off the edge of the boat with nothing but a wire attached to the mast holding you. It is also amazing that it is only the wind that is moving you so it is pretty quiet. I have never been on a small motorboat but I bet it can’t even come close to that kind of thrill.
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