Tales From The Seas: Sailboats, Skippers & Cocktails
By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com Blogger
A friend of mine – let’s call her Jane – was all excited.
She had just met a skipper who invited her to go sailing. While Jane had been around boats, she had actually never been on a sailboat.
The skipper promised a sail from one Los Angeles marina to another, lunch at a dockside restaurant and a sail back to the home base. It sounded romantic and exciting, a perfect way to spend a sunny day in L.A.
Yet when I finished explaining what sailing from one harbor to another entailed – for instance, that this was no quick jaunt and it would take up most of the afternoon – Jane nearly ripped her emotions off the mooring.
So it dawned on me that while sailing is great and can indeed be fun, novices need to know what they are in for when they leave the dock.
This is especially useful for single girls whom, like the cheerfully unsuspecting Jane, get invited on board by a skipper who may be looking to have a ball, and not necessarily one attached to a mooring.
So here’s five things every novice should know about going sailing.
Don’t Be Scared, But Be Prepared
1.) Sailing Is A Multi-Hour Adventure
This is something that really surprised my friend. Sailboats move slow, achingly slow if you’ve ever been on a powerboat. It takes hours to go very short distances. Rarely do you go out for less than two hours, and four to five is more common.
2.) Sailing Can Be Cold, Even On Sunny Days
Always – always – dress warmly when going on a sailboat. You can have on shorts and a t-shirt, but have with you long pants, a sweatshirt and even a waterproof jacket.
Being on the water can be cool, even on warm and sunny days. There’s the breeze (which sometimes is a big wind), water sprays over the side and there’s even the occasional big splash if seas get choppy.
Sailing can be cold and again, you’re out there for several hours.
3.) There’s A Lot Of Drinking On Sailboats
Sailboats and drinking go together like sand and the shoreline. Be it margaritas, boat drinks (rums and juices), beers or wine, know that when someone says “let’s go sailing,” that’s really mariner’s talk meaning “we’re going to be drinking all day on a floating platform.”
4.) Sailing Can Be Boring (Thus, The Drinking)
Much of sailing involves sitting in a small area. And that’s pretty much it. There’s no TV, no event or activities happening around you and in fact nobody else around you. Sure you can see the occasional sealife and that’s cool but mostly, you’re just sitting in one place.
And yes, it can get boring. You’re basically sitting in a tub doing nothing. That’s why people eat cheese and crackers and drink a lot because it gives them something to do when they are sailing.
5.) Be Prepared For A Longer Sail Than Planned
Any seasoned sailor will always tell you that you need to expect the best but prepare for the worst. That’s why you see them loading up the boat with enough provisions as if they are preparing for a dirty weekend, even on day sails.
As mentioned above, the conditions on the water can change quickly and a simple, quiet day can suddenly become an adventure. Granted, these things are rare, but you must know they can and do exist.
Bonus: Sailing Can Be A Blast With A Lot Of Friends
Your best bet as a novice is to go sailing with a group of friends.
With all that drinking going on, you’re soon laughing and swapping funny stories and you’re doing it on the water, which at times like this can be better even than being than doing it by the water.
And that’s something even Jane could appreciate.