This week I got confirmation of my registration for my Sailing Certification course in the San Juan Islands at the end of March. It is my goal to be able to charter a sailboat for Sarah and I to cruise together at least once per year. This year I will be going twice!
This past June we spent seven days aboard a 35 foot Jeanneau sailboat with another couple who have over 30 years of sailing experience in the San Juans. Martin and Carolyn were so kind in teaching us the ropes of sailing. We both enjoyed the trip immensely and I fell completely in love with the idea of learning how to do it myself so I can better support my friend when we cruise together.
I have always loved sailboats. My father has a hand colored photograph of a sailboat he photographed down in LA before I was born. My aunt and uncle are both members of the Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club and I have always enjoyed spending time with them when the boats come in from the Trans Pac race. One year I was there during a junior sailing world cup event. Young sailors from around the world came to San Pedro to compete outside the breakwater in these tiny bathtub sized Opti boats. They were managing the rudder, sail, and bailing water out all at the same time!
Back in the day when we had a 52″ television for projecting portraits for clients we would watch Dennis Conner’s compete for the America’s Cup. Everything about sailing fascinates me. There was always just one problem… I live in the Inland Northwest.
I have gone sailing a few times with friends on lakes around here. One time I took my then 8 year old son on a friends sailboat on Lake Pend Oreille on a Wednesday afternoon and then had him on top of the Empire State building the very next night!
Years ago I was in Rockport Maine where I watched a wooden sailboat get launched. I ran into that same boat in San Francisco two years later. The owner had hired a crew to sail it through the panama canal to bring it up to the coast of California. The Lynx was based out of Newport Beach but was visiting San Francisco on the day I had decided to go on a charter cruise in the bay. It was exhilarating to be keeled over at 8 knots as we passed under the Golden Gate bridge. The captain told us that if we had any more wind he would have had to drop the sail for safety reasons. We were right on the edge.
In our week around the San Juan’s we only had one day of that kind of speed. We were cruising until suddenly there was a crash of dishes in the cabin below. One of the cabinet doors had sprung open. We had to turn into the wind to slow down and clean up the mess.
The San Juan’s are a really spectacular location for sailing but also some of the toughest waters to navigate due to competing currents flushing in from the north and south. Fortunately it sits in a rain shadow and there is plenty of sunshine most summers.
I will have to spend a lot of time studying for the written exams before I go so you may get a few more frequent posts about sailing in the coming weeks and months. Winter dreams will soon turn into Spring adventures.