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Sailing is freedom

by Mark Jardine 22 Jun 2020 22:00 BST
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers became airborne under spinnaker © Frank Quealey

It would seem that 'The Great Grass Roots Revival?' and 'Messing about in boats' had quite an impact. With my own eyes I could see what was happening on my doorstep with more activity on the water than I've seen in years, but this was just the microcosm that I live in. Was this being replicated worldwide? The feedback I've had points to an unequivocal 'Yes'!

Amongst the many fantastic emails and messages I've received, it was great to hear from Matt in Vancouver, British Columbia who has enjoyed getting out on the water in his wooden clinker sailboat, his old windsurfer and is trying to master foiling on a kiteboard. He totally related to the articles, reporting that Canadian wind junkies are out in force.

From the USA, Nevin wrote that he hadn't windsurfed in the last few years as he'd found it easier to kitesurf and kite hydrofoil, but windsurf freeride hydrofoiling has changed all that. A whole generation of past windsurfers and a new generation of young sailors are out on the water. What's really interesting was hearing that the same kids are sailing O'pen Skiffs half the time. A watersports lifestyle isn't, and shouldn't be, restricted to one discipline. We can all mess about in or on any type of boat or board.

Racing returns in novel forms

The last couple of weeks have seen something we've had a distinct lack of in the past few months: event reports! Reading about the MC38 class enjoying their Winter racing in Sydney Harbour, the Sprint 15 class starting a Time Trial Series on the Isle of Wight and David Schmidt's insightful conversation with Jason Andrews and Shawn Dougherty about the Salish 200 all showed how we're adapting around the world to our local situation and current rules.

Technology has played its part in allowing people to get out on the water in a socially distanced manner. The RYA reviewed Sailing Apps, David Schmidt chatted with Kevin Morin about MarkSetBots, self-propelled and GPS-guided racing marks which can significantly ease the workload for Race Committees, and cloud-based service SailEvent being repurposed for leisure sailing.

Loving the water and the team

Our Australian editor John Curnow is an avid reader of everything that happens on and in the water, summing up the great diversity nicely, "One of the greatest things about being involved with Sail-World.com is the way the team binds, and the differences add to a greater whole. Over the journey, David Schmidt, our North American Editor, has regaled us with wonderful tales about the way things went down on memorable sails. Our Managing Editor, Mark Jardine, has so eloquently captured both the joy of sailing, and the way that grass roots sailing is going to bring us back to the water. Messing about in boats received global appreciation, and justly so, for it was about inclusion, possibility, real camaraderie, and acknowledgement for what the water brings to us.

"In Australia racing has had the gel applied to the defibrillator paddles, it's been charged, applied and is now gradually coming back to life. Mark has used his Frankenlaser, windsurfer and taken his sons out on the RS Feva since being unshackled from lockdown. I am also looking forward to getting out on the water once more, although my first forays are going to be aboard some great powerboats, including being unleashed on the new X50R from our friends at Maritimo. Fitted with brand new screws just last week I am definitely keen to see what the 'R' adds to the X50, which we ran from Lake Macquarie to Pittwater about this time last year."

Following on from John's comments I asked David Schmidt to tell me what sailing means to him, and was truly moved by his response, "Sailing is freedom, a chance to be on the water, with friends and in nature, and to be part of humankind's grand experiment with exploration and adventure. And for us racing sailors, it's a great opportunity to work together as a team (or as a singlehander) and try like hell to beat the other guys in as gentlemanly a fashion as possible."

Happy Hour

Stretch and Stirfry continue to chat with sailing celebrities, Olympians and legends of our sport, most recently with Peter Morton aka 'Morty', Andy Beadsworth, Hamish Pepper, Victor Diaz de Leon, Abby Ehler, Terry Hutchinson and Vasco Vascotto. I highly recommend listening to them all!

I'm incredibly lucky to work with the team I do on Sail-World.com and YachtsandYachting.com and share their enthusiasm for being on the water, but equally blessed to have so many contributors and readers who share their articles, race reports and comments with me each and every day. Thank you.

Mark Jardine
Sail-World.com & YachtsandYachting.com Managing Editor

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