by Roland Nikles


We will not speak of motoring from Point Wilson, past Partridge Bank, to the San Juan Channel in order to arrive at our destination in five hours. We leave this to trawlers. We will not speak of furling the genoa because we wish to go where the wind blows from. And we will not speak of starting the engine when the wind is fickle and light. These are not modes of sailing. In a warm breeze we stand on the high side and watch with wonder as the boat ploughs balanced to windward across whitecapped seas. We concentrate and adapt to ever-changing conditions. Patience is tried as the sea flattens and the boat ghosts along. Shins are bruised as the wind kicks up and we wrestle a reef into the mainsail and change jibs. We plan for currents, plot our progress on charts. The compass light glows red at night. We listen and peer as we navigate through fog. Arriving late at our anchorage we pirouette into the wind, drop anchor and back the mainsail. We clean up. Exhausted. Cook a meal. That is the cruising mode of sailing.

One Design Racing

Four o’clock Wednesday. Race day. There is a stir of activity on Thunderbird row on A-dock.  Sail covers are folded away, genoa and spinnaker sheets are led through their blocks. Tiller extensions are clipped fast.