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Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3

by Mark Jardine 13 Apr 2020 14:00 PDT
The view from Hurst Castle during the Round the Island Race 2019 © Mark Jardine

Under normal circumstances the Easter long weekend sees many sailing events worldwide, but 2020 is by no means normal. It seems particularly cruel in the UK after a horrendous couple of months at the beginning of the year, with weekend after weekend of named storms cancelling nearly all racing, that we've had sunshine and some great breezes, but no way to get out on the water to enjoy it.

Just a month ago the 18ft Skiff JJ Giltinan Championship was under way on Sydney Harbour - an event which was curtailed by three days as lockdowns started around the globe.

My Easters have previously been filled with Spi Ouest Regattas on the Bay of Quiberon in France, RORC Easter Challenges in Cowes, local club sailing at Keyhaven and just taking the kids out for a sail. This year it was running along the beach and gardening...

But in the scheme of things sailing isn't the focus right now. Staying at home to save lives and help protect our heroic front-line workers is. Our yachts and dinghies are rightly on their moorings or in the dinghy parks, ready to sail another day.

It's that 'sail another day' I'd like to focus on. It's sometimes all too easy to be too busy to go for a sail - be that work, family commitments, a spot of DIY, the forecast, or just feeling tired after a long week - but we all know that once we're out there we're grateful that we went.

An enforced absence can often help us appreciate things that we take for granted, and this moment of reflection will hopefully result in us discarding the excuse not to go sailing in the future, and truly appreciating just how lucky that our pastime gets us out on the sea.

I've often been asked what it is that attracts me to sailing, and I truly believe it has to be the sport's diversity. From the locations we can visit to the range of boats we can sail, you can do it individually or as a team and choose sedate cruising or high-speed foiling (and absolutely everything in between).

As sailors we can sail on a tiny lake or cross the widest ocean, but every single one of us is using the same physics to drive our boat forwards and make the most of the wind available. Sailing can be enjoyed from the time we learn to walk until well into old age, be that for fun or at a competitive level. I cannot think of any other pastime which could possibly give us all of this.

This is the time where we learn to not take sailing for granted.

You'll be hearing from's Australian Editor John Curnow next week, where he'll be following up on his wildly successful story of the X2, the Farr Yacht Design 30-footer working in conjunction with Bret Perry's Hyperform Yachting.

In the meantime John had this to say on what he's seen in the marine community: "I think it is wonderful to see sailors adapt so well, for example getting into eSailing. The 'In Conversation' interviews with the likes of Pat Langley, Steve Cockerill, Jon Partridge and Andy Rice have been inspiring. All the boat bimblers have supplied wonderful tales, and then the online education initiatives, such as the webinar by North Sails for all Etchells on Tuesday or Wednesday this week, depending on your time zone. Yes, it is not only the ability to adapt, improvise and conquer that is wonderful to see, but the level of inclusion and contribution by the entire sailing community that remains so positive. Cheers to you all."

Following in a sometime tradition of John's, I've chosen a song as the title of this newsletter - Ian Dury and the Blockheads 'Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3' contains the lyrics: "Summer, Buddy Holly, the working folly, Good golly, Miss Molly and boats". Let's all continue to remember our reasons to be cheerful and ensure that we make the most of our boats when we can get back out on the water.

Make sure your sailing kit is ready and you have everything you need for that great day.

We've published some truly superb stories this week - be sure to browse through the summaries below and take a look!

Take care & stay safe.

Mark Jardine & Managing Editor

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