Please select your home edition
Edition
Lloyd Stevenson Catalyst 45 728x90px2 TOP

Messing about in boats

by Mark Jardine 8 Jun 2020 07:00 PDT
American Brad Funk making the most of the Australian sunshine at the 2019 Chandler Macleod Moth Worlds © Martina Orsini

"Believe me my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats," says Ratty to Mole in the classic novel 'The Wind in the Willows'.

All sailors have discovered this to be true, but then many of us got wrapped up in windward / leeward racing, trying to gain the miniscule speed advantage over our peers, concentrating on a tell-tale rather than soaking in our surroundings.

Don't get me wrong, I'm missing the racing hugely, but I'm loving just messing about in boats, be that my Laser, crewing for my kids in the RS Feva, pottering in a Scow or, as I did this Saturday, windsurfing from Mudeford in Christchurch harbour. My kit is 20 years old at least, and my forearms burned from lactic acid build up far too quickly, but blasting up and down at 25+ knots really was a lot of fun.

What I was struck by was the sheer number of windsurfers out and the camaraderie of all those on the water. Until late in 2019 I hadn't windsurfed for at least 12 years, and there seem to be many other people who have dusted off their boards to reconnect with the sport. Many of my generation were introducing windsurfing to their kids and a surprising number were sailors that I knew, so we all had a great socially-distanced catch-up. When I parked my car, I found myself next to the van of Simon Maguire, builder of the legendary Exocet Moths, who was out with a wingfoil on a foiling board (naturally). Encouragingly, he said business had been picking up rapidly recently with more people than ever wanting to buy boats.

Chatting with Sail-World.com Australian editor John Curnow today, he reminded me of Mitch Pearson's article about windfoiling on Moreton Bay at the end of March. Around the globe people are rediscovering the joys of windsurfing, be that on old kit or newer versions of the sport.

Should sailboat racing be concerned by the sudden uptake in windsurfing? No, not at all! Saturday had winds regularly gusting 30 knots, so it really wasn't a day to be responsibly sailing. Christchurch harbour is enclosed, shallow enough to touch the bottom in most places and so the ideal spot to be enjoying the water during lockdown. Plus, when I went down to my local sailing club on a far less breezy Sunday, the number of boats going out for a sail was simply staggering. It seems the great grass-roots revival is happening.

Inherently during lockdown I'm only seeing with my own eyes what's happening on my doorstep. It's hugely encouraging, but I'd love to know what's happening at your local sailing club. Are you seeing more people going out for a casual sail? Is windsurfing making a comeback in your area? Send me your stories, photos, videos and experiences so that we can share our love for sailing and inspire more people to get out on the water. Email me via mark@yachtsandyachting.com and please mention who took any photos you send, together with a caption.

Monday 8th June is World Oceans Day. The environment has been brought up repeatedly during lockdown and it's more important than ever that we respect the seas in which we sail. In the UK it has been shocking to see the rubbish that is left by beachgoers. While educating everyone to take their trash home with them is key, we as sailors can make a difference by spending an hour or so collecting rubbish on our beaches to keep them clean. My great friend and past editor of Yachts & Yachting magazine, Gael Pawson, wrote a superb article for us last year which you can read here.

Stay safe on the water, respect our oceans, fellow sailors and water users, help keep our beaches clean and go enjoy messing about in boats!

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

Related Articles

A Q&A with Mark Wheeler on the 2021 J/111 Worlds
An interview with Mark Wheeler on the 2021 J/111 Worlds Sail-World checked in with Mark Wheeler, regatta chairman of the 2021 J/111 Worlds, via email, to learn more about this One Design championship. Posted on 14 Oct
Spain SailGP debriefing, U.S. Youth Championship
Latest newsletter from Sail-World's David Schmidt in the USA While early October is always a great time for racing in North America, last week's sailing news cycle was dominated by the Spain SailGP event, which unfurled off Cadiz, Spain, on the country's southwest coast. Posted on 12 Oct
Jumbos rule
B&G gave us Nemesis, and this was a pretty cool piece of kit indeed. Not all the world's jumbos got retired and parked in the Arizona desert at the beginning of 2020. Boeing's venerable bus had served us all - so, so well… Later on that same year, B&G, gave us Nemesis, and this was a pretty cool piece of kit indeed. Posted on 10 Oct
Nancy Pearson and Buttons Padin on the Viper640 NA
David Schmidt checks in with the event co-chair and class administrator Sail-World checked in with Nancy Pearson and Ed “Buttons” Padin, event co-chair of the 2021 Viper 640 North American Championship and Viper 640 Class Administrator (respectively), via email, to learn more about this One Design regatta. Posted on 5 Oct
What's happening in America's Cup land?
Like it or not, it is the pinnacle event in yachting A lot is written about the America's Cup, and a huge amount of it is speculation. Like it or not, it is the pinnacle event in yachting, and for those who try to win it, it becomes an all-consuming obsession. Posted on 4 Oct
Hinman Trophy, offshore sailing, and Mini Transat
Summer may have handed the baton off to autumn, but the sailing scene hasn't been cooling off Summer may have handed the baton off to autumn, but that certainly doesn't mean that the sailing scene has been cooling off in North America, at least not yet. This past weekend gave the sailing world multiple great events to follow and participate in. Posted on 28 Sep
Hooray for the hundredth!
Here is our card to the J/99, which will soon enough have 100 vessels sailing all around the world. Now if you're a British subject that means you get a letter from HRH QEII. If you're French, maybe you get one from President Macron. Certainly POTUS does to US citizens. Posted on 26 Sep
James Keen on the Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge
An interview with James Keen on the 2021 Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge I checked in with James Keen, chairman of the 2021 Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge, via email, to learn more about this exciting regatta. Posted on 23 Sep
Square peg, round hole. Round peg, square hole.
One thing is pretty clear with fluid dynamics. Smooth and flowing wins the day. If you think about fluid dynamics for just a second, one thing is pretty clear. Smooth and flowing wins the day. Posted on 23 Sep
Mixing it up
A few sailing events which are a bit 'out of the norm' As we head towards the end of September, I've been thinking about which events, and days out sailing, have been the most fun this year. There are a few to choose from, and overall it's been a good year for time on the water. Posted on 21 Sep
RS Sailing 2021 - FOOTERCoast Guard Foundation FOOTER 1Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW FOOTER