This article reposted [with small edits] from the August 2018 edition of the 48 North Sailing Magazine, written by SBYC member, Ben Lobaugh. If you are interested in participating in the 2019 Salish Sails event contact Ben.
On a sunny Saturday in early July, a new sailing event took flight – the inaugural Salish Sails day. The event, inspired by 48 North, was designed in partnership with local yacht clubs with the purpose of getting new folks out on the water to experience the joy of sailing. Both racing and cruising were available for those interested.
I was honored to host seven people on my boat, S/V Billabong. We cast off lines from Shilshole Bay Marina with beautiful skies, big mountains, and moderate winds. I love taking people out on their first sail and seeing the wonder and enjoyment in their eyes as they learn how to steer and trim sails in an exquisite dance with nature. I also delight in their laughter as they try to master a language that exists only in the boating world.
Though we started with a southerly, the wind shifted around to come from the north and put us on a direct path to Kingston. One sailor, Bennett, was an old school racer who came to reignite his own passion. He also brought his girlfriend on her first sailing trip. She keenly observed, as he pointed out the various lines, cleats, and other contraptions on the boat and explained how and why they worked. She handily stepped up and both trimmed the sails and helmed like a natural born sailor. I think I see a boat in their future!
Nathalie, Billabong’s mainsail trimmer during races, brought a friend along and during a lull in the wind they repeatedly dove off the back of the boat into the chilly waters of Puget Sound. They swear it was refreshing and not cold at all, but I have my doubts! My wife, Alix, brought along a friend who had been wanting to try sailing for some time. They had a delightful time getting the boat moving and then relaxing in the sun on the fore-deck.
After a couple hours of indulgence, we tacked toward Shoreline. The wind came and the sails were nice and full. Bennet wanted to give his girlfriend the full experience, so she took the helm and we hardened up to get 20 degrees of heel. She helmed like a pro.
We had over four hours of magnificent sailing and inspired four new sailors to join our world of sailing! I am already looking forward to participating in, and growing, next years Salish Sails event!