Considering a sailing adventure to Mexico? Just look at how engrossed that guy is in the book! Grab a copy of the Unauthorized Guide to Sailing in Mexico, and you too can find yourself sitting on a Mexican dock with an oversized (but very attractive) hat.

Unauthorized Guide to Sailing in Mexico

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yeah, sailing really is pretty cool

Starboard tack into the sunrise. Click to enlarge.Lately I've become a cynical mariner. There's an idea that excitement about a topic is inversely related to one's knowledge of that topic. It happens frequently on the water, and goes something like this:

Boy meets boat, boy falls in love. Boy sails boat and realizes the boat, the sea, or both, suck. Boy is left wondering where his sailing dreams went to and slinks away discouraged.

Many things about living on the water can be correctly put onto a piece of paper that has "Pains In My Ass" written on top of it. Jimmy Buffet never sings about replacing head plumbing or walking all over a third world town looking for a bolt. 

Hopefully I'll be an ASA instructor this summer, taking my training course in the spring. To that end I found myself auditing a 101 class this past Saturday. With four students in the cockpit of a Hunter 28, I was in the amazing position of either helping them along on their maritime journey or screwing them up by being a crappy (assistant) instructor. Needing to ditch the cynicism and fill my mind with unabashed enthusiasm, I thought back to a night on a 32 Ericson heading south east from the Channel Islands, maybe forty miles offshore. 

Bioluminescent algae in a boat's wake. Click to enlarge.The night was clear, the swell virtually non existent, and I was on watch alone while my friends slept below. The new moon cast no light and I held the drifter sheet directly in my hand, no winches or blocks to get in the way. 

Bioluminescent algae left a trail of sparkles in the water behind us as the few knots of wind pulled our light displacement hull across the black water. 

That night, and others like it, are what make sailing so special to me. Most of our world is water. It's where our ancestors came from, and for every American their not-too-distant relatives crossed an ocean, probably by sail, to be here. Much of our language, the most powerful of storms, countless traditions, and the very substance that allows us to live on this planet is water.

And in that raw and simple world of water on a spinning planet, wind is generated by the unequal heating and cooling from the sun. Sailboats go beyond a mechanism of travel and leisure. They are quite simply a device that connects us with the purest and most raw origins of our world. It is no wonder that sailing vessels inspire art ranging from haikus to towering sculptures that dominate a skyline. 

I suppose I'm still pretty jaded about a lot of things on the water, but I've seen and continue to see too many wonderful things and meet great people. I suppose when all that stops I will to.

Reader Comments (2)

Beautifully written. Really. I've thought this stuff while sailing, but you said it better. And I've got a degree in writing. ;)

February 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHadley Earabino

That is an *amazing* picture -- I've never seen it captured so well! Were you using some fancy schmansy photography equipment, or did you just get lucky?? I would love to take a picture like that :)

s/v Brio

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeah

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