The Joy of Sailing

January 5, 2015 by becca.lazar No Comments

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Casting off from Mylor Harbour and sailing out into Falmouth Bay is one of life’s great pleasures. The feeling of escape associated with the slow shrinking of land into the distance, is like nothing any land-dwelling activity can offer. Sailboats conjure up romantic visions: blossoming sails arching in the wind or silhouettes of boats against the fading sun at dusk make it easy to think about chucking it all in and heading off into foreign seas.

In reality though, a sailboat is a few tons of fibreglass and steel you do need a little bit of skill to operate. We have a boat in our family. What started off as Dad’s little retirement project quickly became a family affair: he’s the skipper and we’re the crew, mostly. There have been some epic adventures around the Rock of Gibraltar and there have been many a leisurely day spent cruising the Carrick Roads and Helford River. There have also been the days where I’ve nearly run us aground cruising up the river, paying too much attention to the wind direction instead of the depth gauge.

My favourite part of sailing is pushing the boat as fast it will go. Essentially making a boat go at speed means trimming the sails so they are the right shape and angle for the wind that’s pushing across them. There are a variety of ways of controlling the sails: bending the mast, flattening the sail bottom to make it curve and hook the wind or a billion other things. But the best thing is that you are reacting to the environment around you and harnessing its power. It makes you feel awake, alive and in tune with your surroundings.

Sailing involves so much more than just understanding how a boat uses the wind to move through water. Sailing requires a certain appreciation for what’s around you. If you don’t respect whatever amount of water you’re sailing in, whether it’s a pond, river, lake, or ocean, nature will not be nice just for you. The trick to treating your surrounds with respect while sailing is to constantly stay vigilant so that if the wind begins to shift, you can stay on top of it and alter your course accordingly so that you aren’t caught off guard later. Of course, it’s not hard to keep your eyes peeled when you are surrounded by such beautiful views.

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At Cornish Holiday Cottages, one of the joys we take from boating is the opportunity it gives us to connect as a family. There’s no TV or internet out at sea, there’s no mobile phone signal. There’s just us and none of the daily clutter that widens the gap between us. Some of the most memorable parts of sailing as a family are of us drifting, sail down, as we tuck into lunch under the sun, nothing but the sound of the waves lapping at the hull and the lulling rock of the boat.

Boat ownership has allowed us to avoid the holiday throngs of Falmouth in August, too. While most were fighting through the street traffic during the Tall Ships weekend we were at sea, racing the ships, drawing up alongside them and, later on, admiring their hulls, anchor down, with a bottle of Prosecco, celebrating a birthday.

If you’re keen to get some sailing in yourself whilst in your Cornish holiday cottage, there are many places you can charter a yacht or get involved in a sailing course. Falriver.co.uk have a pretty good guide for boat hire.

There’s not only boat hiring though, for those of you wanting your first foray on the waters, there’s the Mylor Sailing School, who offer introductory courses, helping you to get afloat.

Or if you really fancy a treat why not go for a trip on a beautiful old sailing boat, Pinuccia is owned by the Tresanton Hotel in St Mawes and runs half or full day sails from May to September (photographed at the top).

 

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