16 and Flying High!

Sailing is my life…for now and for the foreseeable future.

A couple of weeks ago I turned 16.  This is a milestone year for kids everywhere.  At 16, we gain a higher level of independence.  We can drive…without our parents in the car.  We can choose where we go and when.  We can expand our horizons and meet new people all while learning what this world has to offer our young and expressive lives!

So I turned 16.  I got my license…I went sailing!

While there is so much to love and be excited about being 16, I have to say that the biggest thrill of all is being on the water sailing a fast boat!  Most people equate sailing with old people sitting on their yacht with a glass of wine while they reach across the shoreline.

 THIS IS NOT SAILING!  At least not for any of us who have found the truth.

When I sail, I like to sail fast…Faster than the wind that is blowing me across the water!  I like to fly.  By fly I am referring to going fast, but when I think of flying I also like to get above the water and haul.  Sometimes I am only inches from the water, catching spray in my face, up my nose and in my ears.  Sometimes I can be so high above the water that I can literally pass above a coachboat or someone on their Laser…All while soaring faster than the wind!

On the freeway, I can open it up in my car and go fast.  But I am inside a massive steel and aluminum structure designed to isolate me from the danger…from the thrill of the speed.  On the water, I am open and exposed.  There is nothing blocking the beauty of nature, the risk of the hazards or the cold of the water…On the water there is nothing between me and the raw power of the sea, the wind or the sun.  On the water, I am one with the speed.  I am fast!

As I get my Viper F16 ready to sail, I think about what I am going to experience.  The pressure of the wind.  The heavy loads on the sheets.  The strain of the tiller.  I imagine the speed heading up wind.  How quickly can I get up on a plane?  How long can I fly a hull through a tack?  Can I keep it up down wind?  Will I stuff a bow and be catapulted across the bay?  I feel the wind in my face, the water pelting my lips.  I smell the breeze and taste the salt.  I am ready to get on the water and fly!

Walking the boat down the beach is like agony and excitement all rolled into one…It is like Christmas morning when I was little and could not wait to see what was left under the tree by the guy in red!  I am so excited, so anxious, so happy.  My feet touch the water and it is like the first time I ever stepped into the sea.  I am so close to flying and yet still so far from leaving the beach…

As I climb onto the tramp and put the dagger boards in the trunks, and lower one rudder then the next.  Scull down just a little to gain some pressure in the sails…POW, I am flying! In breeze of 18 knots many boats will not, can not leave the beach.  I can fly across the water at over 20 knots in 18!  The wind pressure feels over 40 knots, yes there is a slight windchill at these speeds.  The water is flowing by me so fast that it is just a blur.  When it hits my face it feels like stones being thrown by the Ocean floor.  The feelings I have at this moment can’t be compared to anything else in life.  I am in control of my destiny, I command the speed, I turn the wind into power and the sea into a road…I am a sailor and I am flying!

Flying Downwind in Long Beach

Sailing is my life…I love my life!

Go sailing today…

Help me to win Olympic Gold in Rio2016!