Recently, Tillerman of Proper Course issued a “writing project” to complete his Top 10 list of best places to sail with one of your own. The challenge was open ended, the destination could be a favorite vacation spot, local secret, or anything in between. When I first read it, I thought “we haven’t really sailed anywhere too exciting” (though our first attempt was fairly exciting in itself even without an exotic destination.) But then I realized that I did have the answer to his question. What is the best sailing destination? It’s wherever your boat is floating right now.
Don’t get me wrong here, I’m sure that there are much preferable places to sail a boat than the Illinois River, or some little lake by where you live. But isn’t the point of sailing to just be on the water? Anywhere? To throw off the lines and feel the wind in your face, even if it isn’t tinged with sea salt? Is the joy of the water dependent on the type of sand beneath it? I certainly don’t think so.
We are just beginning our journey to start our lives as cruisers and we still have a long way to go. We’re never going to learn to sail unless we go sailing, and if that means getting our feet wet in the muddy river with a channel hardly wide enough for decent tacking so be it. Sure we’re looking forward to the white sand beaches and trade winds in the future, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have some amazing days of sailing right where we are, enjoying the same sun setting below the distant horizon.
Those far off destinations might be fantastic, but you have to start wherever your boat is right now… you certainly won’t get there by sitting in front of a computer screen thinking about how nice it would be to be staring down at crystal clear waters in the Bahamas. White sand beaches, crystal clear water, and the trandwinds at your back beat a muddy river any day… just don’t forget that sailing in a muddy river beats sitting at home any day. Where’s the best place to go sailing? Right where you are.
Follow your dreams. Follow the Horizon.