Sunday, February 18 , 2018, 8:28 pm | Fair 51º


Captain’s Log: Springtime Sailing a Celebration of the Season

This is the best time of year for ideal conditions — fresh breezes over calm water

Early springtime holds certain celebratory opportunities, such as taking a wildflower cruise along the Gold Coast, fishing for red snapper on the ocean or bass in the lakes, and sailing along the coast.

Sailing in a fresh wind is fun to watch and even more fun to do — slicing through small whitecaps with all hands leaning together to keep the boat upright and running free. Then a command is barked, and in a flurry of choreographed action, lines are hauled and the boat is brought daintily about on another tack with a taste of salt spray for everyone. This is a form of teamwork that sailors have enjoyed for many centuries, and it is a joy to behold. The sight from the breakwater is wet and wild.

Ragtoppers wait all year for this season when shimmering sailboats, with their brightly colored sails, go racing about on breezy afternoons. Springtime can be a windy time of year, but not just any wind will do. Strong winds, blowing over a long stretch of ocean, build seas that keep most wise sailors confined to harbor.

The best sailing situation is a fresh breeze over relatively calm water. This time of year is when we most often see ideal conditions.

It is fun to take a sailboat out and join in the festivities. Some races are impromptu romps, to see who can get to an agreed upon finish line first. Some races are to test sails or rigging against comparable boats. Some races are highly managed and organized events, such as those put on by the Santa Barbara Yacht Club. Click here to contact the club to find out more about its activities and membership.

The sailboats out there come in an amazing variety of sizes, shapes and methods of control. There are a few long, sleek racing yachts, plenty of midsize sailboats and smaller ones, plus an amazing array of personal watercraft with sails. They are all fun to watch, and you might well find yourself wanting to get in on the fun.

There are plenty of opportunities to get out on the water. If you hang out with the sailboat crowd long enough, you will find yourself crewing on boats. Join the local U.S. Power Squadron or Coast Guard Auxiliary. Both organizations have great people involved who might be able to help you get on a boat. Make friends, learn about boating and build up some trust. It goes a long way.

For those needing a quicker fix, it is easy to charter one of our private charter sailboats at the harbor. Check the phone book, use Google or ask the Waterfront Department for contact information on the sailboat charters operating under a business activity permit.

Another quick way out on the water is to buy a ticket and go aboard an open-party sailboat such as the Double Dolphin at the Santa Barbara Sailing Center or the Sunset Kidd.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >