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 softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.

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