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Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 4:07 pm | Fair 69º


Captain’s Log: Springtime Makes Sailing a Breeze

The boats are fun to watch, and you might find yourself wanting to get out on one

Sailboats are so cool, 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 form of teamwork has been enjoyed by sailors for centuries. 

“Ragtoppers” wait all year for this season, when shimmering sailboats and 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’s fun to take a sailboat out and join in the festivities. Some races are impromtu 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 the “Wet Wednesday” events hosted by the Santa Barbara Yacht Club. Contact the club for more information about its activities and membership.

Those 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 find yourself wanting to get in on the fun.

Numerous opportunities exist for getting 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, Google them 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 the open-party sailboats such as the Double Dolphin from the Sail Center or call 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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