Youth Sailing Forum

The Freedom of Sailing
First Place Category 1
by Michael Marshall

As a kid, my life is very controlled. At home I always have to do chores before going anywhere. Empty the dishwasher, vacuum the floor, weed the garden, make my bed - the list goes on and on. Things are even worse at school. There every minute of the day is planned for me. Teachers are always telling me when it is time to read a book, write a paper, or do some math. They even tell me when I can talk, eat lunch, or go to the bathroom. At school I have no freedom at all.

Things are very different when I am sailing by myself in my own boat. I can sail wherever the wind takes me. I can race around the harbor and under the Newport Bridge. I can zip off to Potter’s Cove, explore Rose Island, or even sail in circles if I want to. I can stay out as long as I wish. I can launch at 8 o’clock in the morning and sail until the setting sun is reflecting off the sides of boats bobbing in the mooring field. I can also make my boat go as fast as I want. I can heel until the rail is touching the water. I can hike out until my head is almost dragging in the waves and I am hanging on by only my toes. I love to get up onto a plane and zoom along with a rooster tail splashing out behind me. I love to feel the wind blowing in my face and the sensation of flying across the water as if my boat had magically sprouted wings. On my boat I am in control of everything I do. I am the king of my own little world. That is why I love to sail!

Sounds of a Boat
by Emily Ruehs

After living on a 44-foot sailboat for a year, I have begun to listen more carefully to the many sounds that a sailing boat makes. These sounds can form into music. I often “compose” this music while lying in my bunk during a nighttime passage. The rumble of the anchor, the clink of the cups in the cupboard, the thud of some books, and the loud ding of the fog horn, set off by the violin like whir of the propeller form into the catchy tune of “Rumble, clink, thud, DING! Rumble, clink thud, DING!” My habit of composing these “sailing songs” brought me to write the following poem one morning while sitting at anchor. This poem, after many revisions (made to add the new sounds) sums up one of the many joys I feel while sailing: The wild and free sounds of a boat. 

Sometimes, when you’re anchored, and the wind is just right 
You can hear the water whispering in the dim still night 
At any small wave a floorboard will creak 
The door might bang softly, water drips from a leak 
All noises are quiet, all sounds oh so soft 
As you drift off to sleep, up in your loft 
But of course, when you are sailing, there’s a whole different sound 
Peaceful, sometimes quiet, even when you wish you weren’t around 
When you’re sailing, and the boat’s rocking slightly 
It sounds like a violin with its strings pulled up tightly 
The sail might start to luff with a bang 
The fog bell might ring with a clash or a clang 
The anchor will rumble softly on deck 
The pulleys above rap with a peck, peck, peck! 
But if the wind picks up, starts to howl and cry 
The sounds of a boat are no longer shy 
The floorboards still creak not softly, but strong
And the door starts to bang as loud as a gong 
The sounds will not cease, they groan with free will 
‘Til suddenly the wind dies and all seems so still 
The sounds of the boat, so strong, yet so mild 
Seem to please the adult and the child 
For all sounds are beautiful, wild and free 
They have always been thrilling and will always be.

A Love Born Within Me
by Marisa Manriquez

When I found this opportunity to tell the world why I love sailing so much, I jumped at it! I am not the typical sixteen year old sailor whose been sailing since before they can remember and who is a fifth generation member at the yacht club. My romance with sailing began quite differently. I stumbled across the idea of sailing about a year and a half ago through a person that I will never forget but whom I will never get to thank. He got me involved in one of the most important aspects of my life. Although I began sailing only a year ago, I have always had dreams that I could not interpret of floating around the world in a sailboat, and it was not until I began to sail that I realized I had dreamt of it all my life. When I began to sail I fell in love with the speed and the beauty of the water, and the power of the wind. Getting out on the water every weekend became a humbling experience for me. I was quick to learn and soon became a crew for my high school team, St. Ignatius College Prep, and I learned to race where I was in awe of the over-agility of the sport and how much fun its challenges are. I couldn’t believe how friendly and welcoming my team members were, so much, that they have become some of my closest freinds. Even our competition became the people I ate lunch with. The winter became the most depressing four months of the year and I yearned so much to get out on Lake Michigan just so that I could blast around a couple times. I started filling my room with mini sailboats and pictures until finally the spring season came about. I hope that this essay has expressed my exitement for the sport as well as I have liked to. I think that sailing has been an increadible, unforgettable experience that was alive in me before I knew how to hike out, roll-tack, or trapeze. It’s something that I was born with, like my name, which means “woman of the sea.”