SQUARE RIGGED DREAMS
Exit Only spent several weeks at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club in
Malaysia. It's an affordable marina, and as long as you
overlook the wake from speeding ferries, you have a pleasant stay.
A small square-rigger occupied the dock immediately behinds us at
the yacht club. High up on the mast was a
crew member working on his sailing dreams. He was doing
whatever was required to keep his sailing dreams alive.
I like square-riggers because they are designed for sailing off
the wind. Although they don't perform well to windward,
that's not a problem for true mariners; it's only a temporary
inconvenience. What do I mean by that?
I'll explain. I visited a nautical museum in New Caledonia
and saw Captain Cook's track plotted on a chart for when he
was mapping the east coast of New Caledonia. Although he was
on the windward side of the island, he traveled up and down the
coast without a problem. After you examine his track, it
becomes clear how he explored the windward side of the island with
a vessel that didn't sail to windward. He simply waited for
a favorable wind to take him where he wanted to go.
Sometimes his track goes in circles, and at other times he simply
held position waiting for an opportunity to sail to his
destination. It obviously required a lot of patience and
perseverance to map the windward side of an island situated in the
trade wind belt, but Captain Cook showed that it can be done.
Square riggers may not perform well to windward, but if you aren't in a hurry, you can still get where you want to go. You
simply wait for a favorable wind shift to take you to your
I have decided that I have a square-rigged life, and I have
square-rigged dreams. I don't sail well to windward on the
ocean or in my personal life. The longer I go and the
farther I sail, the less time I spend beating myself up going
against the flow. Sailing against the wind and current does
have it's rewards, but it's doing things the long hard way.
Instead, I take my time and go with the flow. No more
fighting for me. I know that it's only a matter of time
before the wind will shift, and before long, I will be able to
sail downwind on the ocean of my dreams.
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