I think there’s probably something in a sailing rule book somewhere that says you’re not a real sailor unless you have a favorite point of sail.
But to be honest with you, up until now, my favorite point of sail has been whatever got me to our destination the fastest and easiest. And, most often, that has been the engine, since it’s rare we get winds so perfect we can sail comfortably and quickly to our destination. Which, at times, causes me to wonder why we’re not motor-boat owners. Gas prices. That’s probably why.
In any case, we decided to do some sailing just for fun, after spending a few days at the crowded anchorage at Big Major Spot, near Staniel Cay, and thought it would be nice to skip north (a little unorthodox to backtrack, but why not?) to see the underwater Sea Aquarium at O’Brien’s Cay. And with the winds in our favor, we were able to just relax and enjoy the ride, rather than treat our boat like the transport mule we often think of her as.
And the weirdest thing happened… we set the sails for a broad reach and sailed almost all the way to O’Brien’s before I said to Ryan, “This point of sail… what is it? It might just be my favorite point of sail.”
The seas were calm, Jimmy Buffett was playing on our portable stereo, the cats had found their perches under the dodger and we were moving along at 5.5 knots with no engine.
Ryan said, “Yeah, this is pretty nice. But a beam reach would be even better. Less roll.”
And I thought about that for a while.
“But this is really, really nice,” I said. “The wind is just…perfect. If I ever had a favorite point of sail, this is it. Does that mean I can finally call myself a sailor?”
This question hung in the air as heavy as the hesitation I had about sailing around the world back in October.
“You can call yourself a sailor if you like,” Ryan said. “But a beam reach is nicer.”
“Well, I think I can say this broad reach thing we’ve got going here is my favorite,” I said. “This is the nicest this boat has sailed since we left Fort Lauderdale. For sure.”
Ryan wasn’t going to argue with that. After all, having a favorite point of sail surely meant I had finally fallen in love with sailing. As in, I had fallen in love with the act of sailing without a care as to what our destination might be. I was starting to care less about arrival times the longer we lived on the water. There was no turning back from here.
Even if a beam reach was better than a broad reach, in Ryan’s mind, it didn’t matter. His wife was finally hooked.
What’s the best point of sail? Whatever she says.
Yeah, mon. Don’t argue with the lady.
To see photos of where we sailed on a broad reach from, visit Turf to Surf’s Photo Album of Staniel Cay and Big Major Spot.