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Sailing into the Sunset

Updated on July 27, 2012

Sailing into the Sunset

Relax and imagine for yourself an experience, a Sailing Venture with that special person in your life or perhaps in the company of good friends, to witness a brilliant display of fire in the sky, over the water at the close of day.

So what should you expect and how would you ensure it’s a good experience?

- An Experience to Remember.

Once aboard the boat as the Skipper and Crew cast off the lines from the docks, you gain a sense of anticipation. Entering into open seas, wind brushes past your cheek and through your hair; there is a faint smell of fine salt. Waves lap up against the boat and the crew hoists the sails, putting everything in motion. You look to your side to see your friend, who may also be a romantic interest. Without saying a word to each other, a blank stare is overcome by an optimistic grin. Anticipating more, the excitement continues.

The Skipper sets a course to the west in search of the Sun, which slowly turns from hot white to warm yellow. The light reflects off the water like a million liquid diamonds, sparkling. The white sails billowed by the wind are also illuminated by the light. Still gazing towards the sky, clouds drift gracefully and seagulls soar effortlessly off the shore, now farther distant. Towards the horizon, the Sun gradually slips lower in fading light.

“Red Skies at night, Sailors delight” is a traditional saying, which certainly holds true, when the entire sky is flooded by crimson and cadmium hues. An endless view in every direction reminds you of the line, “They shall splash at a ten-league canvas with brushes of comets’ hair” from the poem, “When the Earth’s Last Picture is Painted” by Rudyard Kipling. Drama is frequently infused when various clouds begin to burn, from furious flames to the purple smut of charcoal and grey of dusty ashes. You look once again to your friend with wide eyes, yet without hesitation they smile. Hopefully, you may even get a hug or a kiss.

Occasionally, two people will find a passion for sailing as well as make a commitment to each other. It is not out of the question to have a request for a Captain to take a couple out upon the water, when the world becomes a magical place of splendor and awe. Sometimes the plan is one sided and a marriage proposal is made and accepted. Sometimes the plan is confirmed when the commitment becomes official. – Will you say yes?

To ensure that your chances are favorable, to have a safe, pleasant and memorable venture, you may wish to consider sailing with an experienced Captain or Skipper and Crew. Sailors live (and die) by the weather, which unfortunately is not always your friend. A licensed captain is both educated and experienced, and should also be insured. The cost for commercial services varies depending on your location, the boat and time of travel. A skipper is more likely to be a friend or acquaintance, and does not collect a fee.

Either way, you should be given some prior instructions from the Captain or Skipper, what to bring and what not to bring. For example, if the weather is sunny, ‘wear light clothing, a hat, sunglasses and bring plenty of sun-bloc and water.’ Or, if the weather is chilly, ‘wear long pants, sweater, rain jacket, a wool cap and gloves.’ There is a big difference between fair-weather sailing and foul-weather sailing. Most ventures called ‘Daysails’ last between two to four hours. A small duffle bag or knapsack will suffice to carry your things.

Provisions, these are very important. If for some apparent reason your three hour tour goes awry, you will need some sustenance. Seriously, bring plenty of water. In the summer one person can consume up to one gallon a day. Juice or Soda makes great refreshment. Please drink responsibly if you consume alcoholic drinks, as these may affect your balance and cause dehydration. If you bring snacks, it’s amazing how everyone wants to be your friend. Consider a vegetable tray with hummus, chips and salsa, pretzels or nuts, and crackers with cheese. It’s best if things are simple to handle, and not to messy because the boat will list and food can fly.

They say, happiness is a full stomach and a short memory, but we can agree to disagree on that point. Unless you have a photographic memory, bring a camera or your smart-phone. Most devices will adjust for the brilliance of the sun as it approaches the sunset. And although you do not want to be late, when the boat departs, try to be flexible as you may need to reschedule if foul-weather thwarts your plans.

And if for some wonderful reason, everyone would like to sail a bit longer to watch the Moonrise, enjoy the reflections.

We will see you on the water, Lance

Author - Lance Fairbanks, Captain with Great Salt Lake Experience, Utah, USA
He has over 3,000 nautical miles on the Great Salt Lake, Racing & Cruising.

Founder of Rogue/Riders, Safety Advocate for Foul Weather Sailing,
Competence by Experience

He is also a Trustee of the Great Salt Lake Yacht Club 1877-2012,
Sailing Now 135 Years

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