In a Scuttlebutt newsletter back in March there was an article by Glenn McCarthy arguing that the decline in sailing over the last 40 years is because it isn't as much fun as it used to be. He says that the sport is striving too much for perfection, crew are under pressure to perform their duties well on board, even sailing clothing has to reflect a businesslike atmosphere, and after sailing folk run off home as if they were leaving work. He makes a plea to "bring on the rowdy, raunchy, loud, hysterical, crazy pranks, shenanigans, hoot and hollers, in anyway and every way you can." He wants to convert sailing back into a really fun time.
He's right of course.
What's the point of doing something like sailing if you're not having fun?
It's not supposed to be like work.
But who are these people who go sailing and never have any fun?
Haven't I spent the last eight years writing a blog that tries to expose the fun in sailing, that makes fun of myself and makes fun of others, that is even crazy and hysterical at times? Can anyone read this blog for any time and not come to the conclusion that sailing is fun?
Hell, I wouldn't go sailing and I wouldn't write this blog if it wasn't fun most of the time.
Of course, kids know how to have fun on the water. I was just finishing up six years as a junior sailing instructor in the year I started this blog, But I did write at least one post Kids Learn by Playing - Duh! in which I discussed how to balance safety and learning and FUN in a junior sailing program.
So why don't (some) adults have fun when they are sailing? I don't get it?
Is it because racing isn't fun? Absolutely not.
Sure it's fun when you are winning. I do win occasionally. No, really.
But 99% of the time I don't win, and most of those times sailing is fun too.
Yesterday I went for a sail by myself on Bristol Harbor.
It was blowing 12-15 knots on a glorious sunny Spring afternoon.
I worked upwind for about 20 minutes and then went reaching down the waves, zig-zagging back and forth all over the harbor.
Hiking right at the back of the cockpit. Spray flying everywhere. I may have let out the odd hoot and a holler or two. Nobody could hear me.
All by myself having fun in the sunshine.
Rowdy, raunchy, loud, hysterical, crazy fun.
Maybe Mr. McCarthy should buy a Laser?