Pure. Unadulterated. Joy.

The simple and profound joy of sailing a small boat may be more powerful now than it has ever been. After all the years. And all the boats. And all the miles. And even after all the awesomeness of the bodaciousness and badassness, nothing really can compare with the hum of the daggarboard, or the sizzle of the hull, or the sweet and salty spray, and splashes, and full-on soakings—and the smiles and suntans, and stretched stomach muscles—that happen with such regularity at the humble helm of a mighty Sunfish.
Who doesn’t have a happy Sunfish memory? Who hasn’t been a kid and experienced the intoxicating sensation of freedom that comes when your parents get left on shore and your entire world becomes as small as that tiny, little cockpit and as limitless as your imagination? And who hasn’t felt like a kid again after pushing off from a sandy beach in waist-high water to leave the weight of the troubled adult world on the beach for just a little while?
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Maybe that’s what I like the most. That moment when you push off from the beach Hyannisport YC beach and the only thing you have to do is make sure you can trim the main and get the daggarboard down in time.

Or maybe it’s simply the fact that you’re gonna get wet. I’ve sailed entire passages (thousands of miles) protected by soul-killing (yet oh so warm and comfortable) plastic cockpit enclosures and never touching the helm except to adjust the autopilot. Where’s the fun in that? The coffee? The star gazing? The smoking (when I smoked)? The beauty and monotony of the sea? Maybe.

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But, Joy (with a capital J) that I’m talking about here can never really be experienced behind a plastic enclosure (no matter how new or clear it is) or even when “Otto” the autopilot is driving.
And the truth is, all that joy pales in comparison—actually it’s simply multiplied by many, many factors since I’m able to share it—with my happy, chatty, bossy, and utterly game-for-anything little boy.
He’s game. A gamer. Just looking at this photo warms my heart. And so does this video. Sailing and boats and docks and the sea have already taught us several powerful lessons. And he’s only 2.
Sammy Sez it’s a Summer Day from Bill Springer on Vimeo.
My buddy who heads up the sailing program here in Preppietown tells me that sailing lessons and Opti sailing don’t really start until he’s 7. But I’m thinking we’ll take him out before then. And then he can decide if he likes it or not.Or maybe he’ll be a launch driver. Or a “speedboater.”

Meanwhile, my job is to fix things that break (like this rudder that cracked that was fixed with some wood glue and a big pipe clamp). Heck, the honey bunny and I even had a little “date” sail around the harbor when I first launched the boat after cleaning it up and rescuing it from its solitary confinement behind the garage.
And get ready to race this weekend.
And I gotta find the ol’ spikey Swizzle wig. I mean, come on. White sunglasses. White visor. White Sunfish. Rare, rare white Sunfish sail. This is the Swizzle’s native habitat, right? And I might actually even go sailing………..
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  1. says: my2fish

    Start them young! My boys have always loved playing in and around my Sunfish on land. If it’s a calm enough day, take them out for a short little ride on Daddy’s boat. Great post.