Is Sailing A Science?


The Intellectual Sailor

It seems only the Swiss can intellectualize sailing. In their defense, it’s for safety’s sake, but my first night of school took a bit of wind out of my sails as the class focused on mathematical equations. Can you imagine trying to understand, on paper, the physics of bike riding in numeric calculations? It was as if we were required to attend a physics course to learn the maths of gravitational pull in relation to the velocity of motion. A skill generally taught by a parent or friend who gave you that first push and brushed off your bloody knees. Even if you get a full understanding of the physics, you still have to have to apply the knowledge with a scientific experiment. Get in the damn saddle and ride! You’ll quickly figure out that the brakes are the best option to a desperate lunging rendez-vous with the bruising ground below.

The intellectual sailor learns about latitude and longitude using a yoga ball

Latitude & longitude explained with a yoga ball

With many sports I managed to get my head around, it was always by trial and error. I learned the basics of sailing from two of my uncles and my cousin Christophe, a world class Laser champ in his teens. And it was at the age of 12 that I set off on my own on a Laser after a basic fifteen minute sailing course at Club Med. I’ve been hooked ever since, like a kid on a bicycle, whenever I could get my hands on a boat, I’d climb on and sail. That’s my knowledge of sailing. I know how to sail like I know how to ride a bike, instinctively. But as of now I know what a Nautical Mile represents, the principles of positioning at the intersection of latitude and longitude in degrees and minutes. Neptune help me, because there is more calculating to come in terms of currents, tides and charting. To become the intellectual sailor and pass my test to get the Swiss Maritime License is just another part of my Winded Voyage.