The sun is beginning to set. There’s a warm 12-knot breeze pushing you along easily as you sail downwind. A glance at the GPS says you’re hitting 7s and 8s on flat water – it’s a perfect day on the water. It’s days like these that have inspired some great songwriters to sit down and write tunes about what we love – sailing. So, with that in mind, here are ASA’s 7 best sailing songs from the classic rock genre. If you disagree, feel free to shuffle the order or add your favorite in the comments. But please understand ASA has researched this completely through a very complicated scientific process. These are the best songs and this is the right order!
- Catch the Wind – Although this is a love song (by Donovan), the chorus that cries, “I may as well try and catch the wind,” seems so perfect when sailing along on a summer day.
- Lost Sailor – The Grateful Dead aren’t known for their sailing songs but this one is pretty cool. It’s a somber tune that taps into the darker side of sailing. “Somedays the gales are howling, sometimes the sea is still as glass,” say the brooding lyrics. “Oh, reef the main sail, oh, lash the mast,” Not sure if they should raise the main if they have to lash the mast, but it’s a good tune anyway.
- Sailing – Rod Stewart’s Sailing is essentially a gospel tune reveling in the idea of sailing home across a sea. It’s another gorgeous melody inspired by sails full of wind and traveling like only a sailboat can.
- Into the Mystic – When Van Morrison sings the beautiful melody of Into the Mystic it’s clear he has sailed. “Hark, now hear the sailor’s cry – Smell the sea and feel the sky – Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic.” If you can’t go sailing, listen to this tune and it’ll get you close.
- Southern Cross – This Crosby Stills Nash tune is the epitome of an awesome sailing tune. It’s about a man sailing around the world in an 80-footer after getting dumped. It talks about sailing on a reach and keeping a watch, so it gets extra points for actually mentioning a point of sail.
- Sloop John B – While the Beach Boys mostly sang about surfing and girls, Sloop John B should be the winner of the best sailing song because first; “sloop” is in the title, second; raising the main is in the chorus, third; it even makes mention of how the main sets – this is a real sailing tune. However it doesn’t win the Best Song title because “he feels so broke up, he wants to go home” and the tune loses points for that.
- Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes – No sailing songs list is complete without a little Jimmy Buffett. This tune is an accepted anthem of cruising sailors. Many a singing sailor appreciates the line “God, I wish I was sailin’ again.” So, for the love Buffett has given to the sailing community and because it’s a solid sailing tune – we give the grand prize to Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes.