Ayme Sinclair is just an ordinary sailor, but at the same time she is anything but. Like many of us, she races with her team on Wednesday nights, then heads back to the club to have a couple of cocktails and some laughs. Some nights they do pretty well, some nights just okay, but it’s always a good time.
The most distinct difference between Ayme’s team and the rest of the fleet is her crew is made up of sailors of different races and genders while most of the fleet is not. There is no animosity, there’s no bigotry, but this is emblematic of clubs across the country and beyond. Continue reading →
Sailmaking is an ever-changing, constantly developing and always interesting element of sailing so we like to keep up with the latest trends and technologies. North Sails is consistently on the cutting edge of sailmaking innovation and their 3 di sails are a shining example. ASA visited the loft in Minen Nevada where they produce sails that we see on the Volvo Ocean Race, the America’s Cup and nearly every other high profile race. For a sailors, it’s the most fascinating experience you’ll ever have in a desert! Enjoy the tour! Continue reading →
These days, when you think about round the world races, images of high tech surfboard-like carbon fiber boats with enormous black sails sailing downwind at 21-knots come to mind. There’s a square-jawed professional sailor at the helm, staring up the tall mast at a sail that bears the name of a company we all know. These wonders of technology are walking that tightrope of overall weight and durability. The skipper measures the weight of the hands on his watch and prays that carbon mast is as strong as they say. It’s truly fun to watch and follow but is it relatable to the average sailor? Not so much…
Alright! It’s here, the summer has arrived and there is much sailing to be done. And after a day on the water, what’s better than relaxing on the foredeck (maybe even in a hammock?) and reading a book about sailing. Here’s a list, in no particular order, that is worth the effort.
Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea by Tami Oldham Ashcraft with Susea McGearhart
Adrift, the movie that is based on this book is in the theaters now, so it’s a good time to check this one out. As is so often the case, the book is supposedly better than the movie. It’s a harrowing tale and for some reason many sailors like to hear about these worse case scenarios. Be that as it may – a great summer read.
Dove by Robin Lee Graham
If you haven’t read Dove yet, this summer is the time to check it out. It’s one of those books that many sailors have read. It’s a story of sailing, but also one of youth/coming of age. Graham set out on a round the world voyage at 16 and the voyage changed his life in many ways. And now, with so much time under the bridge, it’s interesting to look back on cruising-sailing as it was in the 1960s. Dove is definitely a book that’s part of sailing literacy if there is such a thing.
South by Ernest Shackleton
South is not a typical sailing book where a cruising sailor turns their log into prose. It’s great to read about a cruising sailor’s adventures, like the ones we all daydream about and can easily relate to, but South is something entirely different. Captain Ernest Shackleton, who isn’t really a sailor at all, tells the incredible story of exploring the Antarctic region at a time when it had hardly been visited by humankind. It’s adventure of the tallest order. They sailed a barquentine, which was sort of a tall ship at the end of the tall ship era, and found themselves in a highly precarious position in one of the most remote places on the planet. Read this on a nice toasty day and you will really be glad it’s summertime!
Farther Than Any Man by Martin Dugard
An interesting concept to bear in mind about sailing, and one that is not lost on most of us is how meaningful it has been to the formation and forwarding of the modern world. The geographical discoveries, international commerce, and their role in wartime scenarios are just a few of the vital areas where sailing/tall ships was so very integral. Check out Farther Than Any Man, a biography of Captain James Cook, for a taste of how professional sailors/explorers did their thing in the 1700s. It’s controversial some times but interesting all the time. It’s very fun and interesting to compare sailing then and now with an understanding of how it all progressed. Cook’s work has been extremely influential and important – very worth reading.
Sailors’ Secrets by Mike Badham
This book contains no story but it’s packed with useful tricks, tips and hints about the stuff we all have to do to keep sailing. It’s really a cruising sailor’s dreams. Sailors’ Secrets is a compilation of hundreds of different sailors’ favorite idiosyncratic advice, each about a paragraph long. Innovative and inventive ways to fix leaks, battling corrosion, making sails last, handy knots, tackling odors; the list goes on for days. It’s one of those books that you can pick up and read for five minutes or forty five minutes again and again. There are tons of novel ideas and it’s a blessing that Badham has gone to the trouble of putting it all in one place for us. Good stuff.
A Sailing Surfer’s Voyage Of Awakening by Captain Liz Clark
Liz Clark, who is originally from Southern California, has been sailing around the South Pacific for more than 10 years. Her goal was to fulfill her life-long dream of surf exploration via sailboat. In this memoir, Captain Liz Clark captures her voyage in gripping detail, sharing tales of sailing in high seas, of solitude and surprises, of finding connection to the earth and commitment to living in harmony with it. The book is not just about the adventure of sailing the Pacific on her Cal-40 with her cat, it’s about how to be closer to nature, and take time to cherish and appreciate it – “I use less, need less, and want less – yet have never felt more fulfilled.” says Captain Liz.
Bareboat Cruising Made Easy by the American Sailing Association
Well, c’mon, we’re putting one of our own on this list not just because it’s our website and our story but because it’s a really good book! Bareboat Cruising Made Easy is 212 pages of focused information that is indispensable for those looking to charter but it’s also very valuable for those who do a lot of cruising. Like all of ASA’s books, it’s written in an informal easy-to-understand manner that makes the learnin’ go down smooth. It goes step by step through the process of chartering and it’s loaded with great pictures and diagrams to ensure readers understand the concepts completely. The book is truly comprehensive covering literally hundreds of different issues. It’s one of those books that never collects dust on the shelf because someone is always picking it up.
Yes, your furry first mate is great to have around on a day-sail or cruise – they provide moral support, positive affirmation and usually a bit of comic relief. But ask them to trim the jib or hoist the main and they are useless! However, your four-legged crew can actually help you with your sailing skills… How? You ask. There are no basset hound certified sailing instructors! No Jack Russell has ever called tactics on a Wednesday night race!
Oh lordy – the birds are chirpin’, the snow’s melted and that boat is ready to gallop around for another spring and summer (at least). Here’s a list of some presents to get yourself and your lovely to make it a more pleasant sailing season. Feel free to add to this list of little indulgences.
Here’s the deal: We love to see regular ol’ people discover sailing, then learn to sail through one of our schools and, in the end, continue sailing for a lifetime. Call it corny, but it’s really a gratifying feeling. Sailing is one of those things that just makes life a more enjoyable experience. It can produce unforgettable adventures that can literally change lives so, of course, that story makes us happy. However, another scenario we like just as much is one where a person gets the sailing bug, devotes themselves to obtaining all possible certifications and decides to change course and make sailing their livelihood. Through the years, here at ASA, we’ve seen that tale play out time and time again and it never gets old, but the story of Captain Robert Kupps was particularly fulfilling.
Here is the second installment of our interview with the youngest sailor to sail around the world alone, Laura Dekker. In this part Laura speaks of her undying love for sailing, a fame that won’t go away and a future that involves educating young people, informed by this incredible experience…