sextant

Let’s Talk About Sextants!

By: Equipment, Nautical Trivia, Sailing History

Ah, the sextant… that odd magical contraption that sleeps in an aged wooden box and stored in a seldom-used locker. Every once in a while you break it out and it’s glorious to behold – there’s poetry in its very existence. You look at the curves and the shiny mirrors, then you spin the dials – they feel substantial and real. You gaze at the increment markers and numbers and hold it in your hand just as Captain Cook’s navigator did with something oh so similar. As you feel the weight of this incredible innovative invention you mutter, “I wish …

The Evolution of the Sail

By: Equipment

No one knows quite how sailing began, though it’s certainly been going on for thousands of years. For example, way back in 1200 BC the Greeks launched 1,000 ships and sailed to Troy, and subsequently Odysseus went on one of the worst Mediterranean sailing charters in history trying to get home again. Like most things, the creation of a sail probably started as an accident–someone somewhere held a piece of cloth up to the wind and noticed that it made their canoe/raft/piece of driftwood move faster. From those humble beginnings, the idea of using a sail to move through the …

The History of the ASA

By: American Sailing Association

Beginnings Until 1983, the United States had no nationally recognized set of standards for sailors. This made it very difficult to tell who was proficient and who wasn’t–a big problem for anyone renting or chartering sailboats, and for people who wanted to learn to sail but didn’t know where to start. That all changed when Lenny Shabes, a charter operator in Marina del Rey, CA, decided to found the ASA. Frustrated with the lengthy exams he had to give everyone who asked to charter a boat, and inspired by the certification agencies of countries such as France, Canada, and Germany, …

This Week in Sailing History

By: American Sailing Association, Social Media

There’s something about the first week of August. All sorts of notable events in sailing history took place this week, and here’s a list of some of our favorites! Monday, August 1: American writer Herman Melville was born on this day in 1819. Melville spent his youth traveling the world aboard sailing ships, specifically Nantucket whalers, and these experiences informed all of his writing, from his debut in Typee to his masterpiece, Moby Dick. Melville was not very well appreciated during his lifetime, but Moby Dick is now recognized as one of the greatest books ever written. Tuesday, August 2: …