“I really don’t know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it’s because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it’s because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.
[Remarks at the Dinner for the America’s Cup Crews, September 14 1962]”
― John F. Kennedy
They say the cure for most things is in salt water; tears , sweat and the sea.
Have you ever sat perched by the beach and felt the spray of the water against your face as the waves crash against the rocks?
In that moment you feel so free, so alive and so in sync with everything around. You begin to understand what it must mean to have a universe inside you, when even in the midst of this one element you feel like a tiny dot.
This is the thrill that comes with exploring and appreciating nature and her elements.
I can only imagine what it would feel like to go as far as sailing these seas like Dooshima does. (Intense urban nomad envy I tell you)
Have you met Dooshima?
Meet the sailor
Dooshima Mabonga is a Licencensed Professional Counsellor who does mental health assessments with inmates. She lives in Austin, Texas and races sailboats (primarily J24s and Pearson26s) on Lake Travis at the Austin Yacht Club, but is working on doing circuit stops in other cities and States. Dooshima lives for indomie, red velvet cake and hopes to one-day sail across the Atlantic Ocean.
See why I say she really is the coolest kid around?
So here’s her account of what sailing has been like for her and a little about her favorite ship and crew.
I could write you a love song about sail boats and the feeling in your eyes when your sails are full, your crew is working in harmony, and the wind is just right.
I could talk your ear off about the exhilaration that comes with racing as foredeck, trying to put up the spinnaker when going down wind and knowing that everything you do (not do) affects your spot in the race.
I could show you all my bruises, sun-burnt forehead, wet shoes, smelly gloves, heart full of joy, face full of smiles and convince you that somehow, I had a great day.
I could try to express what it’s like to fine-tune before leaving the docks, watch the sunset during a race or jump off an anchored boat in the middle of a lake during a lazy sail day.
I could go on about the love and support in the sailing community and how sailing clubs for children are producing better sailors than I’ll probably ever be.
I could do all that but it would never compare to the peace, happiness and freedom you will experience from getting on a boat yourself and sailing away from shore. Words will never be enough to describe the swell in your heart as you countdown to the start of a race while your skipper tries to cross the start right as the horn goes off.
I understand that some people get sea-sick and others just simply don’t care much for sailboats. However, can you truly knock it if you’ve never tried it? Power boats are fun and I can understand the joy found in the simplicity of turning on an engine and jetting off. Sailboats however are a deliberate experience, taking the time to work with whatever nature is offering and bonding with others while setting course on vast or narrow waters will always be captivating.
Friend, it is my hope that you will one day muster the bravery to set sail for a sunset. Dare to get on a boat and ask your skipper to teach you a few things. Learn a knot or two. Grab the tiller and learn to work with the winds. Sail off to the horizon and look out for me.