Every Wednesday evening from October through to March I go sailing. I’m out of work no later than five o’clock and jostling with traffic on Punt Road so that I can be at Royal Brighton Yacht Club ready for Twilight Racing. Once there I take the long walk along the pier where I pass many fishermen hoping for a catch. Regardless of the weather there is always a stunning view across the bay to the city.
By the time I get to the end of the pier and into the marina I’ve forgotten about work and any worries I might have. I greet my sailing companions and we talk about our week as we get the boat into the water using the overhead crane. We discuss the wind and which headsail we should use. We set up the sails and cruise out onto the bay ready for the start.
I began sailing last summer for the first time and gained a little more confidence and skill each week. The winter break has set me back somewhat but my sailing friends are generous with their time and encouragement. I make mistakes but they don’t seem to mind. Most of the time I go out on Zardos; sometimes I go out on San Rafael (that’s me sitting on the edge of San Rafael below). Both are S80, 8 metre yachts designed for both racing and cruising.
There is nothing better than sailing on Port Phillip Bay on a warm summer evening. The views are spectacular whichever way you look – the city skyline to the north, the colourful boat sheds lined up along the beach between Brighton and Sandringham to the east, and the sun setting to the west.
What I love most about sailing is that it forces you to live in the moment. You don’t have time to worry about work and life as you race to the next marker – tacking, gibing and discussing tactics.
When the race is over, there is more work to be done – pulling down and folding the sails, rolling up ropes, and pulling the boat out of the water and onto the hardstand.
When the packing up is done we go back to the clubhouse for a meal and a drink. We talk about the race and mull over ‘what if we’d?’ or ‘maybe we should have’. Mostly though we agree that we had a lot of fun and it didn’t really matter if we won or came last. It was just nice to be out there.