I Believe in Sailing

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I believe in sailing. When I'm out in my boat and the wind hits my sails, I'm alone. It's just me and the water.

As the wind picks up, I can guide my boat wherever I want to go. There are no defined roads or trails. Sailing is complete freedom. It’s the perfect way to escape from the distractions of life.

I've always felt a connection to the ocean, which I believe was passed down from my father. He grew up racing sailboats in the Caribbean. By his teens, he was competing in major events like the Pan-American Games. He taught me how to sail, then how to race. He even built me a wooden sailboat.

But my sailing career did not start smoothly. When I was 12, I went sailing for the first time. I went out with my mother and we got caught in a thunderstorm. I remember feeling completely vulnerable and not knowing what to do. The wind picked up and the waves got bigger as thunder cracked across the sky.

We were far from land and I was scared for my life. But as quickly as the storm came, it left. The waves and wind calmed and the sun came out from behind the clouds. It was peaceful, unlike anything I had ever experienced. Sailing taught me the amazing power of nature that day.

To me, sailing is a way to get in tune with the world around me. I'm exposed to all of the elements: sun, salt water, wind, rain. I scan the water and watch as the wind hits it, making ripples dance across its surface. Being in the water allows me my own time, for piece of mind and relaxation.

When I sail, getting all the way out into the water is usually the hardest part. The upwind battle, tacking, jibing, and dodging all the other boats can turn into a real struggle. Yet I’m in control. When I finally get out in the open sea, it’s just me and the water. I don’t find the vast openness frightening. My skill at sailing has given me self-confidence, on and off the water.

Some days, it's cold. Other days, it's warm. Some days the wind howls. Other days it’s just a slight breeze. And some days I capsize, but I always get back up.

When I come back in, the wind is always at my back. I glide home with my sail released all the way. When the water is choppy, my sailboat rides along the crests of the waves like a big surfboard. When it’s calm, I glide soundlessly to shore.

Sailing is a time to reflect and clear my thoughts. I've learned a lot about myself from being in the water, and I plan to stay in it as long as I can. Even on a rough day, I’m always a better person after a day of sailing.

I believe in sailing.

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