Category: Sailing

Lift, weight, thrust, and drag

On the dock in Oriental, in 2013

Maybe it’s being in my late 40s, but I’ve been fervently trying to cultivate two new hobbies: sailing and flying. Three years ago, my father and I spent a week in Oriental, N.C., taking a basic keelboat sailing class. We passed the course with flying colors, but neither of us has been able to sail since. Some of it is the expense, some of it is the time, some of it is simply life getting in the way.

But I haven’t forgotten, and it’s remained a barely scratched itch. A few weeks ago, I found the Neuse Sailing Association, a social club based in Oriental, and tonight I discovered this sailing club in Norfolk. The latter outfit actually owns boats that members can use, so I think 2017 could be the year that I actually practice sailing.

But then there’s flying. This fall, I have been attending ground school at Wings of Carolina Flying Club. I’ll have to write more about this–I’m having an incredible time learning about aerodynamics, weather, navigation, and more. I expect to take the written FAA exam in January, and I hope to begin flying lessons shortly thereafter.

One thing I learned in sailing class: The sail operates much like a wing. The boat sails most efficiently, and crisply and satisfyingly, when it’s going upwind and well-trimmed. And when the telltales on the main sail go slack or luff about randomly, your sail is stalling, just like a wing.

Learning to sail, 2013