Try sailing on Discover Sailing Day - Sunday, 26 October
Looking for a new way of keeping active? Sailing is a great way to get outdoors and get moving, and you probably won't realise you're even exercising.
Discover Sailing Day is the perfect opportunity to give it a go. You don't need to buy a boat or sign up to a crew - just find your local club and take the opportunity to get out on the water with an experienced sailor to see what it's all about. It's free and open to all ages - there's a boat for everyone.
How to sign up
DiscoverSailing.com.au has all the info you need to try out sailing on the day. They also have a very useful Program Finder that helps you find clubs in your area, with filters on your availability and skill level.
Why should you try sailing?
We had a chat to Paul who works here at AGL, a keen sailor who has enjoyed getting out on the water since he was a kid. He finds it both challenging and relaxing - to quote him, "I’m a person who doesn’t do exercise for the sake of exercise – I do things because I enjoy them."
Done with slogging it out on the treadmill? Want to try something new that the whole family can do? Sailing just might be your sport.
Talking sailing with Paul, Operational Improvement Program Lead for Upstream Gas.
Photos courtesy of Paul
1. How did you get into sailing? What made you try it?
I got into it over 40 years ago because my father bought a boat and the two of us sailed together. Neither of us knew how to sail, so it was the blind leading the blind, but it was a lot of fun. There’s a lot of physical effort involved, but there’s also the relaxation side of it - you get out in the good weather, and the bad weather. When you’re racing it can be stressful, but it’s also relaxing in a way. You certainly get some exhilaration.
I did have a fellow tell me once that sailing is the world’s most complicated sport – you play on a moving surface, you’re powered by an invisible force, and it’s a combat sport in the sense you can interfere with other boats. It’s got a physical side and a mental side, and from a wellbeing point of view that’s not a bad thing. Some people do it for physical exercise, some do it to relax, some do it for the mental challenge, or all of the above.
I often see people jogging with this pained look on their face, but I never force myself to go out for a sail - I do it because i enjoy it. I’ll go for a ride on a pushbike or go for a walk for the same reason. With that attitude I’m more likely to keep it going and make it a habit.
2. Where do you sail?
From the club at Concord-Ryde. I also sail up to the national championships – I’ve sailed in Adelaide twice, up and down the NSW coast, in Brisbane, up on the Sunshine Coast, all sorts of places. My focus is on racing small boats - it’s more exciting, it’s more active, it’s closer to the water. You also learn better on a small boat – if you make a mistake the worst that happens is you just get wet.
3. Do you enjoy the racing aspect of the sailing?
Very much! I’ve had the opportunity to sail against people who have won Olympic medals, and realised that I’m a long way off that standard (laughs). If I’m ever trying to promote sailing, the thing I say is there’s not many sports a five year old can do, and an eighty year old can do. It’s a thing the whole family can do – there’s everything from kids’ boats through to the boats that go to Hobart, and everything in between. There are lots of people looking for crews on their boat, so you don’t actually need to buy a boat yourself.
4. Do you have a particular goal with your sailing?
When it’s racing, my goal is to get into the top third in the national championships, and I typically finish between the top third and the top half – I’m close, but I’m not there. So I do have a goal, but it’s day by day. I’m much happier if I go sailing on a windy day and I don’t do very well, than if I was to sail on a really light day and win. It’s just more fun to sail on a windy day – fun takes priority over the actual place that I get. If my only goal was to be national champion I would have given up a while ago!
5. Anything else you'd like to share?
I highly recommend giving sailing a go. You make of it what you want to do with it. All you have to do is roll up, bring a change of clothes and enjoy. All clubs run training programs, or you can join a crew – there are a bunch of ways to get involved if you’re keen.