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  • Tristan Sess

Just a Few Hours

I can’t speak for all sailors out there, but for me, the more crew on board the better (for day sails and cruising around at least). Every time I go out sailing, I invite people to come out with me. Sailing can sometimes be equal parts enjoying the sail as well as enjoying the company. I’ll be the first to admit that I probably ask my friends far too often to come sailing over the summer. Practically anytime I have more than a free hour after work everyone in the group chat is getting the, “Does anyone want to come sailing” text. If I don’t get any responses, oh well, it’s hard to line up schedules. If someone replies yes, I usually dart down to the boat and immediately get ready for whatever short sail we can squeeze in. Now, when someone else texts me and asks if I want to go sailing, that’s when I get really excited.

One day, in late July, a couple buddies of mine texted me asking about the possibility of spending a few hours on the bay after work. Before even checking the wind or tides, I responded telling them I’d be thrilled. Now, I know where you think this may be going- the boat stranded with no wind or an unexpected meeting with the bottom of the bay. But you’d be wrong about both. The only unexpected meeting was that with the bottom of the bottle.

I quickly checked the tides, and unfortunately, we would only have about 2 hours from the time we could all meet up and the time we had to be back, in order to be back up the canal before low tide. Eagerly, everyone made runs to the beer distributor and met at the dock around 6pm. To my surprise we had more company than originally anticipated. With an extra friend and his girlfriend, we were now at six people on the boat. The largest (and most enthusiastic) crew I had had yet. We all climbed aboard and set off. Halfway down the canal we received yet another call. Another two friends were waiting at the public dock for me to pick them up. Somewhere along the road he must have been invited by someone and we made up a narrative where there was enough room for all eight of us on a 23ft boat.

We get the whole crew aboard and not before long, that two-hour window was quickly closing. With most crews I had sailed with before, the decision would have already been made- we needed to head back. But this was no normal crew. This was a misfit crew with fewer cares than you could imagine. Yea, the sun was going down, and sure, we all had work tomorrow, but we were just getting started, and the rum wasn’t going to drink itself.

We decided to keep the sea shanties going and took a few more laps around the bay. The details of the rest of the voyage are not particularly unique or important, except that: sails were ripped, masts were climbed, and more enthusiasm for being out on that 23ft sailboat was shown than I’d ever seen before. We stumbled back onto land around 1am and the rest is history.

I have joked with those close to me about how people so often say many of the things I do are adventurous. I usually don’t feel the same way. Recreation and adventure are two totally different things. What may be recreation for you could be an adventure for me and vice versa. For something to be an adventure it needs to be hazardous, exciting, and most importantly, in an unknown territory. One is not necessarily better than the other in any given circumstance, but what I love most about adventure, is that it’s often not repeatable. I’ve sailed on the bay hundreds of times and very rarely is it ever an adventure. Heading out onto the water for just a few hours with a large group of non-sailors, non-sailors who might as well have thought we were the local buccaneers of the bay, can be quite unpredictable. That is what makes small, unexpected trips like these so valuable. What starts as just a short trip, out and back, to hang with some buddies, can occasionally turn into one of the sails that stays with you forever. Knowing that I have more trips ahead of me that may be as carefree and whimsical as a night like this are what keep me so excited to keep getting back out there.


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