Virtual sailing during the pandemic
Ocean Navigator|May/June 2020
Sailing and voyaging are an intriguing mix of companionship and solitude.
TIM QUEENEY

With boat shows cancelled, some boatbuilders are turning to use of virtual tours for their boats, like this look at the new Hylas H60.

And, given the need for people to stay separated to slow the growth of the COVID-19 outbreak, sailing groups and boatbuilders are looking for new ways to maintain the social nature of sailing and get prospective buyers to look at boats.

The group element of sailing is perfectly demonstrated by events like regattas and race series, where part of the fun is sailing together with your fellow crewmembers on your boat, as well as taking part in the captains’ meetings and cookouts and parties ashore. The gathering of fellow sailors, of people who all speak the same language of sailing, is the lifeblood of the social side of the sport.

The solitude aspect of sailing is something experienced by perhaps a smaller group of sailors who prefer the contemplative quiet of being aboard alone or with a small crew. In that realm, standing watch at midnight, for example, is a way to connect with the natural environment — and perhaps some of one’s own mental and spiritual environment — in a deep way that isn’t usually available on a boat full of outgoing conversationalists.

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