SPORTS

Everything you Wanted to Know about Sailing but Were Afraid to Ask

6/7/2006

Styx had it right, summer is the time to set an open course for the virgin sea and sail away. I talked ship with skip Gerry Campbell, who sets sails on his twenty-five foot trimaran every Wednesday night with the Toronto Multihull Cruising Club from



Styx had it right, summer is the time to set an open course for the virgin sea and sail away. I talked ship with skip Gerry Campbell, who sets sails on his twenty-five foot trimaran every Wednesday night with the Toronto Multihull Cruising Club from Mother’s Day to Thanksgiving.



Describe the rush of hurtling along the water with a mast full of air?

There are two rushes. One when you look down at the water and see how fast it’s zipping by and you realize that this is a quite immense utilization of nature’s natural forces, and two when you’re not looking at the water and just looking ahead you feel as though you are just moseying along at a leisurely pace and the world is left behind.

How fast can a sailboat go?

In a reasonable wind a multihull can do 7-10 nautical miles and in a real good wind I’ve seen it hit 17-18 knots.

Do sailors crave the ultimate wind in the same way surfers crave the ultimate wave?

Personally no, but I do like a firm wind with as little chop as possible.

Can you get seasick in a sailboat?

You can get seasick in a sailboat but getting seasick in a trimaran or catamaran is very unusual.

Sailing into the sunset has become a romantic cliché, what’s it really like?

I think in Toronto it’s more like sailing into the fireworks than sailing into the sunset. For most people when it’s that time of evening they’re heading back to the clubhouses. Sailing into fireworks though is invigorating because you’re expectant of a great fireworks show, but the sail back is long because you’re going back in the dark.

From a distance sailing looks like a picture of serenity, how much of a workout is sailing?

Sailing is a workout, whether you’re aboard a small monohull or a larger boat. It is a workout unless there is no wind.

Why do sailors always wear white?

We don’t necessarily wear white. I think that it is something that goes back to the British naval fleets of yore. We’re t-shirt and shorts kind of people or no t-shirt and shorts depending on our sex.

Have you ever got caught in a storm?

Yeah I have. It tests your mental and physical capabilities. Once I even came out of the eastern gap into a fog and that was just mind-boggling. I eventually ran into a sandbar thank God and waited three hours for it to clear because I was doing everything on dead reckoning.

Without fail I always get bashed by the boom every time I sail, how do you avoid it?

I don’t think there’s anyway to avoid it other than someone letting you know it’s coming around. As far as being hit by it, I have yet to see someone on a multi-hull being knocked overboard but I’ve certainly seen people swing out on a boom and then grab it at the last minute—and you have to pull them back in.

Powerboaters call sailors rag-baggers, do you have a pet name for them?

Smog-men.

If you had to build a sailboat from scratch like Tom Hanks did in Castaway what kind of ship would you build?

A catamaran, they’re much more stable and there’s little chance of tipping. There’s also much more room, a 25-foot trimaran is probably the equivalent of a 40-foot mono-hull in interior space.



Really, I'd probably go for a simple raft or maybe a catamaran or a two pontoon boat like the one they built on Lost Anyway, have you ever gone on a three-hour tour and ended up on a deserted island with a couple of girls named Ginger and Marianne? /a>

Well there was that time I came out of the fog and ended up on the Leslie street spit sandbar…

If you had to be stranded somewhere for more than a few hours, where would you not mind being washed up?

At the Playboy mansion.

An abbreviated version of this article first ran in the Toronto Sun

Copyright © Mike Dojc, 2006

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