Have you ever seen the life suggestion, “Make sure you see the sunrise at least once a year?” Maybe today wasn’t that day. June 21 is the Northern Hemisphere summer solstice and, therefore, the earliest sunrise of the year. In the Bay Area it means, if you were ambitious, you could have maxed out your sailing time with the sunrise at 5:48 a.m. and sailing until the 8:35 p.m. sunset for a total of 14 hours and 47 minutes with the sun above the horizon.
Luckily, you’ll have another chance to do it tomorrow on Summer Sailstice. This first-weekend-of-summer global celebration of sailing was concocted to help everyone get the wrinkles out of sails that have been furled on the boom for too long, and inspire you to take advantage of the long-daylight days to take friends and family sailing.
For most of the world’s sailors, it is also the start of the peak sailing season. In Wisconsin, Maine or Sweden it’s a guaranteed time of year to start a short-season frenzy so you can squeeze in all the sailing possible before the ice returns in the fall. In California, we’re lucky. We can take a more casual approach and sail whenever we want (ice is for cocktails). Yet summertime has a certain sailing feng shui built into it that suggests to all sailors that it’s time to dial back on work and dial up the sailing time.
Summer Sailstice is in its 19th year of inviting all the world’s sailors to unite in a global celebration of sailing. This includes full-on events like SailGP in New York, or individual sailing plans like those of Captain Bill, who will be sailing his West Wight Potter in Osaka, Japan. In between, there are dozens more events, large and small, up and down the West Coast.
What’s the point? To connect all sailors in a global celebration while helping the rest of the world get a better picture of the who, how, why and where of sailing. There will be thousands of spectators on the New York waterfront watching SailGP, but, as spectacular as it is to watch, the sailing community doesn’t really want spectators — it wants participants. Spectators are not going to help grind in your genny. For that you need crew. Perhaps they get intrigued by SailGP, but it’s a huge mental leap for people to connect foiling cats to the kind of sailing you do every day. By posting your racing, cruising or daysailing plans, you join the global sailing community, and help put all of sailing on display for the world to discover.
What’s on ‘display’ in Northern California? The YRA’s Westpoint Regatta, free sails aboard Call of the Seas’ Seaward, the Trans Tahoe regatta, and community sailing opportunities at Sailing Education Adventures in San Rafael, or more at Shoreline Lake in Mountain View. To see these events, or add your own, visit the Summer Sailstice events page here.
The only thing missing might be you. It’s the first weekend of summer and a terrible weekend to be caught with your sails down. Summer Sailstice is here to suggest you sign up, show up, and pull them up so you can join the whole world sailing.