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Rediscovering the Joy of Small Sailboats

By Sailingguide

This summer I ended up sailing a simple 19-foot sloop most of the time, rather than my 38-foot cruising sailboat as over the last 6 years. (A long story....) While I initially bemoaned the lack of all that room down below, the full galley and head, the 6 feet 4 inches of headroom, I rapidly fell into the spirit of the smaller trailerable boat and its simplicity and ease of sailing. Indeed, the sheer pleasure of quick tiller turns and fast tacks with hand-pulled sheets rather than cranking the winch, the immediate responsiveness of a light boat, soon overcame any concerns of size-related seaworthiness - and I had a ball sailing this little boat all over the place. Imagine: I could step aboard at my mooring and in about a minute be under sail! None of that big boat work - just the fun of being under sail whenever I had an hour or two to spare. The boat: a classic West Wight Potter 19. Intrepid sailors have even cruised across the Atlantic and from San Francisco to Hawaii in this sturdy little boat! But for me, it was simply the sheer joy of experiencing sailing at a simple, basic level. You can do this in a much smaller boat like a Sunfish or Laser, but in the Potter I also had the option of the night aboard in a quiet cove. Ah!

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