4 Themes for the 4th

By: American Sailing Association

No time are we freer than when riding the wind, right? Sailing is the perfect way to celebrate Independence Day, and I’m sure many of you are already planning to do just that. It’s the first reliably warm weekend in many parts of the country, and the weather’s bound to be great. Break out the swimsuits, bring along the brats, and move your hoopla off the beach and onto the water.

But I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill ho-hum barbecue. Oh no, we sailors can indulge in much more sophisticated themes than that!

Bristol Fashion. The first celebration of Independence Day, in 1777, was held in Bristol, Rhode Island, complete with red-white-and-blue bunting adorning the harbor’s fleet. Recreate the first Fourth by stringing flags along your gunwhales, giving rambling toasts to America the Beautiful, and donning colorful wigs. Don’t forget the 13-shot salute (just do it with an squirt guns… or rum and a bunch of friends).

Huck Finn Flotilla. There’s nothing like a proper raft-up for the Fourth of July. A platform of boats afloat provides a perfect fireworks-watching position. Plus, you can party after dark and stay safely at anchor overnight. You just have to remember one thing Huck didn’t have to—look aloft to avoid getting your spreaders tangled with other boats.

Hot Dog Patriotism. Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest takes place on July 4th in Coney Island. It started in 1916 as a way to settle a dispute among four immigrants as to who was the most patriotic. Do NOT forget the dogs, or people will question whether you’re American, illegal, terrorist, or what. Plus, it’s one of the easiest things to cook on a boat—no dishes necessary!

Fly Your Built-in Colors. I know many of us are guilty of never letting that pretty tri-radial see the light of day. But the Fourth is the day to parade that spinnaker around—our country-wide fleet will be a whole lot more stunning than those tacky “floats” lumbering down Main Street.

I hope you all have an excellent Fourth of July, and I really hope you get to spend it on the water! And lastly, I hope someone sends me a picture of themselves in a 18th-century wig this weekend.

Sail safely!