Celebrating 40 Years with 40 Reasons to Sail

By: American Sailing, Learn To Sail

In 1983, the American Sailing Association was founded by Lenny Shabes. Over these four decades, hundreds of thousands of sailors have found their dreams becoming a reality on the water after making their way through our curriculum. Sailors and their families are forever marked by a love for the sport that sets people free and transcends national boundaries, racial demographics, and generations. This year, we celebrate 40 years as the leading sailing education entity in the United States. So when you get out on the water, you can be sure that ASA-certified sailors are enjoying this majestic sport with heart and mind — safely and confidently. 

With that, we want to offer 40 compelling reasons to set sail — sentiments that nearly every sailor will resonate with at some point.

For me, when I turn the engine off and feel the wind fill the sail, I am instantly transported to a different place. I can breathe, I can think, and I can relax. I am positive I can hear the ocean speaking to me in a language only sailors can understand.

If you know, you know. And if you don't...

Sailing is an exceptional lifestyle, and here are just 40 of the myriad reasons to raise your sails:

Prickly Pear Beach
  • 1

    Enjoy the thrill of the wind in your sails and the rush of the water beneath you.

  • 2

    Experience the freedom of being out on the open water. When you look out at the horizon, and all you see is the wide open ocean, it can be invigorating.

  • 3

    Discover new places and explore hidden coves and bays. Dropping anchor in a new destination immediately triggers your desire to explore.

  • 4

    Connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of the world around us. If you want to know why we should protect the environment, go sailing.

  • 5

    Learn a new skill and challenge yourself mentally and physically. It is never too late to learn something new or to get better at what you are doing.

  • 6

    Meet like-minded people who share your passion for sailing. Go to a bar with other sailors. This is your new community.

  • 7

    Develop teamwork and communication skills when sailing with others. What will your sailing crew look like?
  • 8

    Improve your physical fitness and coordination. Don’t play golf. Raise a sail, grab a winch handle, hold on tight to a tiller.

  • 9

    Gain confidence and self-esteem through mastering a new skill. Your first successful passage will do wonders for your self-worth.

  • 10

    Escape the stresses of everyday life and find peace and tranquility on the water. It’s you and the ocean and that resets your soul.

A team of sailors in a red sailboat in Newport
  • 11

    Learn about navigation and map-reading. Learning a skill like reading a chart keeps your mind sharp.

  • 12

    Gain a sense of accomplishment when successfully completing a sail.  The first beer after you have dropped anchor is better than you think.

  • 13

    Share special moments with friends and family. Look at the smiles all around you when they discover sailing. Worth so much more than possessions.

  • 14

    Experience a unique sense of adventure. Sailing is not difficult but it drives you to be better. It helps you recapture your idealism.

  • 15

    Challenge yourself to new heights and overcome your fears. With the proper practice and training you can achieve your goals.

  • 16

    Learn about the history and culture of sailing. Did you know that Frederick Douglas utilize his sailing skills to help free himself from slavery?

  • 17

    Enhance your problem-solving skills. Things change quickly out on the ocean and you will be able to react accordingly.
  • 18

    Develop patience and persistence. Even when you race a sailboat you are patient and waiting for the right moment to strike. Sailing is all about patience.

  • 19

    Learn about the mechanics of sailing. It is a little bit physics, a little geometry, and some good old fashioned sweat.

  • 20

    Explore the mysteries of the ocean and the creatures that live within it. Sail past your first whale and you will never give up sailing.

Jost van Dyke beachfront scene
  • 21

     Learn how to work with the wind and weather. When the wind comes at you from the direction you want to head, your geometry skills quickly come into use.

  • 22

    Enjoy the thrill of racing and competition. Teamwork coupled with sailing experience and managing the factors on the boat will change how you sail.

  • 23

    Discover new hobbies and interests, such as fishing or photography. Drop a line off the back and be ready to cook a fish on deck.

  • 24

    Improve your concentration and focus. The environment will sharpen your observation skills.

  • 25

    Increase your spatial awareness and ability to read the water. Don’t be afraid to dock your boat. Your training will eliminate your anxiety even when the current in your marina is running strong.

  • 26

    Develop a respect for the environment and the need to protect it. The ocean needs sailors, as we are at the forefront of protecting it.

  • 27

    Learn about meteorology and weather patterns. You will look at clouds differently, and you will end up with multiple resources for the weather on your mobile phone.

  • 28

    Gain an appreciation for the power and unpredictability of nature. You will learn to have a newfound respect for the ocean and that is a very healthy thing to have.

  • 29

    Learn how to adapt to changing conditions on the water. Reading currents and swells along with the weather will be the new skill you talk about at parties.

  • 30

    Enjoy the beauty of sunsets and sunrises from the water. Your first sunset at anchor on a new port will leave an imprint on your soul.

  • 31

    Experience the magic of bioluminescence and phosphorescence at night. Take a look off the back of the boat and see the colors of the ocean in the dead of night. Science is fascinating.

  • 32

    Learn about the different types of boats and their unique characteristics. You will soon gaze at catamarans and monohulls with lust.

  • 33

    Develop a love for the sea and all things nautical. Maybe a tattoo?

  • 34

    Learn how to tie knots and other essential sailing skills. Go ahead and show off your ability to tie a proper clove hitch.

  • 35

    Appreciate the value of teamwork and communication in all aspects of life. Sailing will help you communicate with your partner.

  • 36

    Gain a sense of responsibility and leadership when sailing with others. Being responsible for the well being of others is a big part of sailing.

  • 37

    Sail to multiple islands in one day. The British Virgin Islands are the perfect spot to island hop.

  • 38

    Enjoy the simple pleasures of life, such as a good book or a beautiful view. Any book is a great book if read on the deck of a sailboat.

  • 39

    Learn about the importance of safety and emergency procedures on the water. Your ASA sailing education will get you out on the water sailing safely and confidently.

  • 40

    Start a family tradition of sailing. Create lasting memories that will stay with you for a lifetime. You will never forget a good sailing vacation.