Sailing is an extraordinary, multifaceted pastime. It can be very relaxing when the sea or lake is calm, the sun shining, the winds light and the silence all-enveloping. Piloting a keelboat, enjoying a moment of bliss as you admire the crimson sky at twilight. Sailing can also be a thrilling sport when the wind is in the mainsail and genoa, causing the boat to list with the swell, forcing you to focus both your muscles and mind on the electrifying task of controlling the vessel.
Throughout my adolescence, I sailed on Lake of Two Mountains and Lake Champlain aboard my parents’ 32-foot Gulf, creating unforgettable memories. According to the Dalai Lama, having positive emotions can lead to happiness; I fully agree.
Sailing enthusiasts are delighted to describe the feelings and joy they experience. Witnessing a sunrise or sunset from the deck of a sailboat, dropping anchor to spend the night in a bay surrounded by mountains with only the sound of lapping waves, discovering the camaraderie of a marina, going on holiday with friends in three or four other boats—all of these experiences offer moments of peace, a break in the normal rush of life.
Carmen Morais and Luc Sarrazin, two teachers from the Laurentians, went sailing for six months on two different occasions when their three children were young. “It was pure bliss,” explains Carmen. “These adventures really brought us closer together as a family. Now, the children are all adults with strong personalities: outgoing, positive, and confident.” Sailing is a sport that provides a real-world education.
There are many marinas where you can learn to sail, on boats with either a fixed keel or a centreboard. The St. Lawrence River, Lake of Two Mountains, Lake Memphremagog (surrounded by the beautiful mountains of the Eastern Townships), Lake Témiscouata, Lake St-Jean and even the Saguenay River are all interesting places to sail in Quebec.
Of course, when you do not own your own boat, the ultimate luxury is to go for a cruise on a sailing yacht or catamaran, with or without a captain. Some possible destinations are the Bahamas, Brittany, the Greek Islands, Thailand, the Grenadines, and the Virgin Islands. You have the option of sitting back and letting others make all the arrangements or you can help with the sailing plan. Specialized agencies offer package deals from Quebec, including flights.
Life is an adventure—spoil yourself!