The water this morning is a deep shade of navy blue, but not as deep as you might imagine, so you'll have to throw a splash of white into that navy blue paint in order to most accurately reflect the color of the water today. The color is only made possible by the cloudless sky, and it's quite a sight to behold. If I were to walk down to the lake right now and snap a picture, it would look quite beautiful. You know how that picture would look even better? Not if I lined up a veritable armada of power boats. Not if I accumulated a dozen waverunners. Those sorts of watercraft rarely improve upon a picture. But if I took a sailboat or twenty and set those cheery bright sails against that deep blue water and forested shoreline, then I'd really be onto something.
Sailboats and Geneva go hand in hand. It's impossible to look through a stack of vintage Lake Geneva postcards and not find several dedicated to a scow of some sort. It's also nearly impossible to traverse the lake on a day like today, a day where the southern breeze is just perfect for a spirited sail, and not find a several sailors out tacking to the East and to the West, making their way across and around the lake. Today is a day made for sailing, and where better to indulge your inner Buddy Melges than on such a lake made for sailing. Sailing is also a great way to work on your Tommy Boy lines. Need a little wind here.
I personally have had an interesting history with the sailboat. My father has always kept a stable of boats, some beautiful, most not. He had a red Laser that I grew up sailing, though I never really liked to sail that boat until I was out of high school. Even then, sailing was more about turtling the boat and climbing onto the wooden keel to coax the sail back into the air. A particular treat was taking a girlfriend out and dumping the boat. Ah, the fine art of adolescent flirting, performed seamlessly- no, moronically- by yours truly with the help of a stiff wind. Those sailing excursions were usually short lived, as were the relationships that included me dumping myself and the girls into the water mid-sail.
Today, my back limits my sailing adventures, but that doesn't mean I don't love watching sailboats on Geneva. Whether they're in a frenzied race around the giant orange buoy, or just bobbing along casually, having long since out-sailed their wind, I love a good sailboat. I head out in the boat often during the summer to watch the various regattas and sailing practices that originate from the Lake Geneva Yacht Club (easy to join, if you're in the mood), and my kids find those rides as captivating as I do. There are set regattas throughout the year, from April through October, but Tuesday nights, Friday nights, and Sunday mornings, races can usually be found somewhere on the lake. Below is a video of one such sailboat watching ride, though the wind in the camera is a bit unsettling and may cause your ears to bleed. Best to turn down the sound.
If you're like me and you'd rather watch sailboats than captain them, the Geneva Lake Sailing School offers an easy and affordable way to introduce your kids to the sport (your kids, or grandkids, or nieces, or nephews, or friends kids- or no one's kids- hopefully I just covered my fair housing bases.) The sailing school has been teaching kids to sail for over 70 years here, and it's a fantastically easy opportunity to teach a youngster a skill that they'll possess for the rest of their lives. The school operates with week-long sessions, called "camps", and the sessions are available for kids as young as 7 or as old as 17. The weekly classes started this week, and will run through the first week of August. Cost varies, but it's anywhere from $350 to $450 for the week. They also offer adult classes, with a very basic "learn to sail" class starting at $150.
This summer, young Thomas will be learning to sail. I'll be the proud, yet overtly obnoxious, dad following behind his cute little sail dinghy with video camera in hand, screaming "tack! Now! TACK NOW!" I'm kidding. I'll be encouraging, and I promise to only scream "TACK!" when it's absolutely necessary.
That too was a joke. Either way, it's a great day for sailing, and an even better day for watching someone else sail. See you at the lake.