Can sailing improve your posture?
Last evening Rebecca and I, along with our friends on Brilliant, traveled by bus to the cinema to watch the new Jason Bourne movie. Yes, believe it our not, Grenada has a pretty nice, triple-screen theater, and they show some first-run movies. Anyway, while I’m not sure exactly how it came about, one of the topics of conversation while we were seated in the bus was how often people in modern society tend to have their heads down, staring at their smart phones. I will freely admit that I can sometimes be included in this head-down category, even though I do consciously try to avoid making it a habit because I know that it is bad for you. What’s interesting to me is just how different this posture is from what we often have while sailing.
From the very first time we raised a mainsail, we were instructed to look up. Keeping your eyes aloft in this case, rather than just pulling on the halyard unaware of what’s going on above you, prevents you from causing damage. If you can see the sail, you can time raising it to keep the battens clear of the lazy jacks, and you can avoid over trimming the halyard, damaging the sail itself and/or the control lines.
Note my head-up posture in this video. Our friends sailed this boat to Patagonia!
When actively sailing, it’s important to at least periodically check the status of the sail trim, looking up at the sail shape and telltale position. And even though you may have had the telltales streaming properly a moment ago, the wind and boat course will change, often necessitating a sheet adjustment. Of course, for many cruisers, if the sails are even remotely trimmed properly, they are happy. Racers look at things completely different though! I remember that while taking part in a fun club race in Trinidad, I somehow ended up being responsible for jib trim. If I took my eyes off the sails for even a second, the Captain would be all over me! 🙂
Keeping my eyes on the telltales while racing in Trinidad. We won our class!