I’m in the sailing capital of America on a 22-foot J/70 called the “Danger Mouse” when I learn that helming a boat going 11 knots will blow you right out of your comfort zone.
“Everyone ready to jibe?” I manage to squeak.
“Ready!” says the newbie crew, before moving across the boat. I stand up and do the tiller tango: glide sideways, duck under the boom, steer towards the next mark on the horizon, don’t hit the deck. At one point, the sail catches a puff of wind and some salty words like “Holy Helly Hansen!” fly out as I steady the tiller, which I surprisingly love operating.
As the J/70 surfs downwind, the bright red spinnaker sail with its fearsome cartoon mouse cuts a striking figure against the blue ombré sky. The estuary around us pulses with nautical enthusiasts: an older couple out for a day sail, a fleet of toy-sized 420s practicing race starts, sightseers on the Schooner Woodwind, a man and his dog in an inflatable dinghy. It’s just a regular Wednesday afternoon in Annapolis, Maryland.
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