- May 21, 2013
- May 12, 2013
- May 09, 2013
Gus Hancock, 73, of Chicago, began sailing with his father in an Old Town canoe in 1950. A deserted beach, a tarp and a campfire were their accommodations during early cruises on Barnegat Bay before they garage-built a 16-foot wooden daysailer. Offshore adventures followed, including Newport-Bermuda races and cruises to the Bay of Fundy in the 1960s. In 1970, Gus crewed on a Cal 37 in the Los Angeles to Tahiti Transpac Race and spent the summer cruising Tahiti, the Tuamotus, the Marquesas and Hawaii.
If you promise not to tell too many people, I’ll let you in on a little cruising secret: Bocas del Toro. Located on the Caribbean coast of Panama near the Costa Rican border, this unspoiled archipelago of nine big islands and many smaller ones creates an inland sea where the breezes are so tranquil the waves rarely exceed knee height. And because Panama is south of the hurricane zone, there is no “season.” You can safely cruise here all year round.
One reason I like sailing is that it is one of the few endeavors in which the concept of individual responsibility still has meaning. It is much easier to blame someone or something else for the consequences of your decisions than to admit any fault on your own part—it goes back as far as Eve and the serpent—but on a small boat you soon run out of things to point your finger at.
When you’re under sail, your boat will not be traveling a straight line through the water but will drift slightly to leeward. The amount of “leeway” a sailboat makes is dependent on many factors—wind strength, hull shape, and current—