Sailing in weak wind and strong current – when the environment is against us!

On a lazy Saturday afternoon, I was out sailing in the Ligurian Sea with friends. We wanted to sail and not use the engine, to live at the fullest the experience of the wind being our only energy source.


It was my third time on Argo, the lovely sailing boat belonging to a friend, and I had started to enjoy the slow rhythm of sailing, so different from the usual pace of the world. As we started to head back to the harbor, the wind was uneven, it had some gusts, then stopped. But we saw the boat moving, heard the noise as it glided through the sea, felt that we were making progress.

And yet, we weren’t. We never got by the white house on top of the cliff that had become our signpost. There was a current that was pushing us back where we came from every time the wind abated, and we could never have enough wind to move out of the current.

When we realized that we were never getting beyond the white house, as the environment was against us, we started the engine and moved out of the current, then went back to sailing.

Weak wind and strong current - when the environment is against us
The little white house!!


As we were finally moving towards the harbor, I relaxed under the sun and thought that what happened had implications that went beyond the realm of sailing:

  • no matter how hard we try, it’s still possible that we have elements against us and we don’t move (a strong current and a weak wind). This, will eventually pass, as currents change, but we should consider how we spend our energy during that time;
  • we need to be alert and constantly observe our environment (it took us a while to be aware that we were not moving). Awareness is key. And it’s good to pick (a small white house as) a reference point;
  • let’s not hesitate to change tactics (turn on the engine) or ask for help to navigate dire straits. 

I hope you are enjoying your summer holidays and are having experiences that enrich you!