When power boats supplanted sailboats, the argument could be made that mariners were free of the reliance on the vagaries of the wind.
But does that freedom to travel wherever and whenever outweigh the freedom one feels when gliding across the water in a sailboat? Those at the Apprenticeshop in Rockland might have something to say on that question.
The Apprenticeshop, an educational nonprofit founded in 1972, aims to keep the art of wooden boatbuilding alive by providing workshops and extended apprenticeships to students of a wide age range.
To help ensure that sailing remains accessible to the public, the Apprenticeshop began a free community sailing program. Although the summer of the pandemic has limited the number of trips and partcipants, the experience was still shared with a handful of people who might not have otherwise had the opportunity to sail.
I was among them, and—in line with the program’s intention—this was my first time on the water in a sailboat.
According to Nate Hathaway, the Apprenticeshop’s community sailing director, the program serves as a bridge between the past and the present. Fisheries will rise and fall, new marine transportation technology will be developed, but the joy of floating with the wind will never become obsolete.