The Power of Water and Sailing

About: The Value of Nature

Why do some of the world’s finest creators and innovators head to the water to relax? To be at the water, but especially on the water or in the water. More specifically sailing allows you to be close to the water and experience the water, the wind, the skies and of course our own star the Sun.

The answer is in psychology and biology. It shows a powerful link between water and the positive impact it has on our brains. The closeness to water can make people happier, healthier, more connected and better at what you do: “The surprising science that shows how being near, in, on, or under water can make you happier, healthier, more connected, and better at what you do.”

Kids Happy to Learn to Sail (e.g. look forward not backward 🙂 )

Rivers, lakes and the sea help us enter a meditative state of relaxation and give our brains a break from overwhelming environments where you are constantly processing information. This helps you enormously to get in touch with your creativity and innovation powers, such as thinking, feeling and social communication. So, it makes sense that people are drawn to the water and to sail the beautiful archipelagos, for example in Tahiti, Croatia, The Baltic, The Netherlands, The Mediterranean. It gets us closer to the creative and innovative connection that sailing these water and islands provide.

It is counterintuitive and almost paradoxical to learn that it is possible to go against the wind and the waves. And also that a sailing boat moves faster forward when the wind comes from the side then when the wind comes from behind. Or that one can steer a boat with the sails. And the route from one point to another point is never the same.

One has to continuously adjust for the direction and power of the wind and the speed of boat and the fullness of the sails. It is a combination of art, mind and also physical ability. All the muscles are used and one has to think all the time about a thousand things at the same time, adapt and look into the future. Sounds remarkable familiar to what we call consciousness and intelligence.

Kon-tiki Expedition by Thor Heyerdahl

Human beings have learnt to sail boats very early in history, think about the Kon-tiki raft made from balsa wood, that reached Tahiti from Peru. And kids can learn to sail from a very early age already in little Optimist boats with just one sail. Being able to think creatively is a skill that, once learned, can then be applied in every type of life situation, and sailing and windsurfing are brilliant at encouraging and nurturing that ability in kids. It facilitates a flexible mind forever because it is a requirement. Motorboats on the other hand are more point A to point B thinking, which can be very useful too.

Therefore, it is not a big surprise that very innovative and creative thinkers are often water, sailing and boating lovers. Such as Albert Einstein in the Americas – He may have delivered the General Theory of Relativity, but he was also known for sailing while thinking and often grounding on sandbars in the tidal estuary, Long Island Sound. He was said to love doldrums sailing and meditating while drifting, even though he couldn’t swim. He already had sailing boats in Germany as well. He called hist boat just “My thick sailing boat” or Tümmler. It was designed and built under his supervision and had a 2 stroke 6hp engine and was a 20sqm Dinghy Cruiser – Jollenkreuzer with a Bermuda sail on his request.

Rudolf Kayser, the husband of Einstein’s stepdaughter Ilse wrote in his Einstein biography under the pseudonym Anton Reiser in 1930: “While his hand holds the rudder Einstein explains with joy his latest scientific ideas to his present friends. He sails the boat with the skill and fearlessness of a child. He himself hoists the sails, climbs around on the sailing boat to tighten the tows and ropes and handles bars and hooks to set sails. The joy with this hobby can be seen in his face, it echoes in his words and in his happy smile.” 🙂

Einstein’s Energy for his Boats
Einstein sailing in the US on Tinef (Jiddish for junk) on Taranac Lake. He wrecked it on a rock actually.

Herbert von Karajan, the famous music director learned to sail very early with small boats. Later in his career he created bigger boats called Helisara (named after himself, his wife and his daughters). He used these boats to race on the Mediterranean. He had an inexhaustible passion for the sea and the sailing sport: always striving for perfection and stressing the best of himself, the boat and the whole crew. Very similar to directing an orchestra, with the water as the music the orchestra plays.

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Herbert and Eliette on Helisara

James Dyson, the inventor who delivered the bagless vacuum cleaner to the world owns one of the largest classic yachts, Nahlin. This 300ft steamer was chartered by King Edward VIII in the Adriatic just before the infamous abdication. Found on the Danube, she was rescued and has been spotted sailing off the coast of Tarragona and recently in Stockholm.

Creative thinkers can be described as inquisitive, collaborative, imaginative, persistent and disciplined. To be on the water, sailing and boating is both purposeful and valuable. The closeness to water can make people happier, healthier, more connected and better at what they do.

Or just to get some icecream by lesser Gods!

Recommendation: Relax by often going out in the nature, especially on the water side. The journey is already the destination! A sailing boat is a further recommendation, smaller or bigger.

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