Sailing Dry

no drinking We don't drink when we sail. We know lots of sailors who do. Many indulge in a glass of wine or a beer around dinner time … the proverbial sundowner. Perhaps some might overindulge. We prefer to sail dry for many reasons.

First and foremost is safety. It's so easy to have a drink and then a second drink. Alcohol does impair your reaction time and your decision-making process. Things happen quickly at sea and you need to be alert and ready … all the time. We don't drink while driving a car on land and there are strict laws against it for good reason. We consider drinking while sailing the same. To our knowledge, there are no rules governing having a drink while you're behind the helm, but common sense dictates that we don't. We don't judge those who do; we just prefer not to.

We find when we're at sea, on long passages especially, we lose weight. This is a good thing. It's not because we eat that much less. It's because we don't have lots of junk food to snack on and we don't drink alcohol. Omitting those high calorie glasses of beer and wine are definitely good for our waistlines.

I admit that we pretty much drink daily when we're on land. We're not hard liquor advocates. It's beer and wine that we prefer and we usually have a drink or two around dinner time. It's easy to make it a habit and it's good to know that we can go without if we choose to. The first couple of days at sea, neither beer nor wine are at all appealing. After the first couple of days, we really don't miss it at all. When we're a day or two from shore, we start thinking how nice a sundowner might be, but in our 15 years, we've never varied from our sail-dry routine at sea.

Once we're in a secure anchorage or a marina after a long passage, that first glass of beer or wine is absolutely wonderful. We savor the taste with pleasure and, as you might expect, one glass of wine or beer after a few weeks of abstinence is enough to make us tipsy. We call it the “end of passage high”.