WHY GO SAILING?
‘Supporting Heritage, Creating Opportunity, Embracing Social Responsibility’
We know from our own experience that sailing in the magnificent setting of the Menai Strait is a tonic which helps us feel better and sleep better but there are many benefits of getting involved in sailing.
Sailing is good for the body and mind. Research confirms the positive effect of sea air: the calming effect of the sound of the water, the benefits of vitamin D from the sun and the release of endorphins for doing an activity we enjoy. There are in addition numerous physical, cognitive and social benefits from being involved as explained below.
THE PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFITS
Sea air is charged with healthy negative ions that accelerate our ability to absorb oxygen. Negative ions also balance levels of serotonin, a body chemical linked to mood and necessary to promote happiness. This is perhaps a partial explanation of a good sleep being due to ‘sea air’.
Studies at Exeter University Medical school found that people living near or spending time on the water are over 20% less likely to experience the effects of both anxiety and depression so promoting psychological benefits. This is supported by the award-winning marine biologist Dr Wallace Nichols who believes that the relaxed nature of ‘boating’ can help to manage issue issues like trauma, grief, and sleep disturbance by lowering cortisol (a hormone related to stress).
THE COGNITIVE AND PHYSICAL BENEFITS
Whether it’s looking out for hazards in the form of other vessels, rocks, and sandbanks (particularly on the Menai Strait), changes in tidal or wind conditions or being alert to the instructions of your sailing team, sailing helps to focus and develop concentration on multiple tasks in hand. On the boat we can all have essential roles to play to keep safely afloat.
Due to its nature, sailing allows for physical exercise through hoisting sails and moorings, hand-eye coordination in trimming the sails while judging distances between yourself and other yachts, or simply by keeping oneself stable on board as the boat negotiates the waves. These coupled with agility flexibility, and balance that may be required gives the potential to have a significant workout.
SOCIAL AND OTHER BENEFITS
The companionship, interaction, and socialisation within the boating community are strong, often with new life-enhancing and enduring relationships developing within their numbers. Whatever type of sailing it is – the novice learning ‘The Ropes’ through to the experienced racer keen to debate the interpretation of racing rules – conversation is an inherent part of participation. This is expanded by social events associated with sailing.
As MSHS uses the Menai Straits One Design yacht, a yacht designed and built to sail and race on the Menai Straits, the versatility of what we can offer is significant. Sailing at all states of the tide, we can take people for a gentle sail with the family, moor off Lady Magdalen's beach for a swim or a picnic, or sail into the bays around Abermenai to camp overnight. For the more adventurous, the opportunity to race the boats (in what is quite a competitive fleet) further widens the appeal and variety of the benefits of sailing.
Cole, Brian & Walter, Jess (article) with Podcast (Graves, Natalie): Mental Health and Wellness in Sports https://sportsmedicineweekly.com/fitness/the-surprising-physical-and-mental-health-benefits-of-boating/
Nichols, Wallace J; Blue Mind Papers https://www.openwaterpedia.com/wiki/Blue_Mind:_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
Exeter University: Ocean, Human Health and Wellbeing