Friday, April 15, 2005

Sailing in the low country

We flew to the Southern Carolina low country today for a wedding...followed by a week of R&R on Kiawah Island. I missed Charleston Race Week (April 7-10) so this wouldn’t be worth mentioning save for tonights wedding cocktail party at the Carolina Yacht Club in the downtown Charleston historic district. Tonight at the party I stepped outside to the waters edge and watched the sun set on a breezy Charleston Harbor – spray from the white caps reflecting the glow, sailboats tossing and thrashing at their moorings. The party was in an annex off the clubhouse so I made an excuse to walk into the main building, smoothed my way past the desk into the sitting room, dining room, etc. A central part of sailing culture, for better or for worse, is certain established yacht clubs founded in the late 19th century – they inject history into a new world that, while very different, still craves that link. Yes, the Carolina Yacht Club is antediluvian, anachronistic and unrepentant. But it is very beautiful. It has presence. There is a sense that you are in a living museum – a place given to equal parts relevance and precedent. Where can you get that today but a really well attended church? Like a church these types of clubs challenge the secular minded…but they are a part of the fabric of sailing.

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