Manhattan is an island

Manhattan is an island | 12° West

Manhattan is an island

I learned to sail when I moved to New York City. Before that, I had never even set foot on a sailboat. It’s kind of strange to take up sailing in the country’s largest city. But I lived in Manhattan, and after all, Manhattan is an island.

I moved to New York for a job, and my cubicle in a high rise in lower Manhattan faced south and west over New York Harbor with a view to the Statue of Liberty. Just below our office building, there was a marina and sailing school. Every evening, from my desk, I watched the fleet of boats head out into the harbor. And often, still at my desk, I would see them come back in at sunset. Walking past the marina on my way home, I saw sailors hanging out, sharing a drink and talking and laughing on the docks. Something inside said, “I want to be one of them.”

With some work friends, I signed up for a Learn To Sail course. I was instantly hooked. None of my friends stuck with it, but I became a regular at the sailing club. It was astounding to me that I could step off the docks in lower Manhattan and be transported to a completely different world. It’s still astounding, actually. One minute you’re bustling about in one of the world’s busiest cities, and a few minutes later you’re on the water, moving to a completely different rhythm. There is a calm and peace there that was – and still is – completely unexpected.

After years of moving all over the country – Southwest Virginia, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Dallas – I finally found myself on an island. Surrounded by water in the middle of a crowded, buzzing, high rise urban landscape. Because Manhattan is an island, I found sailing. And that changed everything.

Read more about our sailing journey:

How a mountain girl became a sailor

Finding a passion, and a path