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Hoist up your sails

Foss Waterway Seaport offers sailing for beginners

We are a region of water. So get out on it with the help of the Foss Waterway Seaport. File photo

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In the song "Sloop John B," Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys detail a catastrophic sailing expedition that erupts in a booze-driven saga of fist-fights and stolen corn. The protagonist just wants to get home, but first he must hoist the sails and turn the boat back toward where they came from. It's an anxiety that exists amongst a lot of people who have fears of leaving their abode for the wide open spaces - albeit an extreme example wherein the inciting incident is seemingly everyone getting loaded, but you get the picture.

As it happens, while there are certain dangers to setting out on the sea, getting on a boat and hitting the water is a glorious way to spend a bright summer day. Foss Waterway Seaport is offering programs for beginners to find their sea legs in the comfort of the Puget Sound. Walker Bay sailing boats will be provided for people enrolled in the course - boats that are easy for beginners to control without crashing on the jagged rocks of the Sound. After all, no one wants a three-hour tour to go south, even if you find yourself in the company of an actress and a girl next door (to say nothing of that dashing professor).

Whenever I've gotten the nerve and overcome the motion sickness, I've always found that being on a boat is a fundamentally engaging experience. Finding yourself out on the open waves, really taking in the beauty that the Pacific Northwest is constantly hanging directly under our noses, and actually getting the sensation that you're participating in the lovely and chaotic nature of the world is an immensely fulfilling experience. Getting a little sunburn is the mark of pride following a day of running your hands through the waters of the Puget Sound.

The sailing program is on July 25th, while the motorless excursion of the paddle board and kayak program will be conducted July 11. For sailing, there are morning and afternoon classes for $20 (reservations strongly encouraged, seeing as how only 20 people will be admitted per lesson). As for the paddle lessons, those will also cost $20 per person, but will feature two lessons of paddle-boarding and one of kayaking. For an additional $5, you can have access to the outstanding museum at the Foss Waterway Seaport, which is a great way to learn about seafaring and Pacific Northwest history.

FOSS WATERWAY SEAPORT, July 11, paddle lessons, $20, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., July 25, sailing lessons, $20, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., 705 Dock St., Tacoma, 253.272.2750

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