“School’s out, the sailing season is ahead and it’s the longest days of the year so it’s time to celebrate sailing!” John Arndt
The Summer Sailstice is a global sailing event celebrated on the weekend closest to the Summer Solstice. This year, it officially begins on June 21 at 1:04 A.M. EDT in North America.
Summer Sailstice was founded in February 2001 by John Arndt, a lifelong sailor and associate publisher of Latitude 38 magazine. He wanted a means to connect the global sailing community in a fun, creative, multifaceted, multi-location sailing holiday. Every year, the event draws more than 19,000 sailors all over the world to celebrate the showcase life under the sail.
The event is free to all participants and has grown from 200 boats signed up in 2001 to almost 5,000 boats today. Since many sailors join in the fun on many different boats, the actual number of Summer Sailstice sailors participating is estimated at almost 19,000 annually.
Organizers strive to inform and mobilize sailors, their families and communities to enjoy and conserve the beauty of the oceans and while raising awareness of human impacts on the fragile marine environment and wildlife.
In the Orlando area, participants can take sail at Lake Monroe in Sanford and Lake Eustis. But onlookers, including wishful eyes, are welcomed and encouraged to join in the fun.
Other Florida “Sailstice” locations include: Sarasota Bay, Key Largo, Tarpon Springs, and Melbourne.
Events are also scheduled throughout the world from Toronto, Canada to Bora Bora and many points in between.
Summer Sailstice also serves as a means to showcase the many different sailing options: tall ships, kiteboarding, racing, cruising, classic yacht restoration or simply sailing a small Sunfish sailboat or a Hobie Cat.
Event organizers say that sailing brings people back to fundamentals and that spending time on a boat brings out the best of human nature.
Through the Summer Sailstice events, participants share stories, laugh with fellow sailors and gain more experience.
“Sailing creates humility and wonder, anything from a raging storm on the sea to the peace and tranquility enables you to capture the moment in a way never seen before,” Melissa Williams, a professional sailor responding to the question how sailing makes her feel.
“Sailing enables you to recharge your batteries and escape from the stress of everyday life. Sailing creates a feeling of freedom.”