07/07/2013 02:01 pm ET Updated Sep 06, 2013

Why Sailing is One of My Favorite Pastimes

This summer, I am doing something I have never done before. I am currently doing a five week long internship at a Hudson River Community Sailing (HRCS for short), which holds a weeklong or longer camp. The camp is for children who have sailed before or have never even been on a boat. I have had a lot of experience on sailboats, so when I sent in an email asking if there was anyway I could help out with the camp, they accepted me as a intern.

I began to learn how to sail when I was about 7, and I haven't stopped yet. I remember when I was in a sunfish, a small, single-mast sailboat, with my brother for the first time. I also remember when he handed me the tiller, and said, "Just try to make sense of how this works, and tell me if I should pull in the sail or let it out." For the next half-hour, I sailed into the wind, directing us away from where we needed to be, and almost crashed the boat. Even though I was sailing terribly, my brother kept trying to teach me how to do it. I started to get the hang of it, and there is no feeling that compares to how I felt when the wind filled my sails and we began to keel. There is something that is so elating about the thought of using nature to my advantage and controlling the wind for my own use.

This is why I love sailing. It makes me powerful, that I use nature to move across water. As time moved on, I began to love sailing for the science of how it works. Once I began to learn how a sailboat uses wind and it's sails to move it, I delved into a deeper part of sailing. Even though I'm an intern at HRCS, they are still teaching me parts of sailing that I didn't know before. I learned about points of sail (what it is called when wind hits the boat in a certain direction and how far out the sails are to compensate), tide, how the boat displaces water to keep itself buoyant and to hold cargo/people, and even how the ebb and flooding of the Hudson affects where we travel and when would be the opportune time to leave and begin to return from a trip.

Sailing involves so much more than just understanding how a boat uses the wind to move through water. Sailing requires a certain appreciation for your surroundings and environment. If you don't respect whatever amount of water you're sailing in, whether it's a pond, river, lake, or ocean, nature will not be nice just for you. The trick to treating your surrounds with respect while sailing is to constantly stay vigilant so that if the wind begins to shift, you can stay on top of it and alter your course accordingly so that you aren't caught off guard later.

When I sail, especially on the Hudson, I feel a certain sense of happiness that I don't get from anywhere else. I feel as though if I can control the wind, a powerful force of nature, then I can easily control parts of my life that seem difficult. Sailing is a pastime that always keeps me on my toes, and I plan to keep sailing as long as I can.