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OCSC Women’s Moonlit Sail

They swayed. Their vessel was like a dancing mermaid, bravely gliding right and left, rolling forward with the world’s natural singing breath – the wind. Caught in cool air, beneath an open sky of stars, and above the depths of ocean water, the mermaid swayed. And in her arms, six women moved about…pulling ropes, wrapping fibers, blazing smiles, calling cues, and gently turning the wheel. These brave women navigated the dark waters, mesmerized by the San Francisco lights and the silence of the Bay…but their courageous spirits mesmerized me. Six women came together; strangers to one another and some foreigners to sailing, but within minutes were clad in waders and jackets, beaming with excitement, and working together – with mother nature – to dance the mermaid across the bay. As our sailboat progressed along its journey, the women also offered stories of their journeys, past and present, and reflected on how they had arrived there that day…

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On a boat. In the bay. With a group of strangers. Learning to sail. Listening to silence.

Glistening. Everywhere, there was glistening. The lights on the waves. In the eyes. On the sail masts and the boom. Across the San Francisco skyscrapers. Glistening.

We had the oldest female yacht racer, a teacher, a world traveler, a mother, a student, high heels, high spirits, and even higher standards – for ourselves. There was rich conversation that spanned the topics of mechanics of the boat to the mechanics of the female body, and the nuts and bolts of the heart. Women with the tenacity and courage to spend their Wednesday evening in the company of other spontaneous women is not uncommon, but always astounding. Alicia, our veteran and captain, welcomed us into the OCSC sailing club with profound rassurance and excitement. We were encouraged to ask questions, assist with the sail, or simply sit and enjoy the experience.

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Women. Waves. Water. Woah… now sisters sailing. The sisterhood was there from the moment they stepped onto the dock, however, ready to put their trust in one another and work collaboratively to dance on the ocean…

When we returned to stable land, now united more through our laughter, cuddling close on the boat, carefully walking the ledges, and discussing our lives…we celebrated with steamy cheesy chili, crunchy greens, and sugary delights. We toasted to the women who have jumped before us, and those we hope to inspire to take the plunge throughout their lives… jumping in or toward anything that sparks passion, fear, or uncertainty in their life. When you sail, you always “point positive,” toward the direction you want or need to go. You do not focus on an obstacle, but rather jump right in and just turn toward a better direction…

That night, each woman was able to point us positive. Every one of us took a hand at steering the sails, finding out that even the slightest movement could quickly change the entire direction of the boat, and at the mercy of mother nature’s whispering winds, one could never entirely prepare or predict the journey. Good lessons for life…

Trust your internal compass. Know that micro-adjustments can create huge change. Enjoy the mermaid’s dance. And glisten.

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Special thank you to Johnny and Alicia from OCSC Sailing Club for sponsoring our Moonlit Sail and potluck.

By: Chelsea Hill, SJ Ambassador for California Bay Area

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