Inaugural World Naked Sailing Day — Sounds Like a Bad Idea to Me


A group in Buffalo, New York is sponsoring the first World Naked Sailing Day today. Buffalo is on Lake Erie so there are no shortage of sailboats for those who wish take “bareboating” to a whole new level. The organizers suggest that August 1, or 8/1, is an auspicious date as the number 8 turned sideways might suggest a woman’s breasts, while the number 1 is the most phallic of Arabic numbers. Apparently, the event was inspired by World Naked Bike Riding Day and World Naked Gardening Day.

World Naked Sailing Day seems like a remarkably bad idea to me. Don’t get me wrong, I like naked. I have spent considerable time on nude beaches appropriately déshabillé and will do so again as the opportunity presents itself. Nevertheless, I don’t think I will be sailing nude anytime soon, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with modesty.  First, I burn easily and applying sun screen effectively everywhere that can burn takes time and care.  It is amazing how much the parts you miss can hurt when they do inevitably burn.   

My second concern are the many bumps, bruises and scrapes I acquire in even just a weekend’s sailing.  No big deal, but a consideration. Clothing is reasonably effective protection for the sensitive parts, not just against sunburn but also against rope burns, knocks, battering and pinches by lines, coamings, shackles and winch handles.  Also, if I am sailing naked, where do I clip the lanyard for my rigging knife? 

My guess is that the organizers of the event are not experienced sailors. Newell Nussbaumer writes in Buffalo Rising, “In order to get WNSD off the ground, we needed to rent a sailboat.”  So, this event may be enthusiasm untainted by experience. 

There are lots of good reasons to get naked.  I am just not sure that sailing is necessarily one of them.  Once the anchor is down and set, that may be a different matter. 

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5 Responses to Inaugural World Naked Sailing Day — Sounds Like a Bad Idea to Me

  1. Irwin Bryan says:

    You know I follow Sailing News and Stories. The first group of stories in my email today includes:
    “Kids learn about life on the water at Sail Buffalo camp”!
    Another reason naked sailing in Buffalo is a bad idea!

  2. dennis says:

    interesting find and well said, Rick!

  3. Howard Couvillon says:

    I sailed a 52′ steel Ketch from New Orleans to San Diego in the late 70’s; most every Island in the Carribean from Bahamas (San Salvador – Turks and Caicos) to The Dutch ABC’s and the San Blas with the Cuna, through the Canal and to the Galapagos and back via the gulfs of Papagayo and Tehuantapec, almost 9 months and 10,000 mi. In the effort to feel really “Free”, I stripped down to my speedos a few times. I never shimmied up the main mast to fetch a lost halyard, as we had a bosuns chair. I did meet an Aussie from Adelaide along the Spanish Main, who did sail naked almost always. He did shimmy up his main to perform some masthed work and then slid down again, only to catch his scrotum on a cleat. I was told it was not a pretty sight.

  4. Rusty says:

    Have you ever been sailing in the tropics? It may not be talked about that much, but this is extremely common. No more sunscreen is required than was for your trip to the nude beach. After all, who do you think Biminis & awnings are for? 🙂

  5. Chris Roche says:

    I do not know about the tropics but I got the kit off as follows we were sailing with Australians who generally feel the cold and complain as much as anyone else. It was 1991 and we had been at sea a month out of Auckland when after we had gone below 50 south on the Cape Horn Road just to show the Australians it was not so cold as they thought, I came up on deck lay out a towel put he camera down and the sunglasses on and stripped to my swimmers, whence one of the girls said what about the rest well, I took them off and then after stretching ran right round the deck of SOREN LARSEN, I am claiming to have streaked further south than anyone else ever has. Now someone picked up my little Olympus XA11 and took a photo I found after I got home months later.