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Sailing: A sport dependent on nature

The Swiss lakes are beautiful and crystal blue, flanked by the country's dazzling mountains and lush fields. They are perfect for sailing and are vitalising to the soul, and Lake Urnersee — a fjord-ish finger attached to Lake Lucerne — is one of the most stunning. As you sail through its turquoise waters, the rugged mountain landscape which flanks either side in Flüelen and Brunnen craft an imposing panorama you won't soon forget. There is truly nothing better than spending a beautiful day in Switzerland sailing across these waters. With many sections and parts, Lake Lucerne is like a microcosm of Switzerland's history and culture. In the perfect conditions, it is a glorious lake to sail. We arrived at the lakeside after lunch, unmoored and set off, intent on making as much leg way as possible over Lake Lucerne. The wind predictions for the day had been great, and we expected to make serious gains and have serious sailing on the waters. By the time we arrived in the Basin of Gersau, however we saw only our still reflection in its waters. There was little wind. We decided to motor up and navigate over to Urnersee, an area normally active due to the thermal winds, and a great place to sail and lap up the landscape. By 5pm, however, we hadn't moved. We normally wouldn't sail if the predictions had been this dire, so we waited and waited. Capitulating, we decided to sail back to land; we had been out at sail for too long with little wind. Suddenly, however, the wind kicked in and it kicked in hard. With gusts of up to 28 knots of true wind, our patience payed off and we sailed until the sun set over this formidable Swiss landscape. With waves lashing and the sail tacking across the lake, it became one of our best sailing trips. Mountains, hills, villages and shoreline activity all blurred into an absorbing spectacle as we embraced the last of the wind. The nature of sailing holds many surprises and misadventures, but composure and fortitude almost always pays off. After all, we rely on the weather and the wind for our performance as sailors. We could spend our whole life waiting for these optimal conditions, and sometimes part of the adventure is found in the waiting. When you choose to sail you can't choose the weather, but when the weather is perfect, there is nothing greater.

Photography by Sébastien Rohner

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