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Sailing Story: Greg Hansen

The sailing ‘bug’ hit Greg Hansen early in life. 

text“I was actually at a church camp up on Flathead and they had a little Sunfish,” Greg said, explaining how he took the little boat out on the water and tried to teach himself to sail. “I dunked myself more than once,” he laughed.

However, the ‘sailing bug’ Greg caught lay dormant for years as Greg’s life pulled him in other directions. He joined the Air Force, traveled the world, and then, years later, found himself back in Montana. 

After settling back in his home state, Greg serendipitously found himself drawn back to sailing.  

“I was dinking around on Craigslist and saw a sailboat for a ridiculously low price,” he explained. “I called the guy and asked ‘is this price a mistake?’.”

It turns out it wasn’t and Greg immediately bought the boat. 

“My wife said before you take that thing out, you are going to learn how to sail,” he said. As a present, she paid for his ASA 101 course with Go Sail Flathead Lake. 

“For me it was — you kind of get an aha moment,” Greg began, explaining his time out with Captain Chad Crist learning to sail. “This is really what I like to do.”

For Greg the magic really came when they would turn the sailboat’s motor off and become one with the wind, the water, the environment.  

“Just the ability to move about on the water using nothing more than the equipment that’s on the boat and the wind,” Greg reflected. “There is something visceral about being able to control the wind and use that motion.”

After taking ASA 101, Greg felt ready to go sailing on his own. “I felt like I learned enough to take my own boat out and learn to operate it safely,” he explained. “[ASA 101] is everything you need to know to get out on the water.”

However, Greg’s wife found herself a bit more hesitant to trust the skills of her new sailor husband so quickly. “She wasn’t used to a boat keeling over when the wind blows so it scared the bejeebers out of her,” he said. 

However, after getting more comfortable with Greg’s sailing, his wife now feels more than comfortable joining him on his Flathead Lake adventures. “Now she lays out on the leeward side and takes a nap while I sail,” he laughed. He jokingly calls this “assuming her customary role as Admiral.”a close up of a boat next to a body of water

And as Greg’s experience grew, he realized he would like to share his love of sailing with others too. Last season, Greg became a charter captain with Go Sail Flathead Lake.

“It’s fun for me because I’m a people person and I get to meet new people,” he explained. “For me, I get a charge out of that!”

One of Greg’s favorite things about taking people out on the water is seeing them catch the sailing “bug” too. 

“I like my time out on the water and I like sharing that with people,” he said. “I have yet to do a charter where anyone said ‘this is boring, this isn’t my thing.’”