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Sailing Story: Patrick Robbins

a man holding a signJune 2023 was Patrick Robbins first taste of sailing— but it was by no means his first encounter with adventure. 


At 16, Patrick left his home state of Wisconsin and traveled to Ecuador. He’s been chasing new experiences ever since. Those adventures have been both international (like trips to Fiji, Europe, and Jamaica) but also within the U.S. as well. He’s worked in Bryce National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Glacier National Park.


He said the unknown often drove him to travel and discover more. ““It’s just that natural instinct of what’s over the next ridge and what’s over the next bend,” he explained. 


In the national parks Patrick discovered his favorite adventures are the least discovered ones. “I love remote wilderness, “ he said. “[But] the mountains are getting kind of full of people these days.” 


That’s when the thought of exploring remote waters entered Patrick’s mind. Patrick had grown up on lakes but he didn’t like “the powerboat scene” that he’d become familiar with in Wisconsin.“I don’t prefer the power boat style with loud engines. I prefer human powered,” he said. 


Originally, he turned to rafting. “I’ve been learning how to row rafts for the last 7 years or so,” he said. “I’ve rode down the Grand Canyon.”


However, more recently he’s become interested in sailing. “It’s been a dream of mine for the past 5 or 6 years,” he explained. This year, he turned that dream into a reality by taking ASA courses with Go Sail Flathead Lake.  


“I was just ready to dive into it,” Patrick said about attending the sailing classes. “There is a whole new world of adventure opportunities out there that I can’t wait to dabble in a little bit.”


Now Patrick has gotten his feet wet— he can’t wait to continue sailing and learning new tricks of the trade. ““I thought heeling the boat over would be kind of scary but it was a pretty neat feeling to be clipping along in the water like that,” he said excitedly.  


He’s already filling out an application for his local yacht club, mulling over the idea of buying a Hobie Cat, and dreaming of the day he’ll be able to go bareboat sailing in the British Virgin Islands. 


“It’s just another hobby in the pocket to spend a bunch of money on,” he laughed. “That’s why I don’t mountain bike. I have to draw the line somewhere!”