Cruising will take you to new and amazing places!
The problem with these new and amazing places is sailboats are not the most common route of arrival to them. Most people will drive in or out of this place in their automobile. To allow this massive volume of traffic to flow, bridges will be created!
Bridges are awesome because they connect people in a way that makes transiting large bodies of water easy and effortless. Most people only notice the presence of a bridge if they have to stop and pay a toll to drive over it. This is because bridges blend into our roadway so well that you can't even see them. It's true, from the drivers perspective, a bridge just looks like more roadway. To truely admire them, you need to not use them and observe them from any other perspective.
This is where sailing shines! You will get to admire the bridge for a long time as you approach it. Bridges are easy to spot in the distance since they are taller than the horizon, meaning you will see them for hours, and sometimes days (if the winds are light) before you arrive to them.
Once you get close, you are then faced with another challenge: going under them.
Bridges are expensive to build, and the taller they are, the more they cost. For this reason, only small stretches of the bridge are tall enough for ship traffic. Finding this passage can be tricky from a distance, but there is a trick. The ideal passage will have guards around the bridge abutments. If the lights are on, the intended pass will have a green light at the top, all the other sections will have red lights at the bottom.
Be sure to check your charts twice to make sure you are at the bridge you think you are and check the horizontal and vertical clearances. Once you are certain you will fit, you will need to line up your path and head on through.
This is one more point for passing bridges by sail, you will get to see the bridge from below! Bridges are usually viewed from the side in photographs, as this seems to be the most aesthetically pleasing way to observe them, but from below, you get an entire new appreciation of the bridge.
This massive structure stands tall and holds up tons of weight in all conditions, and from the bottom you get to see the structure that makes it all possible! You get to see the orientation of the beams and the supporting cross members, and how they all tie together to erect this titanic creation in the sky!
Bridges are awesome, but the moment when your mast goes under the bridge is always a bit nerve wracking as you hope that everything will fit. No matter how tall the bridge, it's always a nail bitter until the masthead clears.