“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
H. Jackson Brown’s mother in P.S. I Love You, by H. Jackson Brown (Often incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain)
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing…about in boats – or with boats. In or out of’em, it doesn’t matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that’s the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you’ve done it there’s always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you’d much better not.”
Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
“Cruising Bliss… For me, that’s a gentle day, with the wind somewhere between 10 and 15 knots and all sail set on a broad reach. Wavelets sparkle in warm sunshine and the bow wave hisses quietly, sending white clouds of frothy bubbles tumbling aft past the cockpit. The current flows with me, of course. My destination lies in plain sight, and no rocks or reefs block my passage.
Ah, nirvana. What utter bliss. It’s a strangely spiritual experience in a highly materialistic world, but a feeling all sailors will understand.”
John Vigor, Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Started Sailing
WHICH OF THE PLEASURES AND REWARDS OF SAILING ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU?
– PURE ENJOYMENT OF SAILING
The best description of sailing enjoyment that we have found is the quote by John Vigor above which eloquently describes Cruising Bliss.
– SAVOURING THE DELIGHTS OF NATURAL BEAUTY
Sailing into Bora Bora many years ago was an amazing highlight for us. The Lycian coast of Turkey, where we sailed for 3 seasons, comes a close second. The Amalfi Coast and Capri in Italy, Greece, the Balearic islands of Spain, the Whitsundays in Australia, and the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean are all also wonderful.
– EXPLORING HISTORICAL SITES AND GETTING TO KNOW LOCAL PEOPLE/CULTURE
The Lycian coast of Turkey and very close Greek islands such as Rhodes and Castellerizon are tops for us, followed by the Balearics and Amalfi Coast/Capri.
– MEETING AND GETTING TO KNOW FELLOW SAILORS
This has been one of the major joys of our cruising adventures. It’s easy to meet lots of fun and interesting people. In our experience the proportion of generous and helpful people in the cruising community is far higher than those you meet in everyday life on land. You will find that you get lots of good advice and assistance. This will range from tips on great anchorages to historical sites to how to troubleshoot pesky issues with your boat, often with hands on help! Informal rallies with organisations such as the Cruising Association are also great fun.
– SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT
If you have a high desire for adventure, crossing the Atlantic – whether in company on a rally such as the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) or by yourself, sailing in the Northern Latitudes or even sailing around the world may be your cup of tea.
We have realized a great sense of satisfaction and fulfillment with far lower adventure levels – whatever floats your boat is what is right for you, and it doesn’t have to be set in stone.
Turning even a few of your sailing dreams into reality is likely to be well worth it – and sooner rather than later is usually a good idea as well.
HOW LONG DO YOU EXPECT TO SPEND ON YOUR BOAT EACH YEAR?
The answer to this question will be very important when you start to consider what kind of boat to buy. It is very different chartering a yacht for a week or two compared with spending a month or 3 or 6 on a boat. You might even want to become a full time liveaboard. Doing without various modern conveniences for a week or 2 is one thing, but it could reduce your feeling of fun if you are on the boat for a month or more. On the other hand, you may revel in a back to basics lifestyle.
Ok, this section is about Dreams, but it is also important to introduce some Reality. There are many important things to consider in determining Your Capabilities:
- A realistic assessment of your skills and experience right now and whether or not they are sufficient for safely undertaking your dream adventure
- If your capabilities are not yet enough, determine how and in what timeframe you can become ready
- Recommend buying a copy of the RYA Day Skipper Handbook – Sail and getting as much on water practical experience in different weather conditions as you can
- In many countries you will need recognized qualifications such as the ICC .Note that achieving the RYA Day Skipper qualification automatically qualifies you for the ICC. For most Americans it will be easier to get the IPC. Achieving either qualification will also give you confidence about whether your self assessment is realistic
- Your capabilities means you and your crew, although the skipper of your boat has particular responsibility and accountability
- In addition to sailing, boat handling under power, anchoring, navigation and safety skills you will need some troubleshooting and repair/maintenance skills
- Don’t worry if you are not mechanically minded, having an expert perform many/most repair and maintenance tasks may result in better quality outcomes anyway. However, you will be surprised at how much you pick up by osmosis.
- A good way to fill in any skills gaps that you and your regular crew have, particularly if you plan to do more than day sailing, would be to find additional qualified crew for passages so that you pass muster as a team.