There’s something about sailing that brings out the inner romantic in all of us. When we’re not doing it, we’re dreaming about it, looking at pictures of others doing it, remembering when we last did it, planning on doing it next year, thinking about buying a boat and, maybe even, undoing the shackles of the real world and letting go of the dock lines completely to become a cruising, live-aboard sailor.
As we sit here in the land of sun and palm trees (but also working, please note) we thought we’d mull the feeling that sailing engenders in many of us. We see so many people pass through our doors each season; each with their own dreams. After 15 years of personally speaking to people who chartered with us, we think we have the 5 most popular reasons why we fall in love with sailing.
Sailing is freedom; the physical and the freeing of the mind. It’s what happens when you are not in the ‘real world’. Someone once said to me “Life happens, and then you go sailing”. You have the freedom to choose where you sail to and to make alternative plans if the weather works against you or if you simply change your mind. You can sail for as little as 1 hour or you can sail for 8 hours+; it’s your choice. How about the freedom to just stay in a beautiful bay for a day and not sail? You can decide to stop, or simply carry on. Freedom to ‘just be’.
It’s a welcome change of pace. The pace of life on board is very different to that on land. You can’t hurry a sailboat even if you wanted to. Of course you try and your trusty steed will slice through the water with you trimming the sails for maximum performance; but it won’t break any speed records (unless you’re on an America’s Cup boat!). The very nature of sailing means that you are forced to slow down. Sailing gives you time to talk, to not talk, to look around you, to appreciate what you have, and to feel at one with your boat. It’s as much, if not more, about enjoying the journey as it is the final destination.
There’s a reason we give boats special names, but we don’t name our bicycles or cars! You are in control. Someone said to me it’s the only time they feel they don’t have to be attached to their phones 24/7.
You discover places that you wouldn’t normally discover. “To boldly go where no one has gone before” (to borrow a well known Trekkie phrase). That maybe a bit of a reach, but the reality is that you see things in a different way to non-sailors. You actually have time to read the guide books whilst at anchor and decide… hmmm…. North or south? The guide books are written by sailors for sailors so they impart a wealth of information about each anchorage; everything from where to get your laundry done to the best bar for Mojito’s. You have the opportunity to learn about the culture of where you are sailing. We are fortunate to live, work and play in the Caribbean; where every island is different to the next, from their unique cultures to the colour of the sand. Sailing lets you discover all of this for yourself.
You meet people that you might not normally meet – not all good, but hey, we’re all characters! Sailing is a community, and we are all members. Sailing gives you permission to dinghy across to another boat with a certain flag flying and start a conversation. It’s unlikely that you’d do that if you were staying in a hotel; most people would think you a little odd if you went up to another couple dining in a restaurant and asked to join them! With the sailing lifestyle, before you know it, you’re joining your new friends for sundowners and canape’s, meeting other fellow sailors and getting all the tips they have gathered on their sailing trip – no matter how long; perhaps even imparting a few “tales of the sea” yourselves.
It’s casual. We all look the same in our short pants, T’s and flip-flops. The key aspect, no matter who people are in the real world, everyone has sailing as the common denominator. You have a common interest with people from all walks of life; and all at different stages of their love affair with sailing. Even the fanciest places to relax in the Caribbean are casual for sailors. Nobody expects you to have packed your tux or even your hairbrush. It’s also make-up optional! After a day of sailing and being on the water, you have a natural glow anyway. Can you imagine the time that you ‘inherit’ each day by simply having a quick dip in the sea, a rinse with fresh water and popping on a fresh T shirt? Time is a gift.
Are you ready to fall in love with sailing?
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