One of my earliest recollections of sailing is being below deck’s on my parent’s Leisure 23 on lake Windermere. The breeze on Windermere can be fluky and variable thanks to the steep wooded hills that surround it. As we heeled over in the puffs, I can clearly recall sitting in the cozy, warm saloon sketching boats. I was fascinated by the inside of yachts and how so much could be crammed into such a small space. For hours I drew cabins, bunks, cookers and chart tables in different configurations using ideas gleaned from numerous visits to boat shows and trips around boat yards.
So for me, the draw of sailing was initially about the boat and the safe, warm, secure environment it provides the crew. To this day that feeling of comfort still exists; it can be howling 40 knots across Vega’s deck, yet down below, she feels warm and safe. An oasis in an ever-restless sea.
Now though, my passion for sailing has grown. It’s no longer just about the boat and it’s not just an alternative way to travel. Sailing fulfills my desire for freedom. It provides adventure and discovery, but above all else it is teaching me resourcefulness and self-sufficiency.
After frenzied dockside packing and stowing of food and equipment, you finally cast off the lines and leave the security of port. The horizon ahead not only stretches your abilities but also challenges your need for security. In a car you can pull over. In a light aircraft you can divert away from bad weather. In a small yacht you are stuck with whatever nature throws at you. There is no escape; the next port could be 12 hours or 12 days away.
When I sail I feel connected to nature and the environment around me, I am intrinsically linked to something bigger and more meaningful than the day to day. Life takes on a new rhythm at sea, one of peace and serenity, interspersed with moments of extreme intensity. It’s a simple, humbling existence where only the basic needs are important.
Somehow sailing allows me to simultaneously be at one with the raw beauty of nature while providing the freedom to follow my dreams in the comfort of a strong, safe yacht.