I am a sailor, or, more to the point, I have sailed. And I have sailed a lot! From the UK to Greece, and then from Greece to the Caribbean, via the Atlantic Ocean. However, I’m more the first mate than a skipper, although I do have a bit of paper that says I’m a skipper, but who wants that responsibility? So during the Olympics I’ve been interested in the sailing events, as well as others. Great Britain tends to do well in the events so it is also an excuse for a bit of jingoism.
The kind of sailing you do in the Olympics is not for me. Small boats, far too close to the water and no fridge to store the beer. Also, when you are sailing the Atlantic you want a bit of comfort… and a bed. Atlantic Sailing was an amazing experience. There were 6 of us, 4 men and 2 women. It took a hell of a lot of planning, even down to how many bags of flour we would need to make bread every day. We anticipated it would take between 21 and 26 days so that was a lot of food and bottled water to buy and store.
At the start of the crossing we had 3 quite windy days, which, for me, wasn’t a good start. I’m a fair weather sailor. I wanted a nice, gentle beginning… but, that’s nature for you. On the seventh day we had no wind at all but it was an opportunity to wash! Seriously. For 2 reasons, showers were kept at a minimum. One, we don’t have mains water on a boat. We fill up our tank and that has to last until we reach land, and with the waves coming from behind it was like living in a washing machine. Showering wasn’t easy. You even had to hold onto something when you went to the bathroom, ok, I guess you guys already hold onto something.
We saw great sunsets and sunrises, and a lot of them. Whales and dolphins, flying fish. We caught Dorado and Tuna. We worked on a “watch” system which meant you got to be awake at crazy, random times, and slept at crazy, random times. It took us 23 days, but we never used the engine once. We couldn’t. It broke at some point during the trip.
Think that sailing could be for you? Why not? It is fun. You could get into racing, which is a very glamorous sport with its fair share of sailor groupies. Or you may be ambitious to sail the world. Or you might want to make a career out of sailing, imagine being paid to sail? And, all the nice girls love a sailor! If you have never sailed before the best way forward is visit a yacht club and have a go, see if you like it. Like it? Next step is to do a course. If you think it may become a career thing, doing a course by the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) is the way forward. Courses are taught throughout the world and locations can be found on their website: http://www.rya.org.uk/
If you are based in the US, then courses can be taken through ASA. The courses aren’t as rigorous as the RYA but you will still learn a lot. Sailing schools can be found here: https://asa.com/find-sailing-school/
Sailors come from all walks of life, all ages, all nationalities. Since I started I’ve seen an incredible increase in younger people taking off. A lot of them try to earn an income whilst cruising, either from renting out their homes or writing blogs, making vlogs and making stuff. Have a go, what have you got to lose. Ok, maybe the contents of your stomach if you are sea sick!