It's time for another Raft Up Blog.  This month the question is  "Do you think your view on travel and sailing has changed at all since you started? and How does the boat help vs hinder your ability to travel?"  Since I think that Steve and I will have very different takes on this subject, we're going to each have our say in a she says/he says blog. 

She says:  I never sailed until I was 42 years old.  In fact, I was never even on a sail boat until the day we moved aboard Celebration. We bought the boat, moved to Florida and then took sailing lessons. But even after our lessons and taking our own boat our a lot, I was never comfortable and I never felt like I knew exactly what to do or what was going on. Sailing was confusing, loud, scary. For me it was something to be endured to get from point A to point B.  (Point B was always going to be some tropical fantasy land, filled with sun and fun, close to a wonderful grocery store and a clean laundromat.) I used to get so anxious when we were headed off shore, that I would get sick. 
It took me a couple of years to figure out that I was making myself sick.  My anxiety came from a lack of working knowledge about sailing and about the boat in general.  I decided to fix my ignorance and hopefully in the process, get over being sick with worry.  I took a Captains Course and got my 6-Pack license, I spent 2 days going solo down the ICW in Florida, I asked A LOT of questions.  I got some confidence that I really could turn the boat around and get Steve if he fell over (IF he was wearing his life jacket and IF it was a perfectly calm day and IF I felt like it). I have for the majority of the days, gotten over my sea sickness.
So,  to answer the question, my view on travel and sailing has done a 180.  After 9 years I can now enjoy sailing for the ride itself and not just the destination.  Sailing has opened up the travel world for us.  We couldn't afford to go and as we did last year, spend a month in Martinique and then a month in St Lucia and then a couple of months in Grenada and then a month in Trinidad if we were paying for a hotel room every night and eating out every day. Being able to live on Celebration keeps the costs where we can afford them.  It allows us to spend big chunks of time in a country, really get to know the people, explore, and taste the foods.

He says:
Sailing verses Traveling
 SO my thoughts, is this sailing or traveling? Clearly it IS both, but what of our priorities or which do I prefer might be the question.

Sailing: I love the sailing, and even more so when the sailing is great. You know the right wind, low seas, not too hot, or too cold. But the best sailing is usually when there is little in the form of schedule or sailing with several good destination options. To a sailor this should be obvious, but to others less so. Without schedule we can sail off the wind, never having to motor. If we can't get there because the wind is blowing from the wrong direction we have options, more so options that are comfortable, don't overstress the gear or the crew. We can tack(zig-zag) with the wind on our beam (side) taking all day or all week/month perhaps to get there, wherever "there" is. Or without a hard destination or as mentioned several destination options, we simply change "there" to be somewhere we can sail to instead of going toward the wind to reach. Again making it a comfortable, fun sail instead of straining us or the good ship Celebration. Frankly the easiest sailing is when we are far offshore. Bad wind, bad seas become so much less bad with a simple course change they can even become good seas and winds.

Traveling: Yup, love the traveling too. For us however it seems to be more of seeing places in depth over seeing more places. When we arrive in a port we like we tend to stay planted to the bottom for a longer period than most, A month or more is common, allowing us to see more of the place, learn a bit of the culture, how to get around, meet some of the people, and become a regular on the streets and in the markets. There is a comfort for us in spending more time, but trading off the stopping in every port possible as we've moved north/south with the seasons and storms.

I guess in the end the sailing as a way of traveling is a good match for me. No schedule, no return flight, no deadline for seeing what I wish to see then racing off to another land or back "home" for our home is here. If there is work to do, or more to see we simply stay put a bit longer...then move when the wind is forcast as right for our next destination, accepting another if the forcast isn't quite right.

The rest of this month's raft up participants:


Ean Behr said...


Great post. I know exactly how you felt. Jane is far too noble to say it, but I'm about as useful on a boat as a third jib sheet (which may, in fact, be useful, which just proves my point). Add to this the fact that I can't swim and am pretty much scared of water. So it's great to hear that with time and questions, things get better. Although, I don't think I'll be singlehanding anywhere, thankyouverymuch.

Belinda Del Pesco said...

Great post. I agree with Ean - it's good to read that time and knowledge - and an appetite to 'handle' your inner doubts and questions - will bear fruit. Thanks for sharing.

Day Skipper Theory said...

You can have your own happiness when you can sail as it is to relief stress from our work.

VHF Course said...

It does take a lot to get over the initial nerves when starting a day skipper course, but with a proficient instructor he should make you feel at ease. It's all about picking the right sailing school.