This is not a site for racers. Although I did race performance catamarans in my youth, I've lost the taste of it.
is not a site for bluewater cruisers. Popular magazines are full of
tales of daring-do, circumnavigators, and crossings to the
For many of us, the pull is summed up by the powerful quote from The Wind in the Willows;
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing -
half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” But that
chapter one quotation is often stretched completely out of context, into
a moral imperative to ditch all and go to sea. In fact, in chapter 9,
the very same innocent water rat, so taken in chapter one with the river
and his clinker-built rowboat, spends a day with a charismatic
seafaring rat. Our simple, provincial water rat is so completely mesmerized
by the vast and sweeping stories (exaggerated, no doubt) told by the
wayfaring rat about his adventures aboard a
coastal freighter, and the mysteries of the many ports of call, that immediately upon returning home he begins to plan his own
departure to the sea. HE tries to explain his compulsion to his friends but can't find a rational argument. He fights through fits and seizures until, in his
own words, he regains his sanity.
most of us need is a miniature adventure. It suits the time available.
More to the point, it fits our priorities. We have families ashore. We
have friends. We have shore-bound interests at least as important and
valid. In other words, the myth, yea the fantasy, of casting all aside
and following the winds across an ocean isn't something we're avoiding
out of cowardice, but rather because it makes no damn sense to us. For
heaven sake, we're land animals and we like it that way.
writing for coastal cruisers. I haven't circled the globe, but I have
sailed 25,000 miles round and round the Chesapeake and along the
Atlantic coast over the past 30 years. Yes, much of this will apply to
bluewater sailors; coastal sailors get knocked around right good
sometimes to and I believe in strength and safety. Many of us go
offshore, now and then. Some will apply to racers; I sail the sailor
that does not care about sail trim are going as fast as he can within
the limitations of his boat, doesn't really enjoy sailing. As the old
saw goes, any two boats going the same direction or racing. Some will
apply to daysailors; we are all daysailors. And I hope armchair sailors
can enjoy reading along.
But mostly I've accumulated
the sort of 15- to 50-mile day sort of experience that you need,
navigating shoals, anchoring or docking daily, and returning to my real
life after a few days to week afloat. We don't sail gold plated boats we
bought from a dealer. We sail 5- to 30-year old boats and we spread our
upkeep dollars thin, but without sacrificing function or safety.
certainly enjoy reading about bluewater adventures, though I have no
more desire to cross an ocean than to climb Mount Everest, that coming
from an addicted rock and ice climber who simply sees no point risking
brain cells from lack of oxygen. The plain truth is, that there are
bloody good reasons why coastal sailors outnumber bluewater sailors one
thousand to one. For most of us, it's just better.
not a famous racer. I haven't sailed around the world. But I have spent
35 years as a refinery engineer, 30 years as an avid sailor, and of
published over 100 articles about marine equipment, how it works, and
many topics about the engineering related to sailing. I'm not an
authority on how to sail across an ocean or even how to sail
particularly fast, but I become an authority on each topic, one at a
time, as I research it and dig into it. I learned details I never
expected. I find vendors selling snake oil and rubbish to the public,
and I debunk them. I know my limitations, but within them, I hope I have
earned my place as a trusted source of information.
plan to add a voluntary subscription button when I get this site built
out a bit more. While I love the idea that so much is free on the
internet, it's taken many thousands of hours to put this together. It's
grown far beyond a hobby. Writing and researching is my living. I think I
have as much to share as any shiny magazine,
driven by advertising dollars rather than truth. In fact, I've written a
things for that sort publication, but mostly they want stories about
blue lagoons and
infomercials for the stuff their advertisers sell. They can't profit
from the simple truth about what works.
comment every time you are tempted. Dialogue builds knowledge, and it
helps me know what is interesting and what direction to take this