Thursday, May 17, 2007
A Failure of Saltiness
Real Sailors (trademark pending) are also known as Salty Sailors, and these fine men and women are full of pithy advice. (I did NOT say “pissy.”) They drip these pearls of wisdom liberally over your ego like corrosive splats of bird guano on the shining deck of your vessel. These unlooke- for gems of information have the power to simultaneously save your life and ensure your utter lack of confidence to put it at risk. Their collective wisdom is priceless but daunting, both in its scope and its power to terrify.
I, on the other hand, lack a certain depth of knowledge on this subject. Prior to purchasing s/v Don Quixote, my entire sailing resume consisted of an overnight on the Chesapeake, the chief memorable moment being running aground on a sand bar. There was also a week in the San Juan Islands on a Cal 28’ for our honeymoon during which I believe I threatened to divorce my new husband no less than four times. So it’s pretty much impossible to say that I know what I’m talking about when it comes to all things nautical. Certainly, salty sailors will inform you that I don’t know my aft quarters from a whirlpool in the water.
Thus, to those lured to this web site with notions of learning how to sail, live aboard, or cruise in a catamaran, so sorry. I’m not really capable of telling you the safe, sane, and proper way to do it. I can only offer my own creative commomns protected, honed in the fine crucible of the real world, and orthogonal to anything officially supported by Real Sailors (trademark still pending) techniques. My admittedly naïve approach to the subject is – as with so many things in life – stubbornness uber alles.
You just need to want it badly enough.
So when I tell you that the way to learn how to be a cruising sailor is to buy some equipment, get a map, read a book, and get in a boat, I speak with some experience, although none particularly useful to the endeavor. It’s pretty safe to assume that you can move the boat to the next inlet, drop anchor and spend the night. Get up, put up the sails, pull up the anchor (maybe even in that order), and move down the coast another few nautical miles. Rinse, repeat for a season. Two things will happen: First, you’ll probably make it from Seattle to someplace south of Mexico; and second, you’ll know how to cruise.
And while you may not be Salty, I can assure you that you will be a Sailor.