Imagine investing the time and effort in learning how to sail with the goal of going to sea full-time with your family. It is not so far-fetched according to NauticEd, a worldwide sailing school that offers both online sailing courses and on-the-water training. There are plenty of full-time sailors who spend very little time on terra firma.
Full-time sailing is more of a lifestyle than an activity. Everything you could learn in sailing school only prepares you so much for living on the water. Yet that has not stopped singles, couples, and entire families from abandoning life on shore in favor of a lifetime at sea.
So, how about you? Could you handle full-time sailing There are a lot of ups and downs that come with it, and we are not just talking about waves.
The People You Meet
Experienced sailors can attest to the fact that the people you meet really define the sailing experience. People can be good, but they can also be bad. And unfortunately, even the most advanced sailing courses cannot prepare you for meeting the people that will inevitably touch your life as a full-time sailor.
How bad can people be? Imagine leaving your dinghy in the water overnight so that you do not have to relaunch to go ashore in the morning. Then imagine waking up and finding only a dangling rope remaining. Someone has helped themselves to your dinghy while you slept. Those kinds of things happen.
On the other hand, imagine finally making it to shore later that day. In your search to buy a replacement dinghy, you run across a fellow sailor who rescued your floating dinghy in the night as they saw it drift past and was enquiring around as to whose dinghy it was. Apparently, you had not tied the know correctly last night. People can be that good, too. Fortunately, most of the people you meet as a full-time sailor are the good people.
The ups and downs of full-time sailing continue with Mother Nature. She can be your best friend on some days and your worst enemy on others. To say that the sea is a fickle beast is an understatement.
Full-time sailors have to be prepared for all kinds of weather. The smart ones chart a course that keeps most of the bad weather behind them, but even the best sailors cannot avoid bad weather all the time. Sometimes it just comes on you without any warning.
Mother Nature can be wonderful as well. Imagine sailing the calm waters off the northern Mediterranean during an Ionian islands cruise. Or perhaps you are more attuned to sailing along the coast of Florida during the cooler winter months. Beautiful weather and smooth seas are incomparable. They are what make full-time sailing worth it.
Lastly, is the sailor’s physical health. When you are out on the water, there is no one to help you battle a serious illness. And because most full-time sailors do not spend a lot of time in any one place, they have to pay for their healthcare out-of-pocket. It’s not easy to maintain a useful health insurance policy when you’re circumnavigating the globe.
One of the hardest things for full-time sailors is to admit they no longer have the physical stamina to remain at sea. When it’s time to hang up the sails and go ashore permanently, missing life at sea can seem too much to bear.
This article has touched on just three of the ups and downs of full-time sailing. There are those who would rather do nothing else. For them, all the wonderful things about sailing far outweigh the unpleasant things.