It's in my blood!
16 June 2012 | Northern Thailand
People who haven't been sailing, particularly sailing offshore can't conceive crossing oceans. Mention a boat and the first question most landlubbers ask is "How many people can it sleep"? Well, my last boat slept two. LOA 53', LWL 50'. Centre cockpit with a huge aft cabin, two large bunks for'ard, a pilot berth beside the engine room, and two or three spots to kip in, in the saloon.
But, as far as I was concerned it slept two. I don't do well in floating dormitories. I am not antisocial, but gawd a'mighty, give me some elbow room.
Next question is "don't you worry about pirates"? I don't worry about pirates any more than I worry about shark attacks; or getting flattened by the number 17 bus when I cross the road in the morning to buy the newspaper. We sail to suit the conditions and if there is a possibility of pirates, krakens or sailing off the edge of the earth, we take precautions to minimise the risk.
"Aren't you afraid when you get a long way from land"? Maybe I see things a bit differently, but then again, I bet many of you think the same. In 10,000 feet of water there is (relatively speaking) nothing to hit. Whereas sailing around the coast is downright dangerous. There are reefs, rocks, coral bombies, the ocean floor, the coast, lots of other boats, officials, floating junk, scuba divers, little kids in blow up plastic crocodiles and lots of other stuff which lurks, just waiting to snag the unsuspecting sailor.
Nope, give me the open ocean every time. And it gets safer as the time passes, ever since god invented AIS. And let's face it, would you rather be in thirty feet of water, half a mile from the coast with a veering gale stretching the anchor chain into a virtual steel bar.....or, you could be twenty miles offshore, in deep water with the same gale occasionally snapping the cord attached to the drogue off the stern. The thought, which infects those who haven't been there, is simply fear of the unknown.
So why is this subject, in this post? Well, I have announced to friends and family that I am going to sail my new boat back across the Pacific from North America. They worry about me. My greatest fan however, is my father who sailed on dangerous ships in the Atlantic Ocean during the height of WW2. That's his 'boat' above. He's 86, fit as a mallee bull, and he urges me on.
It's a good feeling!