Sailors or Travellers?
03 July 2012 | Nafpion
Time for another Raft-Up. The links to the other blogs involved are at the end of this post.
This month's topic is 'Sailor or Traveller'.
When I met Andy in 2003 he announced to me that one day he wanted to buy a yacht and sail around the world, the prospect was attractive. He was aiming for 2008ish and that coincided with me finishing in the Army and getting my pension, so it seemed that a bit of karma may have been involved.
Andy had learnt to sail as a boy during holidays to his Aunt and Uncle in Ireland, and had been a keen windsurfer for several years. I had been on a sailing boat once when I was in St Kilda for a day trip around the islands. We've tried several times to classify ourselves over the years and the best we can do is that Andy is a sailor who loves to travel, Steph is a traveller who has decided that sailing is the best way to do it! I decided that I needed a bit more experience so participated in a Competent Crew course (in the Solent in January - was I mad?). This gave me valuable skills and knowledge to build on.
We carried on working towards our aim of 2008 as get away date and fate intervened a couple of times to allow us to leave in July of that year. When we left I was very much the traveller, relying heavily on Andy for the sailing part. Andy was in his element, sitting at the helm, getting buckets of cold, salty water chucked over him and enjoying the freedom that sailing brings. I hated being heeled over, hated the salt water (still do!) and couldn't sleep at an angle. It took the Bay of Biscay crossing to really get to grips with the sailing lark.
This is now our fourth summer in Greece and the sailing is probably as much a part of our life as the travelling now. We try to use the engine as little as possible and challenge ourselves to reduce the hours every week. My learning curve was incredibly steep and I now have a wealth of experience of sailing in all weathers. Andy's previous experience as a fisherman means that he takes everything in his stride and is a great skipper. We are a good team, with each of us doing the jobs that match our personalities best. Our expectations of each other and of Norna have grown and we are confident that we can travel much further afield with only a little hardship.
I have increased my formal training and attended and passed the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Skipper, earlier this year. I did the course in Cornwall so learnt a lot about tides and navigation etc. Andy had kept tellling me that I knew far more than I gave myself credit for and the course confirmed that for me. Next year I'm planning to do the offshore practical exam and some astro-navigation to add another string to our bow.
We've met many couples along the way who are doing the same as us, however a lot of them have one partner who is reluctant and is only doing it for the other. We consider ourselves fortunate that we both share the same goals and are happy to use our lovely yacht as the means to fulfil them.
Sometimes we think that it would be nice to have a camper van and travel around the interior of a country. However that's not in the budget so until we're old and wrinkly and living on a barge on the canals of Europe we must content ourselves with coastlines - it's a hard life!
Sailing and travelling are, for us, one and the same now.