Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Becoming obsessed with sailing

It might have been the lack of goals, future plans, career drive, motivation, commitments, challenges or responsibilities - anything - I don't know. The effect was that soon after I completed the RYA course, I became overwhelmed by the idea of setting off in a sailboat and travelling around the world. To be honest, there are several reasons why I'm so thrilled about sailing around the world apart from the sailing itself. But maybe I can write about that some other time. Or maybe not. Or maybe I'm just disillusioned.

This obsession was soon complimented by some confidence after reading Tania Aebi's "Maiden Voyage". Tania Aebi was around 17 years old with very little sailing experience when she set off on a two year voyage around the world in a Contessa 26. The book was given as a present to my girlfriend and I nicked it before she even had the chance to read the title..

The obsession initially manifested itself via a huge appetite to learn and discover the world of sailing, mostly by reading books. I wanted to know everything; well, at least in theory. After reading "Maiden Voyage" in a record time I started believing that I can do it. I can sail around the world. I bought and read several more books, started reading blogs, sailing forums, anything related to sailing.

The idea of buying a sailboat started bouncing in my head - I needed one after all in order to sail around the world. So I started reading about boats and looking at the ads.

I made a rough plan: I would buy a cheap old boat to learn in, save money, switch to the "round-the-world" boat in a year, refit it, leave my job, set-off in 2 years time and sail around for a couple of years.

Then the plan changed: I wouldn't buy a boat just yet because I would want to save as much money as I could for "the" boat and the costs of my 2-year trip. Instead I would crew on other people's boats and gain as much experience as possible. Perhaps go on an Atlantic crossing as crew..

Then I thought I might as well buy the round-the-world boat now and started looking for it. My favourite was the Seadog 30 ketch. It looked to me like it was built as a tank; or whatever the equivalent for boats is as tanks would probably not make particularly good boats no matter how well they were built. Other options included Cape Dorys, Nicholson 26 or 32, Elizabethans etc. etc. I knew very little about boats so I read a lot of material on what an ocean going boat should be like. The conclusion I came to was that it doesn't really matter that much, as long as it's made safe and is properly prepared and equipped.

Then I thought I'd better wait till I get to know a bit more and get some practical experience before I spend all my savings on a boat.

But I kept on looking at boats - on the internet that is.. Reading and searching for the perfect boat kept me awake at nights, for hours and days and weeks.. There was no escape.

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