Is sailing really for you?
When you go to any marina in the world, you will see so many boats lying and only few of them are being actively used during the season. Then you wonder why people don’t get the most fun out of their boats? When you talk to the marina masters, they say only few owners had some issues so don’t have time to take their boats out from the marina to sail. The majority of them unfortunately have lost their interest. They know that sailing is not for them however they just don’t want to give up and sell their boats. Result is beautiful boats waiting in the marina years and years. Also boats for sale corner is always crowded.
But why? Why do people jump into the sailing world with a huge enthusiasm and then after few trips they give up and abandon their boats in the marinas? When you see the sailing life in the social media platforms, we always see the beautiful seas, sunsets, drinks to the amazing views, exploring the places where you will never be able to go by car or walk. These are all true but they come with a really high price. Having a sailing boat and cruising requires much more time and will power than any hobby. The social media and most of the cruising books leads people into full sense of security. Buying and owning a boat is not as straightforward as it seems. We say knowing how to sail is just the half of the job. Learning to live the lifestyle is a real challenge. Believe me, it is hard work.
Boats go wrong all the time.
They need constant maintenance, every day, every week, every month and every year. One of the famous saying is; “Cruising is just repairing your boat in the exotic places.” Many people miss this point and they are disappointed when they face the reality and see the time they have to sacrifice. People who are passionate about sailing do not see this as time sink but rather, taking care of their boat gives them great pleasure. However, this isn’t not for everyone. Literally, you have to be a mechanic, a plumber, an electrician. There is no other way even if you are very rich and find someone to take care of the problem every time. Things will go wrong while cruising! Are you prepared to do that?
Boat challenges relationships
When you live in a small space, everything is magnified. You don’t have the comfort and the privacy that you used to have at home. If you start this boating life as a couple, both of you must be committed to it 100%. Otherwise, sharing a small space 24/7 with both having different views will definitely be a big problem. If one is dragging the other into this life, this is not going to work. The commitment from the both sides is absolutely necessary. We see many break ups in the marinas. Not only between the couples, you will have very limited connection with your friends and family. If you are long time cruiser this gap will increase between you and the people behind.
(Granted, Covid has minimized travel to local waters and hence, shorter voyages)
Boats can get pretty messy!
Since the space is so limited, you learn how to organize things in the most optimum way. The comfort that you are used to is totally gone. Everything is everywhere even though you have a system. Besides, imagine a house with doors and windows which are always open. The dust and the dirt will always get in there somehow. Imagine having a big diesel engine in the middle of your living room! Boats are always messy and dirty.
Boating burns money
No matter how carefully you plan your budget, how carefully you chose your needs, the money will never be enough. Sails, engines, rigging, deck hardware etc. are extremely expensive tools. Things can go bad very unexpectedly so planning your budget might not work. Boats are almost never an investment unless you buy one in really bad condition and refit by yourself.(Psst… “This Old Boat” by Don Casey is a highly recommended book if you do decide to take this route)
It is a stressful life
The stress level during each passage is quite high. Between the anchorages, everything will be according to a code of sailing and you need to focus 100% of the time. Most importantly, it is for your safety. The only time you may release a little stress is when you drop the anchor. However if it is a little bit “rolly” at night in the anchorage, bye bye good sleep. You have to wake up a few times in the night to check your anchor if it is holding good or not. Remember, the boats are a lifetime commitment.
Well, as dad once said, “I could give you many reasons why not to buy a boat but they would be pretty much the same reasons not to have a child. And you’re my greatest joy.” Once you are having a good time, all those desperate times disappear immediately. So what do you think, is sailing really for you?