Learning to Sail Through Life

Sitting on the rail – a great place to watch the world go by

If I said that there was an activity that you could enjoy as a pastime and a sport; it was exhilarating yet peaceful, very social yet with time to reflect, whilst offering the ultimate freedom to roam; you’d want to know what it was wouldn’t you?

I mean, you would be mad not to want to try your hand at something so versatile. So are you surprised that I would suggest sailing?

Of course no sailor worth his salt would be surprised at this revelation, but hopefully I can convert some of you into experiencing what sailing can be and what it can bring to you.

Exhilarating experience

I remember my first sail with a smile. My husband took me on a yacht that he had been racing on with some of his friends. I had never met these people before, so all I remember thinking was, don’t throw up and don’t fall overboard.

Within minutes of leaving the marina, I was sitting on the rail with the rest of the crew, dangling my legs over the side with the wind blowing and the sun on my face thinking why have I never done this before. The sailing was truly amazing …. and I was hooked.

I still feel like that to this day when we set sail. It’s just that wonderful feeling of being such a small part of the world as you travel across the vast sea, respecting the power of the elements as you endeavour to harness them to your advantage.

Challenge yourself

You don’t have to sail around the world to be challenged – it happens every time you sail.

Whether you are setting off on a long voyage where your levels of endurance and stamina are tested or racing in the bay where speed and strength come to the fore.

Sometimes the challenge can be as simple as making 4 coffees in bad weather and delivering them to the rest of the crew…..with the coffee still in the cups.

Believe me the last one can be more tricky than you think!

Now that’s what I call a weather window.

Learn something new

As no two sailing days are ever the same, there’s always something new to learn. Just sailing with people who have lots of experience, allows you to soak up as much knowledge as they can give you.

There are plenty of courses but always try to get as much hands on experience as you can.

Sometimes people can be put off by the option of racing, but it’s a great way to get out on the water regularly and the fact that you are with experienced people offers increased safety.

You’ll be surprised how competitive even the most uncompetitive people can be.

A time to reflect

I can hear you say – a time to reflect? When do you get time to do that? Well you may not get as much time during a race, but there are plenty of times when you can just have a quiet moment.

It can be as you are on a night watch when the sea is calm and the moon is full. Or as you sit on the rail towards the bow, dangling your legs and looking out at the land as the sea swishes past the side of the yacht…. perfect.


It’s a well known fact that most people who sail are a very social bunch. They like nothing better than to sit and watch the sun go down with a freshly made gin and tonic whilst laughing and joking about their sailing escapades.


The best way to really explore

Imagine if every time you went sailing, it was a mini adventure – how cool would that be? Using one of the oldest forms of transport to get from one new place to another.

There’s something very old fashioned about arriving somewhere by yacht, as you gain a completely different perspective of your destination.

Often you’re a hop skip and a jump away from all the action of a thriving town or city, just waiting to be explored.

Meeting new people, sampling the local food and drinks of course, is important and you never tire of a place as you simply move on and get ready to explore the next chapter of the journey.

A selection of Pinchos in a San Sebastien bar – I was like a kid in a sweet shop!

How you can benefit from Sailing

  • Something new to try
    It’s so important to try new things and what you learn in a pastime or sport can also help you in other areas of your life that you might find tough at some point, for whatever reason.
  • Ultimate freedom
    I would defy anyone to suggest another sport that offers more freedom than sailing. That freedom offers a way to loosen the shackles that bind us to the more structured elements of our lives.  Who wouldn’t benefit from breaking free – even if it’s just for a little while?
  • Respect nature
    Being at one with nature teaches a lot about being humble, as we are a very small part of a very big world. Respecting the much stronger elements and accepting that even when you can’t control everything, you can make a difference.
Sailing with a dolphin on the starboard bow – it doesn’t get better than this.
  • Trust
    Learning to trust those around you, have faith in the yacht and the age old principles of sailing and finally, believe in yourself and your capability.

I think that all these benefits can also spill into other areas of your life which can make obstacles we all encounter, much easier to overcome and you ensure a safe passage rather than a rough crossing, as you sail through life

How to get into sailing

There are many ways to enjoy Sailing but here are a few options to think about.

  • Go to your local sailing club and find out more about what they do.
  • Book on a sailing course where you can learn the basics and gain qualifications.
  • Book on a flotilla sailing holiday where you can experience sailing under the watchful eye of experienced skippers.

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