Clark March 17th, 2007
Why go cruising?
Why go by yacht instead of by plane?
There are practical reasons, but the real reason for traveling by sail is that it is romantic. There is no better way to make an arrival in a new place. The classic landfalls and capes of the world—Sydney, Rio, Gibraltar, Capetown, The Horn, the Marquesas—have no counterparts in the world of air travel. When someone says they’re going to sail around the world, it conjures a romantic image for just about everyone. If this same person said they were going to drive around the country in a 40-foot motorhome the effect would be markedly different.
Voyaging means entering the tradition of Conrad, Melville, Captain Cook, Joshua Slocum, Captain Bligh, Columbus, Magellan, Drake, and da Gama. Ulysses, while we’re at it. The history of Western man is a series of sea adventures, and by going voyaging we are standing on the shoulders of giants and making our own small contributions. When we are out there listening to the hiss of bow wave and looking up at the stars, we are sharing the same sensations of our seagoing forebears.
Perhaps this romantic image belongs only to the descendents of the great seafaring nations of Europe, the New World, and the antipodes. Perhaps for people of other nations going to sea just means fish.