Your first ocean crossing will be the most memorable sail of your life; there is no doubt about that. The sense of achievement as that distant smudge of shoreline starts to creep above the horizon, and the knowledge that the many thousands of miles of sailing have been worth it - all this has to be experienced to be understood. Then, soon after landfall, comes the biggest reward. It is the moment you step ashore and feel the warmest of inner glows. This will not be entirely due to the tropical sun high in the clear blue sky, but rather because you will feel like a sailor who has conquered the world. Ocean passage-making is life-changing and, in my experience, always for the better.
You may not believe any of this just now. I’m guessing you have picked up this book because distant shores are beckoning. You have a list of jobs as long as your arm, budgets that don’t quite work, crew that can’t quite fit the dates and the last thing on your mind is the ocean itself and being out there, at one with its elemental personality. I know this. I have given myself over to fretting about my engine, the visas, running out of water, the ultimate storm, and whether I have enough teabags. A thousand things on my mind except the pleasures of the sea itself.
The joy of this book is that it does the worrying for you upfront; it will take you through the uncertainty of choosing a boat and planning a route, of facing the storms and calms and navigating the coral. It is as if all the things that are nagging you at this moment have all been exorcised, leaving you free to lap up the experience.
All ocean sailors know that preparation is the key to successful voyaging but preparation means more than greasing winches and tightening bottle screws. You also need to be prepared in your own mind for the challenges ahead. When you lie in your bunk you want to be able to relax in the knowledge that every snag has been thought through in advance, and that now you can relish the real ocean-going experience. There will be stressful times, there always are, but if you are able to apply yourself to them in an unflustered way you will not be overwhelmed and it won’t seem long before you are wondering what all the fuss was about.
As you listen to the tall tales told in every yacht club bar around the world it is all too easy to imagine that ‘everybody’ is dashing hither and thither across the oceans with no fuss whatsoever. It’s not true. Everyone, even the famous sailors, started in the precise position you are in now. Ocean sailing remains a challenge, but one you will be more than capable of. Getting yourself in the right frame of mind for the adventure ahead begins right here. With this book to inspire you it won’t be long before you step up to the bar to tell your own brave stories of life out on the ocean.