Could we do it?

Giving up the Sailing Life

11th June 2016
Expensive yachts
Cats on boats
giving up sailing

Giving up this sailing life.


What happens when you give up the sailing life?

I am sure that one day there will come a time when we have to give up this sailing life and sell Cygnus III to buy some bricks and mortar. I have often thought about it and how we would cope. The thought of giving up our sailing life, our freedom and wanderlust to be confined in a permanent structure terrifies me.

At the moment everyday’s an adventure. We wake up in new places and readily digest new cultures. We see some of the most amazing places on earth and get large doses of adrenaline in this sailing life going to new and as yet unknown destinations. We continually meet new friends both locally and from the sailing fraternity. No matter which country they are from we speak a common language we all understand. That of the nomadic traveller living aboard a boat.  Our boat is our home but any roots we had are fast decaying.


Returning home

We have returned to our old home for short spells from time to time to visit friends and family but each time I find that I am forgetting more and more of the language I used to speak fluently. Words and phrases such as jobs, colleagues, cars, new things for the house, holidays and televisions tend to leave me looking puzzled as to why they are so interesting.  No doubt when we talk about anchoring, big seas, stunning islands and secluded bays they also find a mist coming over them as their eyes glaze over and they think about what they are going to have for tea.

For a very short time you are a minor celebrity among friends and family. They want to hear about your travels but it does not last long. They have their own lives and your incredible adventure dwindles to insignificance compared to the latest episode of “Game of Thrones”. I want to shout “there is a real world out there, real people and real adventures to be had” but by that time they become comatose and stare unflinchingly at their latest plasma screen or tap endlessly into something they call a mobile phone. To them that is the real world.


We are the odd ones.

Cygnus III leaving London for a sailing life

Cygnus III leaving London

It sounds as though our sailing life is the only way. It is not. It is, to coin a phrase “What floats your boat”. We are actually the odd ones out here. In fact, to most people we are just odd. Why would anyone want to give up all that they had acquired throughout their working lives to live on a boat. If you really want to know what living on a boat is like then this blog may give you some insight. Before we left over 5 years ago I often thought that myself. I would be putting my family, those I really loved in danger and I was taking them away from everything they held dear. I was taking us all into the total unknown with no real plan. We would just go, see what happened and follow the wind.


Praying to the gods.

Our days and nights are governed by the weather gods who we pay homage to each day. We worship sails and take care of an engine praying it will take care of you. We sleep (and sometimes don’t) knowing that a length of chain and a big lump of metal are the only things keeping us from disaster. We lay there hoping that the whistling wind will soon disappear and we make sure everything is not going to be thrown about in our home whilst sailing. So, which one of us is really normal?


What has changed?

Living like we do each day changes you and your priorities. You begin to think differently to everyone else. What was once important when you lived in a house are faded memories that have been replaced by new thoughts. Your whole life and personality changes. We go back to whence we originally came and look around through new eyes and realise that although we have changed very little else has. People are still doing the same things each day and are still talking about the same things, living the same lives we once did. It sounds as if I am putting down that life but I am not. We lived it for most of our lives and we did the same things that many of you are doing now and we loved it. It is just that for some reason we decided to try an alternative lifestyle and for better or worse it changed us.


Finding a way to communicate.

Sailors brain

The sailors brain

We have thought that one day, we don’t know when, we will go back to the old lifestyle and try and wedge ourselves back into it. Thinking about it again I am not sure if we can ever fully integrate. We could find somewhere to live that does not rock you to sleep each night and we could even buy a plasma screen and mobile phone but they may well stay in their original packing. We may not be on our beloved Cygnus III and may wake up each day in the same place but our hearts and minds will still be travelling. Our language has changed and so has our outlook on life. Material possessions are far less appealing than finding out what is around the next headland and then the one after that. Our bodies may be back for a while but I doubt our minds will ever be settled in once place for long. We may have to learn a new language again but we will never forget the one we speak now. We will try, but from time to time I know we are going to have to come back to the travelling life to find others that speak the same language and who understand what we are saying without a translator.


One day we will give up this sailing life.

One day we will go back to four walls where you have to lock yourself in at night, where you cannot leave all your windows open, where you need to be heated, to wear clothes to keep you warm, where how much you earn gives you status, where talking badly of others is the norm, where your life is governed by clocks and televisions, where each day you wake up and see the same view.

Then again……… I think I would rather have the sailing life.



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  1. God for a second I thought you guys were abandoning the sailing life! Phew.
    Nice revamp!
    It must have been incredible leaving London on the boat. We’ll have to set off from somewhere less dramatic and with no friends to see us off 🙁

    1. We actually set off from Hull and we had a surprising number of people waving us off with two fingers.
      I see your route is pretty much the same as ours. There will be some amazing places for you both to see. Have a wonderful life afloat although I am sure it will be hard to leave and return to a normal life.

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