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Wednesday
Mar122014

The New Age of Sail 

Have you ever considered that it might be a sailor’s life for you? Well, don’t worry. You’re not the only one. It seems that more and more people have been asking this question, despite it being one you’d more likely expect from an 18th Century runaway. It just so happens that sailing is making a huge comeback.

Image courtesy of Frontier's UK Tall Ships Sailing Expedition

A big draw is of course the beautiful scenery, the exhilarating speeds, or the calm drifting into open, sunny skies. In addition, many keen sailors site a massive sense of achievement and pride in relation to taking charge of something so mammoth and commanding it, perhaps through stormy or uncharted territory, to successfully reach their goal.

Image courtesy of Frontier's Australia Learn to Sail Weekend

There is also something nice about being involved in something so historic. Sailing is a 3000 year old tradition, pivotal in migration, trade and warfare, which makes other hobbies seem tame in comparison.

Another draw is that giving orders is really fun! You get to learn cool sailor speak and practice clear communication, which is really useful skill for the future.

For many, the best bit is the ‘sweet spot’, also known as ‘getting in the groove’. Although this may sound like a Dad talking about when he used to go out dancing, it is in fact sailing slang. It refers to when the boat accelerates because you’ve managed to get the sail trim exactly right – you feel the motion of the boat levelling out and the speed picking up. Then you begin to cruise along smoothly. It’s awesome.

Image courtesy of Frontier's Italy Dolphin Monitoring Project 

They say that life is not about the destination, but the journey. Well if that’s the case, then sailing is serious indulgence in the journeying part. It is all about moving and doing things to make that moving occur. It is about enjoying the challenging hours spent navigating, or the talking late into the night over a drop (or a lot) of rum, or simply just the solitude of lookout duty.

Sorting the rigging on the UK Tall Ships Sailing Expedition

Alone time on the Italy Dolphin Monitoring Project

OK. The destinations are cool. As you get more confident a major highlight will be that you can just take yourself off to wherever you want to go. So whilst sailing is in large part about the act of journeying, a major fringe-benefit is the regular occurrence of sunshine, beaches, snorkelling and - oh the horror (the horror!) - a cold beer upon reaching the harbour.

Image courtesy of Frontier's Italy Dolphin Monitoring Project

In our increasingly technically-focused world, where we can spend all day and night in front of screens, there is something appealing about how active and hands-on sailing is.

Also, open water takes us away from TV and internet in a way that not many other things can. Whilst you can attempt to get away from people/technology by going hiking or cycling in the countryside, you are generally still always tempted by the odd bit of signal here or there.

Image courtesy of Frontier's UK Tall Ships Sailing Expedition

At sea the rest of the world is completely cut away. You will be able to experience the incredibly humbling power of complete solitude if you have gone out on your own, or to rediscover the art of conversation - uninterrupted by regular Facebook checking – if you are with others.

Image courtesy of Frontier's Italy Dolphin Monitoring Project

That said; it is understandable that sailing is increasing in popularity again. Frontier is adding more and more sail-based projects to meet the demand, including opportunities to learn to sail and windsurf, monitor dolphins, and how to man a ship across the sparkling waters of Malta and Monaco! If you like the sound of a hobby that is an exciting combination of both journey and destination, then you should definitely look into sailing!

Image courtesy of Frontier's Greece Learn to Windsurf Project

Frontier runs several Adventure Sports projects that you can join from 2 weeks to 1 year and make your travel meaningful!

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