Thursday, February 9, 2012
"It's not the ship, it's the crew."
That nautical cliche holds so true for traveling sailboats. People (well, men, mostly) turn their interest in the sea into a fetish for boat design and gear specs. And it turns out that stuff is tangential to having a happy, or even safe, traveling boat. What you really need to make the life afloat a success is an above-reproach partnership with the person who you sail with.
I've been aware of all that ever since the first six months that Alisa and I spent as full time-sailors. We went through a lifetime of tough moments together in those six months of learning the ropes, and the fortunes of Pelagic very much rose and fell based on how well Alisa and I were working together on any given day.
But now, with a couple Pacific crossings under our belts, I'm also starting to see the corollary. Sailing doesn't just require strong partnership - it also fosters it. If a couple are embarked on the enterprise of crossing big pieces of water on small boats, they have something external that they are always leaning against. The challenges of the lifestyle keep you looking outward, they remind you that you aren't the center of the universe, and they keep you from navel-gazing at either yourself or the "relationship". Having a challenge of that magnitude saves you from the ennui of a sedentary life.
(Or maybe romance just lasts longer when you're both living in your bathing suits.)
Below - transiting between Tasman Island and Cape Pillar, yesterday.