In case you hadn’t heard, people with boats are doing some pretty neat things on the water lately.
After 43 days at sea, Dan Lenard, co-founder of the Italian design firm Nuvolari Lenard, just completed a solo transatlantic expedition to raise awareness for ocean pollution. Even more impressive, his 33-foot sailing yacht, Scia, was built using recycled parts and had no engine, electronics, autopilot or compass, leaving Lenard to navigate the Atlantic Ocean entirely by sight, stars and the sun.
As of this writing, the crew of a 47-foot Beneteau Swift Trawler is reportedly battling 12-footers on the nose as she heads south off of California’s notorious Cape Mendocino on a leg of the Swift Pacific Adventure, a Seattle-to-San Diego mission the builder created to put the boat’s espoused seaworthiness to the test.F
The owners of San Gottardo, a plucky 65-foot trawler once deemed too small for commercial fishing in the North Sea, are contending with the brutal elements of the Arctic Ocean aboard their boat for The Swiss Arctic Project, a charitable effort to show youngsters the effects of climate change through real-life glaciers, wildlife and more. You can read about San Gottardo’s mission and more in our current issue, the “Bluewater Issue,” which is hitting newsstands and mailboxes as we speak. We just received our first copies in the office, and we were pretty excited to see the final product. Not just because of the blood, sweat and tears that went into it (okay, so there was no actual blood—it turned out to be beet juice from someone’s breakfast smoothie—but there was definitely sweat and a few tears), but because we’re all suckers for a good adventure story, and this issue is full of them.
In his column this month, Dudley Dawson describes bluewater cruising as “the best of adventures, the portal to many experiences not otherwise available.” To the extent of my waterborne experience, I’ve found the spirit of adventure to have a great effect on personal character. Embracing adventure makes us masters of our destiny. It teaches us to be bold yet cautious, brave but not reckless. Adventure is also a stimulant, adding zest to our lives, and at the end of the voyage, we’re all the better for it.
Living in Fort Lauderdale, arguably the waterway capital of the world, my family and I do a fair amount of inshore cruising—which, to be honest, has always sort of felt like a waste of a perfectly good ocean to me. As the editor of a magazine that challenges its readers to step out of their comfort zones and venture farther with their boats once in a while, I admit to feeling a pang of guilt that, like many of you, I’ve yet to make an ocean crossing (on a boat, that is). And I certainly haven’t circumnavigated anything of note. But, I sure love to hear the stories brought home by those who have. Should I ever get the chance myself, I’d consider a global circumnavigation the ultimate challenge.
Just this month I learned, through social media, that a childhood friend had passed away. We’d lost touch over the years, but I still remember the last time we were together: high school graduation, caps and gowns, that greenhorn feeling of invincibility. We had our whole lives before us, or so we thought. When we were classmates, he’d talk of owning a boat one day, sketching crude profiles of his dream boat on the back of his homework during study halls. At age 41, he hung up his key floats for good. If that doesn’t make you realize just how fleeting life is, then I reckon not much else will.
So, I’ll just put this to all of us: What are we waiting for? Go. Set a goal. Make a plan. Get prepared. (If you need help with that, veteran voyager Bob Arrington’s piece on adventure cruising has you covered on page 44.) Head out beyond the breakwater. Have an adventure. Make a few memories. You might just have a whole lot of fun doing it, too.
If you’d like to subscribe, please consider doing so. If you’re already one of the Passagemaker faithful, expect to see the issue in your mailbox in the coming days.
Either way, here’s hoping you embrace the spirit of adventure in your own cruising endeavors this summer.