02 July 2012

Raft-Up: Are We Sailors or Travelers?

It's Raft-Up time!

We are part of a group of cruisers/bloggers who coordinate each month to write on a common subject.  Same topic, but different perspectives: it's pretty interesting!  Ean wrote our first Raft-Up article, about hobbies.  

The topic this month: Do we live on a boat because we want to SAIL or because we want to TRAVEL?

Of course, I could just say "BOTH" and let it go at that.  But this is, for most cruisers, one of those fuzzy "spectrum" questions that requires explanations and qualifications.  It becomes especially interesting if crewmates find themselves at different places on the sailor-traveler spectrum. 
You might guess, by this picture, which end of the spectrum I favor. 
South of Andros, entering the Tongue of the Ocean at dawn

On JOY, I am the sailor and Ean is the traveler.  That is not to say that Ean doesn't enjoy the sailing, or that I don't enjoy the traveling.  But for us, the scale tips in different directions.  For me, living on a boat, being at sea, is like coming home.  For Ean, it is a grand adventure and a way to see the world.

I think this makes for a great team.  Sailors remind travelers to enjoy the journey and see the sea, and travelers help sailors find the joy of Being Someplace Else.

Ean has a way of soaking a place in to his bones.  He is endlessly curious, and people love to tell him stories.  For an example of a traveler's perspective, read Ean's post on our last port of call, Key West.

Meanwhile, sailor Jane is having fun with route planning - how do we get OUT of Key West?  Watching the wind forecasts, plotting where we'll be when, searching the cruising guides and forums for advice.  For me, this is part of the joy of sailing.  Being a sailor, for me, is about cutting the boat through the sea and the sky, more than it is about the distinct act of "sailing."  Yes, I like to play with the sails.   (I think SAILOR-sailors call this "trimming the sails.")  And that moment, when a nice breeze first catches into all that fabric, makes my heart soar.  But on our most recent passage, from Key West to Staniel Cay, we sailed less than half the distance, motored the rest.  On this voyage, here's why the sailor-in-me felt at home:
  • Sea birds circling
  • Glassy water
  • Squalls darkening the edge of the sky
  • The contours of the land, magically matching the chart
  • The unseen contours of the ocean floor, dropping suddenly from 10 feet to 3200 feet deep.
  • Flying fish
  • Sunrises
  • Sunsets
  • The line that our track makes on the chartplotter, a visible record of "progress"
  • 360 degrees of unfettered sea-meets-sky horizon

These are a few of my favorite things.  And... it's good to be home.

I'm planning to keep score for the rest of the Raft-Up schedule.  So far:

Sailors                                l

Travelers                            l
Unwilling to choose           0
(take a stand, dammit!)

Click on the monkey's fist to read others bloggers on this topic.

The Monkey's Fist


  1. Good post. Made me think a little about what I have written for the 11th. I might have to look at what Mark and I are a little more.

    Oh, and yeah. no guys. don't know what's up. I think that for the most part the ladies write the blogs and the men read them. That's all I can figure. We'd love to have some more guys!

  2. Maybe we should do a Raft-Up on "pink" and "blue" divisions of labor : )

    Are you going to write about where you think mini-Mark might find himself, on the sailor-traveler spectrum?

    Even as a kid, I was always more of a sailor than a traveler - but I started at age 11, so it's a bit different!

  3. Now that I've finished my post for tomorrow, I'm finally allowing myself to read the other posts in the raftup. Yours? Brilliant! In some marriages, one person is strong in areas where the other is weak, and vice-versa. It was fun to read about how you complement each other, since Dan and I both learned to sail together, and for most things in our marriage, we have similar, rather than complementary strengths. (although, he's the better sail trimmer and I'm the better navigator, but still, ours is more like "birds of a feather flock together than "opposites attract")

  4. Complementary - that's such a friendly, cooperative word! :-) Sometimes we pull in different directions - but never a dull moment!