Sailboat Cruising
by Trish Lambert  

When sailboat cruising... and even when back on land you get asked many questions... these are Trish Lambert's answers... ones I most definitely relate too!  How about you?

1.  What made you decide to go sailboat cruising?


My first husband, Dan, who had grown up spending his summers on the Jersey Shore, introduced me to the idea. An adventurer, he and his first wife has already had a motorcycle adventure-a trek across the U.S. with a cycle and sidecar.

Cruising was the next big adventure on his list, and he brought up the thought of living and traveling aboard a sailboat within the first year we were married.

I was brought up to follow the American Dream- get a good education, get a good job, get a husband, buy a house and lots of other stuff - but that skin didn't really fit me very well.

I had started out on that track, but had veered off it by my mid 20's, and was looking for other ways to live a satisfying life.

And my American Dream upbringing did have a quirk to it: My father was a career officer in the U.S. Army, and my growing up years were spent moving around the country and the world.

We moved to Iran in the early 1960s, when I was seven years old, which made a huge impression on me in terms of learning at a young age that there are other countries and culture in the world.

I also spent my last two years of high school in Italy - Tuscany, no less - which reinforced a wanderlust that has lasted all my life.

When Dan tested the idea of cruising on me, my gypsy tendencies were triggered. I read books and talked boats with him, and grew enamoured of the idea of traveling the world in one's own home. What a way to live!!!

I will admit that the actual work of sailing and navigating didn't enter my thoughts then; it was the traveling and get to know different places up close that took up my imagination.

Even with the attraction I felt for what I perceived as the sailboat cruising life, I wavered for a while, ambivalent about the wisdom of making such a big change to the path we were on.

The final feather that tipped the scales was my father's death at age 63. Though retired from the military, he had not stopped working, so all the big plans that he and my mother had for their "golden years" came to nothing.

The jolt of seeing their retirement dreams go down the drain steeled me to take the step.

And the rest, I suppose, is history!

2.  What made you believe you could do it?


Ignorance, for one thing!

If I had really understood the complexity of  cruising back then, I think I would have become too intimidated to try. I also exercised the same logic I had used in my teens when the idea of driving a car seemed impossible: I looked around at the other people who were doing it (and writing about it) and said, "Heck, if THOSE people can do it, so can I!"

The sailors and cruisers I met were just ordinary people, no more brave or smart than I was-and that encouraged me to give it a go.

3.  Do you ever feel that "deep longing" or restlessness that makes you want to go again?
Describe how this feels to you or what it is!


When Dan and I split up, I moved to San Diego. There didn't seem to be any possibility of my going sailboat cruising again, and it was a great loss.

Whenever I was in the vicinity of masts, there went the lump in the throat and the tears in the eyes.

I wanted to be out on the water again, but there didn't seem to be any way to do it-especially since husband #2 (Jim) had told me early in our courtship that he was prone to seasickness. Miraculously, he got bit by the sailboat cruising bug himself, and I WAS able to get out on the water again!

There are many things that pull me toward cruising!

  • I love living so close to nature; this is an existence where the phase of the moon has a direct bearing on life, and understanding natural systems is extremely important. 
  • I love the requirement of self-sufficiency that suffuses the life; we have to know about and do many things that most land dwellers haven't even thought of.
  •  I love the feeling of accomplishment upon arrival at the destination we had been targeting - whether that was 25 miles down the line or thousands of miles across an ocean. 
  • And I love the camaraderie and "level playing field" of the sailboat cruising community: No one is better or worse than anyone else based on their material wealth or what they did before cruising. Rather, people are judged based on their behavior and actions in the present, and that's a good thing!

I'm living my life ashore these days because of the lure of other items on my "bucket list."

I must say that I do think about sailboat cruising from time to time - the gypsy forces are still working in me, and though I don't feel the need to cross oceans anymore, there are still many many places in the western hemisphere that I would like to go to by boat.

And after twenty years, I really do understand the life-including the actual sailing and navigation required to do the traveling-and I enjoy that easily as much as I enjoy seeing new places, living close to nature, and being part of the cruising village.

4.  Did you have the same feelings before you cruised or was that initial feeling something different?


I only suspected that the life would have the characteristics I described above. My initial feelings were bound up in the excitement of an out-of-the-ordinariness of sailboat cruising as a way to live, and the anticipation of great adventure.

Familiarity with sailboat cruising and all that it entails has blunted those particular sensations, though I still love the degree of uniqueness of the lifestyle, and get a kick out of non-cruisers' fascination with it.

5.  If you were to choose a common thread(s) between all your cruising friends that made it possible for them to fulfill this goal, what would it be?


I think that the one thing that we all share-and we are quite a diverse bunch of people-is the fundamental belief that this is something that we MUST do in our lifetimes.

No matter how long or how short a time people cruise, we all seem to share the idea that we would be missing something big and would regret it for the rest of our lives if we didn't get ourselves out on the water.

6.  Are you the sort of person who always pursues dreams and makes them come true?



I have to say yes, but with an explanation. I have always managed to get what I've dreamed of, but, in the process, things haven't always looked that way.

There has been a sort of Zen aspect (or whatever it's called)-often, the more I consciously work to attain something the farther away I get from achievement. Most often, it's only after I've let go of having to follow a particular path to attain a goal and stepped back from having so much emotional investment in an outcome that things have fallen into place.

A good example is what I mentioned above: When Dan and I split up, I thought my sailboat cruising days were absolutely over, especially after hooking up with Jim, who initially indicated no interest whatsoever in cruising.

But over a few years' time, after hearing my stories and thinking about it on his own, he came around-VERY much to my surprise. I had let go of the idea of going back out, and wasn't doing anything to push him that direction. This sort of theme has cropped up time and again in my life in terms of reaching my goals.

7.  If so, why do you think this is?


I've come to believe strongly that clarity of purpose is the only way to have a chance of achieving what we want. I was initiated in things like creative visualization, affirmations, and journaling in the woo-woo 1970s, and though I don't strictly adhere to any of those tactics, I do retain the belief that in order to get what I want, I need to be able to clearly articulate my goals, objectives, dreams, whatever you want to call them.

So I do work on writing them down as clearly as possible from time to time. I think this exercise helps me perceive opportunities and ideas in life that will move me in the directions I want to go; without that clarity, I would very likely miss the signs in the environment.


Trish Lambert has been a cruising sailor for over twenty-five years and a first mate three times, with three different skippers and three very different cruising styles.

She knows first hand what makes cruising successful, and what she has to share may surprise you! Whether you are a skipper or first mate, a singlehander or part of a sailboat cruising couple, sail boater or power boater, Trish has insights that will help make your cruising dream a reality.

Article Source: Ezine Articles - Trish Lambert     


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