What does it mean – sailing?

A long time ago Antoine de Saint Exupery once said that “There is a poetry of sailing as old as the world.” What does sailing really mean for us, sailors, and not the ones just looking at us?

The number of answers to the questions are as many as the sailors themselves. One cannot deny that everyone has a small daredevil inside, a sort of an adventurous spirit inside us that makes us look further, a little further, just behind the horizon. Sailing is the never ending thirst for adventures, thirst for new horizons and the need to discover new worlds. For someone it’s also a chance to be alone with his thoughts, to get away form routine and to enjoy the nature and the sea. It is a chance to enjoy the feeling of freedom and vastness. The sea changes us, takes away the negative, the negative thoughts and bad mood. If you get on board in the beginning of the journey as a grim, tired and sullen office dweller, then you always come home as an overtired, sunburnt and yet smiling being. Maybe even with a new understanding of the world. After the first week in the sea, one does not care what day or what date it is. There are no meetings, no nervous co-workers, there is an unexplainable peace and a feeling that you are about to get a strange enlightenment. I would not count on the enlightenment though, it’s more likely to get hit on the head from the mast. Maybe for you it is a chance to prove yourself in a competition, to get the intoxicating dose of adrenaline, when you try to get the first to the starting line. It’s nice to feel the tension in the ear, when every smoker is making the impression of the chimneys of a thermal power station, just to catch the slightest whiffle in the air and get it’s direction right. To use any tactical methods just to be the first, or at least to catch the last boat. In the competitions it is also a chance to be a part of a united team, to act in unison and get the feeling that all the team members can be as one. Maybe for you it is a chance to give your strength to the sea and in return get the winning breeze for the finishing spurt. We all have seen the times when the rain makes you think that the Noah’s deluge was just a small drizzle and and the chance to see the sun seems as unlikely as the chance of Ruhnu Island ever belonging to Latvia. You get up, or get awakened to be more exact, from a fabulous dream, get out of your nice and warm bunk. Get your already wet clothes on and get on the deck with “a smile on your face”, just in time for the sea to get enough water behind your collar, to soak every single dry piece of clothing you had. At times like these one always gets to have the simple and yet strange question in his head – what am I doing here, why do I need all this? William Snaith wrote in his book “On the wind’s way” that sailing in the ocean consists of many bad afternoons, detestable mornings and heavy nights. An yet… The emotions and impressions compensate in full the sleepless nights, the wetness and the hostile walls of the bunk in high winds. No matter how tired we are, we always get two kinds of feelings when we are approaching our home. One one hand, we want to get home, to our family, our friend, and our bed, that is level and doesn’t move. On the other hand, something inside keeps longing for the white sails and the waves that makes you fall asleep better than any lullaby, and you get the craving for new adventures once more. We all have our own answers to the question – what is sailing and sailors. I wouldn’t even say that it is a way of life, a persuasion or a way to spend your leisure time, it is more of a soul condition, that can be fully understood only by the sailor himself. The thing we have in common is sea, sails and the knowledge that the end of an adventure is just the beginning of the next one… ©