Armchair Sailing

I’m reading Lone Voyager by Maureen Jenkins. She was an Englishwoman who decided that she had had enough and was going to make changes in her life. Having raised her sons to adulthood and tolerated her husband with difficulty for years, at the age of 50 she took a fancy to sailing, So she left her husband, found somebody to build her a sail boat, sold her possessions to pay for it, and took off on the high seas by herself. It turns out that she had more past demons to exorcise than she indicated in the book (as indicated in this more recent article) but the therapy of sailing alone was clear.

Off she went – sailing to Spain and the Azores and across the Atlantic, seasick to an extreme, but totally happy with her freedom. Fixing the motor with no mechanical experience. Learning to navigate. Wrestling the sails to the ground deck.

She discovered the pleasures of being alone and the pleasures of being part of a special community of people who live on the move but joyfully encounter each other from time to time in when they happen to arrive at the same stop. [Really, what that means is that at every port of call, she found other wanderers and partied with them like there was no  tomorrow. Because maybe there wasn’t.]

In my mind, the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain is another solo/community adventure with the some of the same attractions, with very little of the real risk.

Another sailing book I’ve read was When the Wind Blows, by Maggie Ansell. It was an exciting memoir of a couple sailing around the world and capsizing off the coast of Australia. The last chapter is worth reading even without the rest.

A Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude, by Anne Vanderhoof, was a case of couple who quit their corporate jobs and sailed to the Caribbean.

I’ve read more on the subject… from Kon Tiki to 8Men and a Duck.

20131011_163813Nevertheless, I have no wish to take up sailing in a serious way. I prefer my sailing to be within sight of a major city, on my brother’s boat. It is exciting enough to be in nasty winds on Lake Ontario within sight of the CN Tower!

My excuse is that I am a bit past Maureen’s age when she started sailing at 50.

Walking is much cheaper as well as do-able into old age, I hope.


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7 thoughts on “Armchair Sailing

  1. Clare,

    This is a beautiful post.

    Yes, for me the Camino is my sailing. I love the freedom it brings me. I love the peace it brings. I love the simplicity of my existence while on the Camino.

    I hope one day you and I can share at least a section of the Camino if not the entire walk.


    • I hope so. Have you thought about Via de la Plata or Camino de Madrid? Silly question – I know you’ve thought about them but just haven’t scheduled them yet!

    • Clare,
      Yes I have given thought to both of those routes.

      Next May I am thinking of either Le Chemin Le Puy or d’Arles. I will connect with the French route and hopefully continue on to Santiago.

      But after that, I’m open to suggestions. There are many different routes, I would like to walk them all.

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