Now, after my final voyage with BEA, I want to write a little bit about what I have learned from my little girl. There are definitely more things I learned from here – but this would get to far…
- I can’t fight against the weather
It’s just impossible – if you try, you will always lose at some point. Sure, a seaworthy boat can do a lot of things – sail against a strong headwind, deal with high seas… but at the end? No matter how seaworthy you and your boat are, no matter the experience, there is always a point at which the only thing you can do is change the course or get into a bay or a harbor and wait for the weather to change. Well, with BEA this point comes pretty early, wind force 5, if she has to 6, then I have to take the sail down and row – of course in front of the wind. Against? Well, good luck trying even if it’s just on a lake…
So what can I do? I can adjust. Of course, I have places I want to visit. Like I always wanted to get to the sea. And I did. But not by fighting against the nature but looking how I could use it. So instead of fighting against the wind, I just went with it until it brought me to the sea.
- Boat size doesn’t matter
I was always the smallest boat in the port – most harbormasters told me, that I had the smallest boat that ever visited there harbor. And I never saw someone cruising with a smaller boat. But: I looked to the same sunsets and sunrises as those cruising with way bigger boats. I saw the same towns, the same landscapes (at least when I could look over the reed), met the same people and sailed the same lakes and channels as they did. Even more, I also visited some places that they could never go – to high the rig, to deep the keel. To be fair: There are many places I can’t go with BEA cause she isn’t seaworthy. But just cause most of the boats I met could go to those places didn’t mean that they went to them. More then enough of them stayed in the same, safe waters as I did with my little inflatable. So what really matters isn’t how big (or small) your boat is. It’s what you do with it.
- Cruising isn’t expensive
I always hear that cruising would be so expensive. Owning a boat would be like destroying 100$ bills while taking a cold shower. And I believe it – it can be like that. And, in some areas of the world, this might be the only way. I don’t know it – since I just have been cruising in the Netherlands to this point. And: There it’s not true! Sure, it can be.
I bought BEA for around 300€. While my last voyage (7 days) I paid 21€ for berth – for a hole week in different harbors and berths. The voyage before, I paid around the same amount for two full weeks including parking. For boat maintains in one year I paid around 30 € – and my girl is in a good condition for her age! I didn’t pay more for food then I would have at home and that’s it. One week at a beach would have been way more expensive. You have the money to party? Or for a “normal” vacation? You DO HAVE the money to cruise. And don’t come to me with things like “comfort” – this might be a reason not to cruise the way I did. But then the reason why you don’t cruise isn’t a lack of money – it’s you. (Even if this might piss of some people…) – That’s okay, but don’t be all “It’s to expensive”. There is a way to do it cheep. End of story.
- There is no shame in asking for help
While my first sailing voyage, I had a hard time asking other people for help. I even said “No” when someone asked me if he should tow me since I was rowing against a strong wind. Stupid. Everybody makes mistakes from time to time. You don’t believe me? Well, go into an harbor and look at people when they moor. You will see that I’m right with this. There are (almost) always people looking. And, whenever someone with problems asked for help people happily helped. You have to ask – sometimes people will help you even if you don’t, but if you really need help (which everybody does from time to time), just ask.
- Multitasking & Navigation
Well, when I started cruising with BEA, I had to concentrate on the sailing part. Navigation? Hardly – the result, you can read in my posts about my first voyage with BEA (Here). I went the wrong way – more then once. But with the time I learned to navigate. In fact, I learned more about navigation by just trying then by reading books, blogs and other stuff about it. There is still a lot to learn but hey…
But that’s not all. While sailing and navigating, I took photos, made a few videos, read a book (yes, while sailing an open sailboat), made me something to eat, changed my clothing and sung a few songs. And, by the way, enjoyed the landscape.
- You will find joy when you least expect it
I love sailing. While cruising with BEA, I almost always have a huge smile in my face. Almost always. But then there are the times I get moody. Sad. While being on the water. The wind blows out of the wrong direction, is to strong. The landscape is ugly (like a lot of industry buildings), it’s cold, everything is wet, every bone hurts, you’re tired… Well, you could just say everything sucks. And then, suddenly something happens and it all changes back to being happy. The professional sailors with there tall ships greeting you with nothing but a nice smile and respect in there faces, an animal following you on your way looking at you in a funny way, the sun coming out behind the clouds… just something. Sometimes, you might not even know what has changed. Often, all I had to do when I started to get moody (which isn’t as often as this might sound) was, to remember and think of all the great adventures I was allowed to experience. At the end, I always was happy. Some of those hard minutes and hours, rowing against high seas in a thunderstorm, wet to the skin, everything grey around me…. Well, those are some of the greatest memories. Sure, it was hard work and it sucked at that moment – but I DID IT! And at the end of the day, I was always happy. I made mistakes. But at the end, this mistakes got me where I am right now. And from where I see it, I have a pretty awesome time sailing and cruising – and looking forward to do a lot more of it!
- You don’t now what joy really means…
…before you get at least once ashore after rowing against strong conditions for hours, wet to the bones and all the time, while getting shaken around just wanting to do one thing: PEE!
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