“What is it like to live on a sail boat in such a small space?” “Is it claustrophobic, especially when you are out for long periods of time?” Common questions I’m often asked by non-sailors. The simple answer is NO. Supporting individuals and couples in gaining the skills and confidence to “cruise," we'll always share the good, the bad, the reality.
Essentially, we are talking about living on a vessel that is 43 feet in length and 13 feet at the beam, or widest part. At first blush for the non-sailor, that sounds like quite a bit of room until you fill it up with an engine room, storage lockers, galley, head (bathroom), and a salon. What remains is a V-berth and quarter berth, accommodations for three or four people nestled into a cozy space. Any extra passengers sleep in the convertible salon, an open living area. Privacy, per say, is limited at best.
So why do I say NO? Because it isn’t about space, it is about sailing. When on a passage, thinking isn’t so much about the individual but about keeping the vessel tuned in response to the conditions surrounding her and sailing her in sync with the rest of the team. As a sailing team, focus is on each doing his part, working interdependently to achieve the highest level of efficiency for the conditions. Close conditions are replaced by a sense of comradery and appreciation of your fellow. Working collectively, the vessel sails better, faster, and safer.
The demands of sailing require one to become focused on the moment leaving the outside world a distant thought along with all other material and emotional constraints that tend to occupy one’s mind. The physical and technical demands of sailing cause you to become tired and interested only in a place to lay your head. Under the guiding hands of your mates, you to rest deeply, soothed by the sounds of the vessel in motion.
The world is no longer a close space but a place of excitement, comradery, and sharing. The interdependence creates a unifying purpose Life ceases to be about the individual and more about the whole. The space is just the vessel that the holds it all together.