Yachting Monthly - - VIEW FROM THE HELM - Theo Stocker Yacht­ing Monthly Ed­i­tor

How do you know when you’ve had a good week on the wa­ter? Tanned limbs rather than wind­burned cheeks, miles of wake trail­ing astern, or a zen­like feel­ing of calm from watch­ing the sun sink over a quiet an­chor­age, tak­ing the hub­bub of life with it?

I have a new mea­sure for suc­cess­ful sail­ing: after a week afloat, my tech­nol­ogy dis­owned me. Han­dling can­vas and rope in a brac­ing April breeze tough­ened my of­fice-soft hands and rubbed my fin­ger­tips smooth. The bio­met­ric um­bil­i­cal cord cut, I couldn’t make the touch­screen work for days. I might only have been on the Nor­folk Broads rather than the open sea, but it did my soul a world of good to be out un­der those wide, cloud-painted skies. More­over, it was a nov­elty to be on a gaff-rig­ger with a boom that was longer than the width of the river I was sail­ing down.

Sailors have al­ways found them­selves at the junc­tion of na­ture and tech­nol­ogy. Clas­sic boats on cen­turies-old trade routes con­tinue to work their magic on the imag­i­na­tion and on the char­ac­ters of those who sail them, as one group of teenagers found on an At­lantic cir­cuit in Jolie Brise (p22).

At the other end of the spec­trum, a new breed of dig­i­tal no­mads are earn­ing a liv­ing while cruis­ing far and wide (p52).

Which­ever phi­los­o­phy you pre­fer, the sen­sa­tion of har­ness­ing the wind to reach your des­ti­na­tion is still at the heart of why we love sail­ing. At least, it is for me. It might be tempt­ing to hoist the rags and sit back, but you could be get­ting a lot more out of your boat. For very little ef­fort, you could make life com­fier on board, more en­joy­able for your crew and that ex­tra speed might just get you there for clos­ing time (p38).

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