J. R.R. Tolkien’s adventure tale, ’The Hobbit’ had the alternative title ‘There and Back Again’. All who know (and love) the Tolkien tales, will remember that Bilbo indeed made his adventure trip but once and ultimately left middle earth sailing for Valinor with the elves.
Many of us who seek adventure on sailing ships are unlikely to encounter the extreme events found in the pages of The Hobbit, or the sequel – ‘Lord of the Rings’. Certainly we don’t encounter goblins, giant spiders, ents or elves – though it may sometimes feel so. And, with good luck, we get to repeat our travels many times. Yet, there is a down side to that.
If you are like most sailors, you find yourself sailing to familiar destinations repeatedly, season after season. Familiar is nice. We know the time and distance factors and constraints of weather. We know how much company we’ll find, or not, in our favorite anchorages. Many make these destination choices as part of a club program. Single-handing or cruising outside of club sanctioned events offers more freedom to sail to the wind and explore new places, but can miss the social side of sailing – and some really good parties! But, don’t you frequently feel a strong urge for greater adventure on the water?
Enter the DelMarVa rally, the Bermuda Ocean Race, the Caribbean 1500 and other similar distance and open ocean events. These are organized to satisfy our desire (need) for greater adventure and experience. They are designed to challenge our sailing skills with safety in mind. Venturing further with the expectation of experiencing a wider range of sailing conditions, and to see ‘what’s over the horizon’ promises to satisfy that urge for greater adventure. Depending on your particular level of tolerance for risk, these are easy steps to take in the company of like-minded sailors. Stretching further to ocean-crossing destinations is generally a step too far for most of us, but always something to day-dream about or even plan for whether realistic or not.
In a few short months (June 2013), the promise of an adventure opportunity awaits. Another DelMarVa Rally is being organized by Spinsheet magazine and others. In 2011, over two dozen boats ranging from 30 to 44ft completed this circumnavigation of the DelMarVa peninsula going clockwise from Annapolis through the C&D Canal, off-shore near Cape May to Hampton, Va and home. Next year we will take the reverse course. The seminars and meetings in preparation for this adventure are underway now, so follow the plans at http://www.delmarvarally.com/ .
If like me, you’ve winterized your boat and are done sailing for the year, planning for next season is what we do to get our sailing ‘fix’ through the cold months. Our luckier friends are south of the Carolinas by now and finding warmer climes as they head for the Keys or beyond. Fair winds to all, and see you on the water next season!