Bluewater Sailing 101
Let's dive into an exploration of the benefits and challenges of bluewater sailing, starting with this description...
Bluewater sailing is a unique type of sailing because it takes place in the open ocean. It's more complex than sailing in protected waters or even coastal sailing because of the greater risks and challenges associated with it.
Those risks and challenges are largely related to the unpredictable nature of the ocean environment... and because bluewater sailing often involves sailing in remote areas, far away from land, with no one to rely on but yourself.
But... if you're looking for an exciting, meaningful way to explore the world... bluewater sailing is a great option.

Not Always Calm Seas & Tropical Sunsets

Here's an overview of the challenges and dangers you'll likely encounter.
The weather can change quickly and unexpectedly in spite of what the weather forecasts say and accordingly, the sea state can be erratic. In short, you'll need to be prepared for all manner of potential changes.
Winds can be strong and gusty, the sea can be rough, and you'll need to know how to handle your yacht in those conditions.
Big swells will cause the boat to constantly rock and you'll need to know how to cope with the motion. Add some heavy waves to the top of those swells and the motion will become much more aggressive.
Monitoring the weather is a daily or even hourly process and you need to keep yourself aware of storms and potential rogue waves... obviously, they can be very dangerous, particularly at night.
However, navigating in the Ocean is not as difficult as navigating in inland waters where the visibility can be poor and the terrain is often unfamiliar.
But you'll still need to know how to read a chart, interpret the current and weather conditions, and use the right navigational tools.
There's also wildlife like whales, sharks, and other sea creatures you may encounter and find intimidating. You'll need to be prepared to take the necessary safety precautions and certainly avoid hitting them.
You'll need to be aware of the potential for hitting floating dangers like containers and abandoned fishing nets. It doesn't happen often but it still can happen.That leads to a sometimes neglected essential... knowing and understanding what kind of safety equipment to have on board and how to use it in case of an emergency.

Enough Doom & Gloom...

On the bright side of life, bluewater sailing offers a variety of benefits, including:
The opportunity to explore new places
The challenge of mastering the skills needed to sail on the open ocean
The chance to disconnect from the frenzy and chaos of everyday life on land
Probably the Number One benefit of bluewater sailing is the opportunity to explore new places... and bluewater sailors are typically found in places that are far away and often difficult to reach except by boat.
It's certainly a great way to experience different cultures, climates, and landscapes, and bluewater sailors (Bluewater Cruisers) often become addicted to the lifestyle.
If you like feeling a sense of achievement in life, then bluewater sailing is going to deliver it regularly as you handle the challenge of mastering the skills needed to sail on the open ocean.
It's an excellent way to hone your sailing skills and constantly learn new ones in a dynamic environment.
Now if the frenzy and franticness of everyday life in a city have become overwhelming for you... then bluewater sailing is going to deliver peace and quiet as you've possibly never experienced before.
Sure... there are going to be some anxious moments but as each day passes your relaxation and enjoyment will be more the norm as the stresses of life on land fade away.
So I hope you understand now why some people say they are going bluewater cruising for a year or two... and ten years later they're still at it.

10 Frequently Asked Questions

As we close on this introduction, I want to give you 10 frequently asked questions about blue water sailing that I'll be covering more in future blog posts:
What are the challenges and dangers of bluewater sailing? What are the best boats for bluewater sailing and what should I look for in a boat? How do I prepare for a bluewater sailing trip and what supplies do I need? What skills do I need to have as a bluewater sailor and what are the key safety considerations? What are the most popular destinations for bluewater sailing and what are the best seasons to sail in these locations? How do I navigate in open water and what are the best navigation tools and techniques? How do I manage my boat's systems and what are the best maintenance practices for a bluewater sailing yacht? How do I deal with storms, rough seas, and other severe weather conditions while sailing? What are the best communication systems and safety equipment to have on a bluewater sailing trip? How do I find crew members and what should I look for in a sailing partner?
The answers are coming...