How to Sail the South Seas

How to Sail the South Seas
There are few more romantic images than a sailboat at sunset on calm, foreign seas. The "South Seas" is not an official geographical designation. It may refer to the South China Sea, or most any ocean south of the equator, or it may be a more metaphorical reference to idyllic warm weather sailing. In any case, this dream can be captured in a number of ways.

Instructions

Difficulty: Challenging

Step 1
Truest to the fantasy is boat ownership. Owning a sea-worthy sail boat will cost more than a recreational sail boat. It should probably be a full keel with a heavy ballast. This makes the boat somewhat slower, but more resistant to ocean turbulence and more likely to cut through big waves.
Step 2
A bareboat is just what it sounds like: a boat without a captain, crew or provisions. It usually includes linens, navigational, and safety equipment but everything else has to be provided by the renter (one chartering the boat). This requires the same mastery of sailing as sailing your own boat, maybe more because you will have less time to familiarize yourself with the boat's maneuverability.
Step 3
Chartering a skippered boat is another way to sail. This kind of sailing goes beyond a bareboat with a captain and maybe even a crew. This can be a great way to sail for the novice sailor. You can be as involved in the work of sailing as you want. Make sure you are comfortable with the captain before you weigh anchor. Some packages include special services such as gourmet chefs or tour guides.
Step 4
Sail as a crew member on someone else's boat. If you are an accomplished sailor it might be possible to find someone with a similar dream and a boat. Signing on as crew requires excellent, documentable sailing skills as well as an ability to get along with virtual strangers in tight quarters and under stressful conditions. Doing this can be completely free of charge.
Step 5
If you have no sailing skills but love the ocean, there are commercial sail boat cruises on larger sail boats that will include many other passengers. These often are on specific itineraries that may include special things like specific landfalls and parties on board the ship. They also include crew with special skills.

Tips & Warnings

 
Remember the seasons are reversed from North America. In many areas the best sailing is in the winter.
 
Remember the seasons are reversed from North America. In many areas the best sailing is in the winter.
 
There is a sailing reality, that reality is that the peaceful image of south sea sailing may be misleading. Sailing conditions can include hurricanes, sky-scraper sized waves, unpredictable currents, doldrums, etc., all in places farther from civilization than reasonable. Without the best equipment, the best experience and the best luck, such a sailing trip can be dangerous.
 
There is a sailing reality, that reality is that the peaceful image of south sea sailing may be misleading. Sailing conditions can include hurricanes, sky-scraper sized waves, unpredictable currents, doldrums, etc., all in places farther from civilization than reasonable. Without the best equipment, the best experience and the best luck, such a sailing trip can be dangerous.

Article Written By Kathleen Northridge

Kathleen Northridge has been a professional, freelance, S.P.J.A award-winning writer since 1985. She has written for organizations as diverse as the American Cancer Society and Sign Business Magazine. She also has a background in research and education. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, San Diego.

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