Cruise Sailing VS Race Sailing

There are two types of sailor out on the water. One yearns for speed, the other chooses cruise sailing.

These opposites have only one thing in common: Their love for having the wind power their yachts. Everything else they do when making that happen is entirely contradictory, well, almost everything.

Racing yacht
Racing: The art of speed.

One lives by a race mantra: The Faster the Better.

Every part of this sailor’s sail and boat is there for a specific purpose, designed to make the most out of the wind and water. Reducing wetted areas and increasing sail area is what it’s all about. Even the rigging is strung in ways reduce speed-limiting windage. Unnecessary weight in the boat is removed. Only the ballast that’s needed to keep the boat upright is kept, down low. Humans act as moveable ballast. The goal is to feed the sail as much good, clean, undisturbed air and make the hull touch the least amount of water as possible.


cruise sailing picture
Cruising: The art of boat conservation

The other sailor has a boat of a different kind. He fits his relatively spacious boat out with fridges, solar panels, wind-guided autopilots and every other gadget to make his time on the water a comfortable one. His boat is heavier. The sails on it are smaller and thicker. There are all kinds of things attached to the mast and rigging. Sometimes the sail area is reduced even further to allow a boom to swing safely over the heads of crew in the cockpit. To a racing sailor, this is all energy wasting junk and it must frustrate him to see it. To a cruiser, it’s about enjoying the air and water and taking the time to experience them.

At the end of the day, one of these sailors drinks wine, the other, beer. One talks about the races he’s been in and the other talks about the places he’s sailed to. The two sit at a bar in different groups. You can easily tell them apart. Racers are the noisy ones. The cruisers sit quietly. Racers order steaks. Cruisers eat chicken or fish. Racers wear matching clothes and shoes. Cruisers wear anything that’s not in the wash. Shoes are optional. Shirts are not always needed either.

I began writing my first novel when I was cruise sailing the east coast of Australia. I lived on my thirty foot ‘Last Laugh’ and wrote a murder mystery / noir  / thriller novel on her specially modified chart table. I’d sit and write there for hours at a time, listening the wind howl through the yacht’s rigging above me while thinking up ways to send my characters packing. I’d sail, drop anchor, write and sail again. Ironically, there were no boats written into SEETHINGS. It was a land-based narrative that spent most of its time around Brisbane City. It was the second novel that crossed over and went into cruise sailing.

HEAR THINGS takes to the warm waters of Moreton Bay. My protagonist is into cruise sailing and takes a number of people out on his boat to show them what it’s all about. We meet people at the local marina and find out what life is like for the liveaboards and the cruisers. There’s a rescue in it. And then a body is discovered near Tangalooma, Moreton Island. How it got there and why it’s there is what the story is all about. Someone at the marina knows something but nobody is talking about it. It’s a close-knit community. Lips are shut tight. They look after their own down at the marina.

If you’re into cruise sailing or simply like reading stories about the sea, get yourself a copy today. Find out what cruise sailing is all about while following The Beast into the deep darkness.

-Michael Forman. Author/Photographer

Cruise Sailing: The Cruising Life For Me! was originally published on MICHAEL FORMAN AUTHOR


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