I’m a sailor chick. I have a thing for the ocean. Sailing makes me feel like i’m free. You stand behind the helm and feel the boat under you as you glide through the ocean. There’s nothing like it. You can feel the wind on your skin and hope for a safe passage between your starting point and your next stop.
Following the footsteps of Odysseus
I remember how back in the days i was in Majorca and saw these sailboats anchored near a rocky beach. I was curious about them and remembered thinking that one day i want to try that. I was introduced to sailing as a sport in high school by my ex boyfriend. He was a sea scout so in the summer 2006 i hopped on their scout group’s sailboat and spent a few days sailing around Lake Saimaa. And oh was that fun! I wanted to do it again. The next summer i got to try dinghy sailing and was shit scared the first time i tried it. It was a small one person dinghy with no keel (so it flips around easily) and i was trying to learn what to do with all the ropes and the wind trying to knock me over. Somehow i survived and still wanted to learn more. I got to sail with the scout sailboat a few times again but then leaving for Jyväskylä and other adventures put a 2-year pause for my sailing dreams. I jumped back on a boat in 2011 when the same ex asked if me and our friends would want to rent a boat in the Mediterranean and sail the coast for a bit. I think i screamed ‘hell yes!’ He took care of renting the boat as he was the one with the license to rent a boat and many years of experience from sailing. We booked flights to Croatia and in May 2011 left for an adventure.
The boat was a dream (Salona 44 if anyone wants to know) and rented from Croatia Yachting, a marina near the town of Trogir. It was me and 8 friends on the boat and oh was it fun! We left the home port and headed for Milna, a small town on the island of Brač. I remember the sunset that night and the warm air mixed with that salty sea breeze. I remember thinking that was heaven and the perfect moment. Staring at the horizon that had nothing but water and a golden sky for hundreds of kilometers.
This boat became our home
The next morning we headed offshore and for the first time i felt like i’m really getting a proper hang of sailing. I learned about the boat, learned about trimming the sails and was brave enough to be at the helm. The weather was putting on its best show for the entire holiday and we could feel the heat of the Mediterranean summer. The water in the Adriatic Sea was so clear, turquoise blue and warm that we would spend long breaks jumping off the boat. One of the best ideas was to use the spinnaker lift as a way to swing ourselves into the water, you know like Tarzan. Then after a cooling down session we would lift the sails again and continue to the next swimming spot or the next port. We discovered different Croatian islands during our holiday. We stopped at Hvar, Vis, Korčula and sailed into Split and spend a day getting lost in the old town and its narrow cobblestone streets. In Hvar we celebrated my sister’s 19th birthday and witnessed middle aged sailor men in speedos doing stretching in the morning. We got lobster burned in the sun on the last day and felt like roasting when getting stuck in a no wind zone. We saw dolphins jumping in the distance and couldn’t help but to be amazed by it (coming from Finland sea creatures are not that common).
One of the many sunsets in Croatia
In Croatia my addiction to sailing became a reality. I felt the need to do it again. I didn’t want to leave which i think is always the case after a holiday that seems like utopia. But this was more than utopia. This was living the dream. So i decided that i wanted to learn more, get a license so that i could rent a boat as well and sail off to the horizon. This holiday turned out to be a start for other sailing adventures that i would later on get to experience. It was also a start for probably the best internship i’ve ever had (more about that later).
Yours truly, M
Ps. Curious how to get into sailing? If you’re a keen traveller, there are boats looking for crew all around the world. In New Zealand many boats needed crew and destinations were no less that Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. Definitely a worth to check out if on that side of the globe. Usually one can join a crew without experience as it is a learn on the job type of a sport. It is common that you have to pay a bit for your stay on the boat and then work on the boat as a deckhand (this is how you learn to sail). To get the license (Certificate for Operators of Pleasure Craft) for renting boats you need to do a couple of courses and have some hands on experience.