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Cruising the World Without Going Anywhere

Armchair sailor Tim Zimmermann gets the RSS feed cranked up to follow simple sailing adventures.

March 26, 2012

I write a lot about extreme sailing. That usually means elite sailors, high-end yacht design, sponsors and marketing. But it’s also worth emphasizing simple sailing adventures. No sponsors. No marketing. Just people who went sailing because they love to sail and wanted to explore. And blog, of course.

These days there is no shortage of cruising blogs, and I stumble across them in a pretty random way as I stagger around online. I’m not sure what catches my attention with any given blog, but if I like what I see, I get the old RSS feed cranked up so I can easily follow the adventure from the confines of my sadly land-based life.

Sometimes I just like the area a boat is cruising, especially if it is cruising a part of the world that I would like to explore by boat. Cape Horn, the Strait of Magellan, and the Patagonia region are very high on my list. So when I came across a couple (Michael Walsh and Edi Gelin) from Vancouver writing about their watery peregrinations of those latitudes, I signed on for the ride. Their boat, a Hunter 49, is called Sequitur, and they are keeping a log of their cruise over on SailBlogs.

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The Sequitur blog is an old-style, straightforward account of life aboard. Nothing fancy, just good, solid accounts of where they have been and what happened. But no detail is mundane (at least to me) when it concerns life in and around Cape Horn. You can read their account of getting to Cape Horn here. And what I like about it is that it includes as many details about what was eaten as it does about the sailing.

Here’s the description that goes along with this picture:

_Edi took advantage of the smooth going to go below and prepare breakfast. She scrambled some eggs, which she added to ham and cheese on sliced hockey pucks and then browned them in a covered dry frying pan. Our Cape Horn version of eggs McMuffin went wonderfully with steaming cups of fresh-ground Starbuck’s from the thermos. She had used the tail-end of the bag of beans, leaving us with only two bags remaining. We have been averaging eighteen days per 907-gram bag, so in about five weeks we’ll need to revert to our stock of Peruvian coffee. _

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Aside from making me hungry, and wishing I was eating homemade Egg McMuffins and drinking good coffee in the shadow of Cape Horn, it throws in just the right amount of provisioning detail to get a sense of what it would be like to be cruising that part of the world. (The full backstory of Sequitur can be found here.) Later in that same post they describe anchoring at Caleta Lennox, and enduring 60-knot winds, so read the whole thing. It’s armchair cruising at it’s best.

Another blog I have followed for quite a while, which is familiar to many, is World Tour. World Tour has pioneered a new style of cruising blog that is more tanning-lotion-smeared than salt-caked. It is the online log of Alex and Taru, and looks like it would be very at home on the pages of Vogue.

Start with Alex and Taru. They are not, um, unattractive.

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Their blog announces that “we’re sailing the world in search of freedom, happiness, and simplicity.” There is hardly a more appealing quest than that, and they execute it with stunning photography, writing that is more about meaning than mooring strategies, and a seemingly endless exploration of the world’s most beautiful and romantic ports. They are also deep into social media, with a Facebook page, Twitter, and a just-launched Vimeo series.

In fact, you can catch up on their World Cruise by watching this video summary of the doings so far. Pretty irresistible.

The last cruising blog I am tracking these days came up on my radar via a video, which ricocheted around the sailing blogosphere with impressive resonance. It helped introduce the world of wannabe cruisers to Terra D’Agua, the online journal of Tassio and Claudia.

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At first glance, it has the same vibe as World Tour: good-looking couple, lots of stunning pictures, and some deep thoughts.

Here is an exploration of the relative merits of being at a marina and being at sea. Does this sentiment ring true for you?

But above all the joy, the sea. Nothing that I have experienced before in my life equals this. And I hope one day that I will be able to put it into words, but for now, it is one of these really few things just impossible to describe. I haven’t been out there for so long, I started sailing only 1 year ago and we are now preparing my first long passage on the ocean. So I am not one of these old salty dogs that went around the world a few times and have seen the worst storms and fought with pirates. No, but with the little I have experienced so far, it is enough to say that the first thing that comes into my mind when I look at the sea is respect. Respect these waters that carry such power and strength. I feel so small when I’m out there and so grateful to the sea to have allowed so far our little ship to dance with her and travel. So now, to whoever spirit reigns over the sea, I say thank you for having letting me feel this that I cannot yet put into words.

Well said, Claudia. You have proved that there is room on this earth for two hard-blogging, social media using, eye-candy driven sailing blogs.

I’ll leave you with Terra D’Agua’s founding video. And I’ll sail the world with this group of dreamers, and look for others.

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