In yachting magazines and books one finds many interesting articles on racing tactics, boat tests, how to sail faster, stories of cruises, and what gear to buy, but only occasionally an article on seamanship, and the personal expertise required to enable a boat to accomplish a cruise in safety.
Consider the yachtsman. In theory anybody who has the money and the desire can buy a yacht and sail away into the blue, taking others with him, having little knowledge or experience. He is exorted to do so by yachting advertisements telling him all he has to do is add food, water and fuel, and that everything needed is there even to the carpets.
What garbage that is. Should the unskilled buy that boat, he will probably have a few quiet afternoons afloat on a harbour, and perhaps a weekend, before making an offshore passage. Anything he has learnt has been from a so-called sailing school, most of which just teach the basics of rigging and sailing in most clement conditions. They do not teach any real seamanship, which is what is required even on the harbour, but particularly when one goes offshore and is entirely on one’s own. It is to try to prevent that which causes me to put pen to paper. It is not my wish to stop yachting, a pastime of which I am extraordinarily fond, but to try to improve the sport by drawing attention to some of the difficulties and problems associated with cruising in unfrequented waters.