Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Kids range

Our new Cruising Editor editor remembers his first offshore adventure

by David Schmidt, Sail-World Cruising Editor on 30 Jul 2014
Sail-World Cruising Editor David Schmidt warm and dry .. ©
The mind has a funny way of distorting time. Take, for example, my first big offshore cruise. It was the summer of 1987, I was 11 years old, and my Dad and his buddies had sailed our newly acquired C&C 37 from our home in Connecticut up to Maine’s lovely Penobscot Bay, where my Mother, my younger brother and I joined my Dad for a few weeks of cruising. Since my Mom (wisely) doesn’t sail offshore, the task of delivering 'Windancer' down south fell to my Dad, two of his buddies and myself.

The years may have slipped astern more rapidly than I’d like to admit, but I can still remember watching my Mom and brother walking up the dock, and the flash feeling of pure child-like excitement and wonder instantly stir-in the pit of my stomach-with pure terror. Sure, I’d sailed outside of the sight of land before, but never at night, with a boatload of relative strangers, or far from my Mother’s always-understanding embrace.

In short, I was entering the world of adults, of sailing offshore and of the unknown. And I was ready…at least so I thought.



I must have already settled into my bunk for the night when the winds picked up, progressing quickly from the mid-teens to the upper twenties. Soon, 'Windancer’s' IOR-optimized hull shape was bashing and slamming through some nasty square waves and green water started occasionally running down the decks. But just as I got used to the motion, it was time to visit the leeward rail…quickly.

Lightning flashed, thunder clapped, and a small, scared little boy dealt with his first real bout of seasickness. I can still remember my Dad’s hand on the back of my harness, holding me safe, and the fact that Mike and Richard were both kind enough not to point out that accuracy was also not a strong suit in my first-time dance with seasickness (fortunately, I improved my aim over the years!). Once I had 'recovered' in the cockpit, my Dad handed me a plastic yellow boat mug that was stained with long-forgotten caffeine, piping hot with fresh-brewed coffee. I had my first sip of 'black magic', and the world of offshore cruising immediately seemed a bit less terrifying.

We made landfall the next day in Nantucket via the outside of Cape Cod (and a foggy passage through the Pollock Rip Channel), and I can still remember being plenty excited to find a stationary horizon and a pay phone (remember those?) to call my Mom. But when I got her on the line-oddly enough-I found myself reliving the glories of sailing offshore with the big boys and not the living-color terror of watching lightning illuminate the sail numbers in staccato bursts.



More importantly, Mike, Richard and my Dad chipped in and bought me my first watch cap and my first pair of sailing gloves-proof that I had joined a hard-won club of cruising sailors. [And yes, I still have the now-war-torn gloves and battered watch cap in my closet, proud souvenirs of an important coming-of-age.]

Flash forward several decades and many cruising miles, and I still love sailing at night, a hot drink in hand, watching the stars flicker in the heavens. Experience has taught me how to deal with wind, salt and waves, and I have fortunately learned how to quell my propensity towards mal de mer, but I still get a serious flash of excitement each time the dock lines are slipped and the sight of land fades astern.

These days, the waters of the Pacific Northwest are my home cruising grounds, but I’m careful to make it back to Connecticut a few times a year to go sailing/cruising with my parents. Some family traditions are simply too important to let slip!

As I step into my new role as Sail-World’s Cruising editor, I look forward to creating many new great cruising memories, to meeting new friends and to hopefully sharing new adventures with old friends. Mostly, however, I’m acutely aware of the fantastic work that my predecessor (and Sail-World Cruising’s founding editor), Nancy Knudsen, put into this position for many years, and of the massive seaboots she’s leaving behind for me to fill.

The task is huge, and-much like my first offshore cruise-I’m excited about the experiences that lay over the next horizon.



May the four winds blow you safely home,

BIA 2016 Sydney Boat Show 660x82Barz Optics - FloatersZhik Yachting 660x82

Related Articles

Clipper Race – Constant trimming and little sleep in the North Sea
There is little opportunity for tactical moves and the timings of tacks are crucial if teams want to make vital gains. After a downwind start with spinnakers trimmed in light airs against the tide off Den Helder on the Dutch coast yesterday, the fleet has been match racing across the North Sea towards the Thames Estuary.
Posted today at 12:28 pm
Debriefing the 2015-16 Clipper Round The World Race with Huw Fernie
Sail-World talked with Huw Fernie of Visit Seattle to learn more about a Clipper Round The World Race skipper’s life. Skipper Huw Fernie and his Visit Seattle crew took top honors in the Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, marking their second podium finish during the 2015/16 Clipper Round The World Race. I recently caught up with Fernie to learn more about Visit Seattle’s success in the Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, and to learn more about the life of a Clipper Round The World Race skipper.
Posted on 28 Jul
Finale of Clipper Race global series starts in The Netherlands
The 198nm race to London is going to be one of the most nail-biting yet with just six points separating the top teams After a Departure Ceremony from Willemsoord Marina and a Parade of Sail in the presence of Dutch Royal Navy ship ZrMs Luymes, the fleet started the final short sprint to London off the Dutch coast.
Posted on 28 Jul
Thousands of spectators expected to welcome home Clipper Race fleet
Hurricane winds, giant waves, freezing conditions, battered boats and tragedy fail to quell fighting spirit of the crew. The tenth edition of the famous biennial race for novice sailors led by professional skippers is regarded as the most challenging on record after the event endured the most extreme conditions it has ever faced in its 20-year history.
Posted on 28 Jul
America's Cup World Series - Ian Roman's images of Pompey
Ian Roman was in Portsmouth for the America's Cup World Series capturing the Royal visitors Top international photographer, Ian Roman was in Portsmouth for the America's Cup World Series and provided this second of two galleries of the racing across the three days of the regatta, taking in the Royal visitors.
Posted on 26 Jul
America’s Cup World Series – More final day images by Ingrid Abery
Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from final day Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from final day
Posted on 25 Jul
America’s Cup World Series – Final race day images by Ingrid Abery
Ingrid Abery provided this gallery of images from final day Ingrid Abery provided this gallery of images from final day
Posted on 25 Jul
LV America’s Cup World Series - Up and down for Groupama Team France
The new leader is none other than the local team lead by Sir Ben Ainslie, who was rallied along throughout the six races 2016 America’s Cup World Series - This weekend the overall ranking for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series has been turned on its head and with the Portsmouth act complete, the new leader is none other than the local team lead by Sir Ben Ainslie, who was rallied along throughout the six races by strong support from a home crowd.
Posted on 25 Jul
LV America's Cup World Series - Land Rover BAR take two from two
While Oracle Team USA did all but everything they could to take the win with a two, one, one scorecard today 2016 Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series - While Oracle Team USA did all but everything they could to take the win with a two, one, one scorecard today, it wasn't enough to topple the fast and furious tenacity of a Ben Ainslie led Land Rover BAR on the final day of racing at the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in Portsmouth.
Posted on 25 Jul
2016 LV America’s Cup World Series - More images by Carlo Borlenghi
Carlo Borlenghi provided this gallery of images from America’s Cup World Series - Race Day 2 and Prize-giving ceremony. 2016 America’s Cup World Series - Carlo Borlenghi provided this gallery of images from 2016 Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series - Race Day 2 and Prize-giving ceremony.
Posted on 25 Jul