There are many positives to sailing solo. First of all, I am not “used” to having crew so it isn’t really something I “miss”. I’ve had great crew on board who are welcome back anytime should their schedules allow, but I am also happy trotting along on my own course for the time being.
The biggest advantage is I can leave port whenever I want to. Having to wait on someone or schedule a trip around someone elses availability could mean you miss a weather window, or stay somewhere too pricy for much too long. Those are both giant drawbacks to having crew, and I love the freedom of looking at the weather and saying “whelp, let’s go!”
I also have friends who have different interests than me, so when it comes to shore activities we want to do different things and I find myself alone anyways. So…. what’s the point entirely of “having someone to share the experience with” if you’re off experiencing different things? It’s not a bad thing, it just defeats the purpose sometimes.
Surprisingly, socializing is much easier solo. I’ve never really considered myself a social butterfly, but somehow I am always meeting people either through the marina or boat yard, or walking my dogs around town. People who are partnered already have someone to talk to, so they are less likely to seek connections with others. I found out about a sailing club that people in town hadn’t ever heard of in the 6 years they’d been living there. It was at their marina, a completely different one from where I was at. I mean, how…?
Being self-sufficient is addicting, empowering, beautiful, and I hope everyone can feel this way about something in their lives on a regular basis. Every time something goes wrong, after the initial “fuck!” goes away, you just get into gear and hope for the best. There is no better feeling than knowing your knowledge and experience helped you get over a hurdle, no matter how big or small!
People are more willing to help. I always get offered rides for propane / provisioning / errands, chandlery discounts, help with installs, a car to drive, etc. I generally don’t even have to ask, it’s just put out there. I think that is the beauty of the sailing community, but when you are solo there is a lot more emphasis to get you sorted. I appreciate this very much!
I’ve never gotten in a fight with myself or the dogs before. There’s a quote “the roughest storms that happen at sea, happen below the deck.” I had a very long five-day sail with some drunk and combative delivery skippers, and that was pretty frightening. I don’t think I will ever complain it’s too quiet or that I’m bored. I am thankful for those moments.
Because it is so quiet sometimes, I have plenty of time to reflect, write, contemplate, and peice things together. I’ve had a somewhat chaotic life, and there have been so many times where suddenly something finally made sense to me. As to why I reacted a certain way to something that happened several years ago, why something unfolded the way it did, etc. I can’t get that when I’m around other people constantly. I love having those breakthroughs!
I have said this before but will say it again, I am rarely ever alone. I meet people fairly easily, and then it just becomes a matter of whether I want to spend more time with them or not. I have not had any extreme loneliness, nor do I think I will experience that any time soon, because I am not the only inhabitant of a deserted island… although that sounds really nice!