Among the many joys of sailing is the fun of making new friends while exploring new islands, coastal towns and villages. Our guest blogger, Louise of Sandy Toes and Writer Woes shares her fond memories of making new and lasting friendships while at sea.
On land, forming a bond with someone and nurturing a friendship can take years. Luckily for sailors, meeting other sailors and cruisers can result in lifelong friendships after only a few days. We all share a love of the ocean and usually have lots of other things in common too. Some of my closest friends are people I’ve met thanks to boating and I’m very lucky to have them in my life.
Whether you meet as neighbours in a marina, or whilst your in the dinghy going ashore or even if you spot the ‘tell tell’ signs of another sailor in a different location, usually you’ll be able to tell within a few minutes if you’re compatible, (of course personalities still play a part in your potential for forming true friendships).
Sailor’s friendships can traverse age, cultures and even languages. For example, we have a very close friend on our pontoon, who we struggle to converse with since we don’t have a mutual language. However, with a little creativity and patience we have the best evenings together and lots of fun and laughter. We use translation apps, other friends translating and even sign language to talk to each other. Friendship is, after all, not about what you say to each other, but spending time together and being there for each other.
For couples sailing together meeting another couple, whatever their age, can be the start of a wonderful friendship. I especially like meeting another women who sail after a few days of male only company. Invariably, the guys will end up discussing maintenance and technical boating things and the women will discuss destinations, experiences, children and all the other things we like to talk about. This, of course, is not always true but personally I’m not very mechanically minded so my conversations are never particularly technical!
Sailors are some of the best people in the world for sharing. We like to work on a ‘pay it forward’ mentality. Cruisers and sailors as a whole are happy to talk about their experiences and impart their wisdom. If you can offer people a lift to the supermarket or the launderette when they are passing through your homeport, not only will you feel good about yourself, but you’ll also have cut their chores for the day in half. One day, hopefully, you’ll be lucky enough to have someone help you out like this too.
When you find yourself in a beautiful, remote bay and you have a technical problem the boats around you should become your instant friends. The solidarity between sailors and cruisers can’t be matched, in my opinion. Swapping spare parts, giving unwanted parts away or even sharing essential items in order to help a boat in distress is common practice in the sailing community.
If you have a love of sailing and a good heart you won’t have any problem making new nautical friends.