Due to popular demand, we bring you a new post from the Louise Kennedy, the creator of Bailey Boat Cat, the successful blog-turned-book about the adventures of Bailey, a cat who lives with his mum, Louise, on her boat in Rome. Thought cats were afraid of water? Think again! Bailey is a fearless cat who enjoys cruising along the Mediterranean coast. In her latest post, Louise talks about her experience with becoming a full-time sailor.
When can I call myself a sailor?
It took me a long time to be able to tell people that I’m a writer with confidence. In the past, when people asked me what I do, I always told them how I made money, (still not primarily from writing) or that I was an aspiring writer. Then I read a very interesting article that proclaimed there’s no such thing as an aspiring writer. The article said if you write with passion, then you’re a writer. I found this concept really liberating. Although I’ve been published and have a book on the shelves in bookstores, I haven’t published the novel that I’ve always dreamed of publishing, neither have I crossed the Atlantic in a sailboat, yet I still consider myself to be a sailor. Writing isn’t about one publishing feat defining you and neither is sailing about completing one epic voyage.
Until five years ago I’d never stepped on a sailboat. I grew up in Cornwall in the UK, so I’ve always loved the ocean, but I’d never sailed until I met my partner. I’ve now lived on a 38ft boat for two years. Since I started, my love affair for sailing has been very passionate and I’m now confident that whether I’m on land or at sea, I will always be a sailor.
One of things I love most about sailing and especially the cruising community is meeting lots of other likeminded people. I’ve been very fortunate to spend lovely evenings on boats with people who have sailed all over the world in every type of boat possible with varying tales of adventures, perils and triumphs on the high seas. The tales of ingenuity in difficult times are the most inspiring stories over a nice glass of something cold.
One of the most common things I hear ‘old salts’ say, is that every sailor has run aground at least once, and if they say they haven’t then they’re lying. Well, as I write this, personally I’ve never run aground. I have flipped a dinghy, but that’s a completely different story of stupidity and not one about my graduation to the ranks of becoming a ‘real’ sailor. I’m pretty sure that one day I will run aground, but I cross my fingers that it will happen somewhere with a nice sandy bottom and cause no damage to the boat.
I think I’m qualified to call myself a sailor because I’ve been out there, I’ve been exposed and I’ve loved, and at times loathed, my boat. Sailors know that for every perfect afternoon sail there are weeks and sometimes even months of hard work, preparation and boat maintenance. Eventually, even those of us that aren’t thrilled at the thought of oil changes or scrubbing mould off the hull lining will get the biggest sense of satisfaction when we learn how to re-gas the fridge or troubleshoot the faulty electrics. We’re silently surprised when we realise that we can tie a bowline with our eyes closed and we can offer help to a fellow sailor in their time of need. The day we sail and we know we still have so much more to learn, but there’s nowhere else in the world we’d rather be…that’s the day when we can call ourselves sailors.
If you want to hear more from Bailey, check out his blog: Adventures of a feline afloat. You can read more from Louise on her new blog Sandy Toes and Writer Woes or follow her on Instagram. Don’t forget, Zizoo is at your service to help you (and your cat) experience a new adventure at sea. Begin here to start planning your next sailing holiday!