For centuries, sailing has been a profession, sport, hobby and way of life that’s survived through the exciting stories and dreams of those who tell them. The seven seas are home to many different legends and tales inspire so many to create their own life on the open ocean. Here at Boatsandoutboards, we love to read inspirational stories from both expert and amateur sailors who have braved the seas and found time to write about their incredible adventures.
We wanted to share some of our favourites with you, in an all-new edition especially updated for 2019. There are endless options from incredible people who each tell a different story, but after a lot of thought, we’ve just about managed to pick a top 20. Our sailing bloggers have travelled all over the world discovering everything the nautical life has to offer, so we’re sure that you’ll find the best reviews, tips and ways in which you can turn your sailing holidays into an everlasting sailing dream. Enjoy!
About: Anarchy is everything sailing should be; exciting, extreme, community based and challenging the status quo. Whilst many sites and magazines aim to project a vision of sailing that’s quiet, idyllic and very much to-the-rules, Sailing Anarchy embraces life on the boat for what it really is. The blog brings you news of the most outrageous challenges and events that are happening in real time - from around the world attempts to hardcore ice sailing championships, you’ll get everything you need for your daily adrenaline fix. They also run a forum which anyone can join, allowing people to ask questions and share their opinion with the rest of the sailing world.
The publication posts multiple articles per week and has followers on social media in the hundreds of thousands.
59° North Podcast
About: Although 59-North also has an exceptional blog with hundreds of useful guides and updates on the adventures of many sailors, we’re focusing on the 59-North podcast, which is something a little different from the usual. Not everybody likes to sit down and spend 20 minutes reading an article with half of the information going in through one ear and straight out the other. Sometimes you might not have the time to stare at a black and white page. But most importantly, the emotions and feelings of a writer can’t always be correctly expressed when written down. This has been acknowledged by 59° North who have set up some engaging podcast episodes for you to listen to whilst relaxing or when you’re on the go. There’s a huge mix of content from useful tips like weather forecasting and navigation, to the more fun and friendly such as adventure reviews and ‘ask us anything’ sessions. Every episode can be listened to directly on site, or you can download them to your own devices via Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.
About: This one’s called ‘Sailing Blog’ for a reason. The simplicity and breadth of the name is because it literally includes everything you need to know as a sailor. If you follow this blog you’ll get guides on the top destinations, routes, yacht reviews, cooking and eating, gear and equipment plus so much more. To give you an idea of how much content you’ll get, their latest article is titled ‘Top 10 sailing movies every sailor should watch’. Pretty random, but very interesting! The site posts once a week without fail, so there’s plenty of content to keep you reading for hours on end, whether you’re after the serious stuff or an informal easy read.
About: Zizoo is a modern boating holiday company who have been in the industry for many years. They offer boat rental and guides in some of the most sought after locations worldwide. That means they have a huge wealth of knowledge across their team for everything a travelling sailor needs to know. You’ll get expert advice on boat preferences, performance tips, holiday destinations and so much more. All of this from people who have seen it, done it and do it for a living. As an example, you can read about boat licenses for renting, or the best party islands in the world - two extremely different topics. You get way more than just holiday guides too though. You’ll find interviews from professional sailors giving you top tips on how to perform best on the water, too. `
Sailing Yacht Ruby Rose
About: This is a fairytale story of two people who met on a travelling holiday ten years ago, before deciding to sell up everything they own and buy up a Southerly 38 Cruiser. They’ve been on the water since 2014, making it as far as the Caribbean as well as all the way around Europe. They’ve managed to capture their whole experience to date on camera - using some video editing skills to turn it into an excellent YouTube series-based channel with over 50,000 subscribers. If you’re not one of the fifty thousand then you’re simply missing out - this is a perfect example of what living on the ocean is like, and an inspirational example to anyone who’s thinking of doing the same. There’s three years worth of video content here, so sit down and start following the incredible story of Nick and Terysa.
Mark and Angelina Roope sold everything they own and bought their boat, Cygnus III, in 2010. They have no real plans as they say "Plans fail. If we can hit land at the other end without having to get out and ask directions, it was a good day". Luckily their skipper has the memory of a goldfish - or old timers as Angelina calls it - so bad days are soon forgotten. They’re living a dream to take their children on a journey of a lifetime, sailing around the world.
Blogging about their adventures, this motley crew describe their boat as “part of their family” and true to its Latinised Greek name, meaning swan, the vessel has gracefully sailed the family of four around Europe, from Hull in England to the beautiful islands of Greece.
We love this blog mostly because of Mark’s witty and entertaining blog entries. He writes honestly with valuable views on the benefits of sailing and humorous sailing dilemmas, all complete with images. Check out one of our favourite posts on “what it's really like to live on a boat" here.
A piece of sailing advice for our readers from Cygnus3.com:
"Don't bring your lawn mower. You won't need it where you're going"
About: Roosters target audience steers a little closer to the competitive, sporting side of things. Sailing and dinghy racing are very popular watersports that are represented at Olympic level, but they’re growing in terms of mass participation too. This blog provides you with professional guidance on how to be a better competitive sailor and how to get the most out of your equipment. You can sign up to their newsletter service that delivers the latest stories straight to your inbox.
First Class Sailing
About: First Class Sailing is an affiliated RYA training centre that offers educational courses to the general public. Yachtmaster and Skipper practical courses are on offer as well as some sailing holiday opportunities abroad. Their blog section brings you regular news content around current sailing expeditions from partnered sailors, location guides from Europe and beyond as well as details of upcoming events and courses within the UK. If you really enjoy your sailing and are looking at furthering your experience, or just wanting to keep up to date with the latest racing/expedition news, then this is an ideal blog for you.
About: Another great heartwarming story of someone who gave up everything else they owned just to go exploring the oceans. It seems to be happening more often, right? That’s because the sailing community is extremely tight-knit, and everyone loves telling their own story. People really do fall in love with life on a boat, and the more people they tell, the more people we see joining in. If you’re not quite up to the challenge yourself, or if you’re looking for some guidance before you take the plunge, follow the story of Emily, a 26-year-old girl who sailed from the UK to the US in 2016, before selling the boat, buying a new one and starting a whole new journey again. She gives you monthly updates of how the ocean life is treating her as she constantly revamps boats and moves them on to new owners.
Sailors and Seadogs
About: This is an insane journey documented by Michelle, Maik and their two Beagles as they travel cross-Atlantic from Germany to Alabama, USA. They’re about 5 months into their journey and have travelled about 3800 nautical miles so far, on a Dutch Steelboat of over 40 feet. The best thing about their blog is that it’s split into some unique sections that’ll give you a whole lot more to explore. They’ve logged absolutely everything, including all of the cool items they’ve picked up on the way, the sea life they’ve managed to spot, and even an account of events from the perspective of the two dogs! There’s a little more to this one than your average ‘travel the world’ story.
About: Michael and Lisa have been on the water for nearly 5 years - we’re yet to find a more perfect example of the liveaboard life being an absolute dream - these two are having an incredible time. They’ve been on the same boat, Footloose, since 2014 and that’s the only encouragement you’d ever need to jump on the bandwagon. They’ve been exploring the west coast of Mexico for the past year and are starting a brand new journey to Panama for ‘Season 3’. The most important thing you’ll get from the Britt couple is that they’re always very honest - they're not afraid to shout about the hardships they face when on the boat, which is exactly the important kind of information you want to hear about as a listener. They’re going to tell you how to work your way around these problems too, just as they always manage to do themselves! This is the complete guide to travelling on a boat.
About: Primarily a boat marketplace for people right across Europe looking to sell their vessels, from luxury superyachts to fishing boats and dinghies. BS24 also have a very useful blog section, too. Their posts feature a huge variety of content, from the latest breaking news headlines and impressive yacht releases to the whackiest inventions and ‘how to’ guides. Everything’s written in a light-hearted, easy read tone that allows you to pick up a story wherever you are and not worry too much about paying serious attention to what you’re reading. We think that’s how blogging should be; relaxed, fun and friendly, yet informative and straight to the point.
About: Blue Foot is a holiday charter company that offers you trips to incredible locations in the Caribbean like Grenada or St.Lucia, on a crewed cabin charter. Pretty helpful! But they wouldn’t be anywhere near as helpful without their blog. They provide you with destination guides in extreme detail so you can be certain that you’ve picked the best location for you. You can find articles about food and wildlife that you’ll come across during your stay away too.
Travel news, Captain’s Corner and Discounts & Offers are more examples of categories you can explore. The blog is really attractive and easy to navigate, meaning you’ll want to stay on the site for hours on end!
About: ‘Described as ‘the world’s premier boat rentals platform’, Sailo is the Airbnb of the seas. You can browse over 9,000 vessels up for rental from private owners in pretty much any location on the planet. This is the future of sailing! The Sailo blog is a very interesting read. It’s packed to the brim with entertaining, spectacular, and sometimes pointless guides on everything you have to visit or think about doing whilst on your boating holiday. Guaranteed fishing spots in Portugal? A spooky pirate bar in the Virgin Islands? Secluded beaches in Europe? Sailo has you completely covered.
Growing a Pair
About: Just 18 months ago, Floss and Dez didn’t know a single thing about sailing, yet the idea of a boating adventure still tempted them. They’d already been travelling on foot with backpacks two years before, but taking the ocean road was something entirely new. They learnt to sail literally within the next 10 months! At the end of last year, they set sail from the UK towards Spain, which is about as far as we’ve been updated in the new year. With an attempt to cross the Atlantic right around the corner, you’re joining the story at just the perfect time! There’s no better blog on the web right now where you can watch the start of a boating adventure unfold as it happens.
About: This is a blog that every sailor should have bookmarked on their computer or phone. NauticEd is one of the world’s leading sailing education programmes which provides certification courses to individuals through advanced eLearning platforms. Their blog provides you with information that’s just as useful but without the costs or qualifications. Of course, if you want to do things by the book then you’ll book a course, but you’ll be surprised at how much you can learn just by browsing their free articles. Some perfect example articles - ‘Nineteen ways to get sailing experience if you don’t own a boat or ‘how to gain your SLC Mediterranean sailing license’ - but you’ll also find things like holiday guides and competition news if you want a lighter read.
About: The Totem crew are a family of 5 whose life went through a radical change when Behan and her husband Jamie, decided to put their most important priorities into focus. They wanted to build real memories with their children, outside of dinnertime and flyby weekends.
With a long history of sailing experience and a growing hunger for a life on the water, it was a no brainer that Behan and Jamie would eventually pack up and fufill their dreams with their very own boat. Taking their growing brood with them, the couple first sailed out on their newly bought Stevens 47 cruising vessel, named Totem in 2008. Since then, Behan has been documenting their adventures along the way and has provided a huge range of invaluable information for likewise sailors, with advice on everything from the real cost of cruising, to sustainable living.
Sailing Totem is a great site for those seeking inspiration and guides for taking the huge step of living a life on the water. Check out their how-to articles and guides here to get started.
A piece of sailing advice for our readers from Sailingtotem.com:
"People always want to know: what is the cost to go cruising? And while it’s true that we have to live on money instead of just dreams, there’s a filter on this question that ought to be reversed. Why don’t more people ask themselves instead: what is the cost of staying home? Extracting yourself from the expected path to follow your dreams appears harder in anticipation than it will upon reflection in hindsight. Trust yourself, and make the leap!"
About: Here’s another charter company, providing yacht services mainly throughout the Mediterranean and Caribbean regions. They offe plenty more than just a trip away; you can get events management, team building days, experienced crew hire and even training schools and courses. There are hundreds of articles on the blog, all being followed by more than 9000 people across their social channels. Much of the blog is based around Croatia - Danielis’ focus point - and if you’re looking to make the trip to any of its islands then this blog should be your one-stop shop. Yacht reviews, local cuisine, charter advice, destination profiles and much more will give you all you need to make the most of a boating trip to the Med.
About: 48 North is a popular publication magazine that is ‘written for sailors, by sailors’. Based mainly around the Pacific Northwest area but covers much of the sailing world, 48 North gives its readers race reports from some of the most exciting sailing competitions on the calendar, boat tests and reviews where the team constantly work with external brands to try and test some of the hottest vessels on the market and give them an honest report. You’ll also get general breaking news from the world’s most important and most current headlines. One of our favourite articles on site is ‘the top 25 sailboats of 2018’ which is a very up-to-date look at what was hot or not last year.
About: This is an impressive expedition company based in Norway and in and around Scandinavia. They operate off of their large boat, Narwhal, offering groups of people the chance to travel around some of the most beautiful locations in the world whilst discovering, extraordinary wildlife and hearty food. If you’re not quite ready to join the crew yet, or you fancy trying something similar yourself, their blog is the perfect way to get started. Guides on how to navigate the quietest unseen parts of northern Norway, what to pack for your trip, and other general bits of vital information that you’ll need to conquer the Arctic. This is a great opportunity to explore somewhere that not many people choose to go!