The reasons otherwise sane people do it
Humans are herd animals; we tend to gather together in tribes and maintain close social relationships. Why, then, would someone want to cross an ocean single-handed? What motivates them?American author and sailor Richard Henderson has closely studied the goals and achievements of single-handers. In hisbook Singlehanded Sailing, he suggests ten reasons why an otherwise sane, reasonable sailor would want to sail off into the blue alone:
- 1.For practical purposes. To test a theory, perhaps, or to gather material for a book or a study. To earn money or to win a race. Sometimes, because the boat isn’t big enough for two.
- 2.Self-significance. To find one’s place in the world’s pecking order and acquire a sense of belonging.
- 3.Curiosity and fulfillment. A desire to see and experience the thrills and moods of the sea, and exotic landfalls, for oneself.
- 4.Recognition. A desire for fame that exceeds the search for self-significance.
- 5.Independence. The need for the greatest possible freedom and control over one’s own destiny.
- 6.Escapism. This is closely allied to independence, but includes a certain rebelliousness against routine, as well as a possible flight from personal and societal problems.
- 7.Adventurousness. Adventure has always been strongly attractive to restless spirits with a desire for novelty, travel, and excitement. Solo sailing can provide all of these in large (and sometimes excessive) quantities.
- 8.Competitiveness. This may take many forms, including personal competition with the ocean and one’s inner fears, as well as the desire to win races or set records.
- 9.Solitude. Some introverts like being alone. Other people may experience the spiritual cleansing of a retreat that makes them more appreciative of subsequent human companionship.
- 10.Mother Sea. All life came from the sea, and it still runs strongly in our veins. Some deep instinct, dimly felt and poorly understood, draws many people back.