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Boating as a Hobby

For more comitted outdoorsy people with a bigger wallet

Your life could be sorted out, you could be feeling the surprising burden too much time on your hands, you could be bored. You could be experiencing a stormy patch in your social life, and need to immerse body-and-soul into another world. Your partner could be disappointed with your inability to commit to projects. You could be in need of a new hobby.

Boating hobby

Boating is not an easy hobby to keep up with, nor a part-time deal. If you are planning to truly commit yourself to a long-lasting relationship with a more outdoorsy you and a kindred vehicle, then by all means go for it. But bear in mind the oft-repeated naval saying: “a boat is a hole in the water into which you throw money”. It is a hobby that takes integrity.

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Old Town Harbour at night, by the walled city of Dubrovnik in Croatia, is popular with boating enthiusasts.  (photo by Eric Hossiner)

So what are the benefits of boating that make it one of the most coveted past-times anywhere near a large body of water?

If you have ever had a sailor in your family, odds are you will want to follow in those footsteps. Most current boat owners have had a grandfather with a boat, and the siren call of sailing was passed on from generation to generation.

Great family activity

Boating is a great family activity. The larger your vessel, the more work to be done, and the more room for precious family moments. Infant-sized lifejackets provide safety on board for even the youngest members of the family, and fishing, wake-boarding, tanning, fixing the rigging, and playing captain will keep members of all ages captivated and entertained.

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While boating and sailing can be an enjoyable, stress-free activity, an ocassional boat repair can be an unwelcome, but a necessary interruption.   (photo by Miguel B.)

Sailing is a very rewarding stress-relief activity. It is easy to leave your mundane reality behind you as you sail into open waters with nothing but the sky above you and the waves around you to keep company. The mental processes involved are very healthy: fresh air and exercise are good stimulants as you steadily increase your capacity to focus and concentrate.

Building a boat

Most boat-owners find the time they spend tinkering about their boat equally satisfying as the actual sailing. Building a boat is much like a larger-scale version of working on a car – more expensive, but with more options and freedom, and help is not to be found in a book, but from boating peers, who will jump at any opportunity to weigh in on a good, waterproof design.

It doesn’t have to be expensive. Most boaters are merely members of Yacht Clubs, which gives them the right to rent a boat at reasonable prices and not worry about winter storage and seasonal touch-ups. These clubs are a great way to connect with other boaters and bring additional social value to the hobby. Because large yachts require larger crews, and there is a perpetual shortage of able-bodied sailors, it is easy to become a crewmate on somebody else’s yacht and partake in the fun without breaking the bank.

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Day sailer or dayboat, as the name suggests, is intended for a day's use and usually comes without sleeping accommodation.  (photo by Reg Natarajan)

Types of sailboats

Small boats can be used for solo sailing, and they are great for beginners wishing to learn the basics of sailing. These are dinghies, daysailers and keelboats, and they are usually under 8 meters in size.

Larger boats like large keelboats and yachts offer more options. These can go from family sailing to weekend cruising to liveaboards, depending on your level of engagement.

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