How to put more sailing adventure into your life

As sailing education and vacation experts, learning and adventure are what we ‘do’ for a living: helping sailors and adventurers achieve their sailing goals by mastering knowledge and skills while gaining experience. Having taught over 100,000 sailing students, including continuously learning and sailing ourselves (job perk), we’ve gained much insight into sailing adventure!

Since the first step is becoming motivated, we’ve assembled our top 10 sailing quotes – each a motivation,  lesson-learned, or helpful piece of advice for putting more sailing adventure into your life…

The more you learn, the greater is life’s adventure.

– Grant Headifen, NauticEd

At NauticEd, we embrace the saying, “The more you learn, the greater is life’s adventure” in practically everything we do. It’s a culture, a mission statement, infusing our daily lives with a sense of purpose as we develop sailing education and vacations.

In sailing, learning and adventure are deeply intertwined concepts. Fundamentally, learning and applying knowledge enables greater adventure, but then again, adventure is also learning through experience and challenge.

The more you learn – knowledge courses, skill training, and experience – the greater the adventure. That adventure may be day sailing with friends and family, chartering in exotic locations, or even losing sight of land and venturing offshore.


If happiness is the goal – and it should be, then adventures should be top priority.

– Sir Richard Branson

This should go without saying, and happiness is typically a goal in sailing as well. Challenge, relaxation, travel, self-discovery, or just hanging out with friends and family are many aspects of ‘happiness’ in sailing. Or rather, learning and adventure are a means to happiness.

But, another “so true” quote is by Katrina Mayer, “You can’t find happiness at the end of your journey if you didn’t bring it with you all along.”  After having set up thousands of sailing vacations, we’ve learned that our job is to create opportunities for ‘fun’ and ‘adventure’. Happiness and excitement are things that you need to pack with you and bring along for a successful sailing adventure.

Adventure: an unusual, exciting, and possibly dangerous activity, such as a trip or experience, or the excitement produced by such an activity.

– Cambridge English Dictionary

We find that the ‘official’ definition is nebulous at best, woefully incomplete at worst. In reality, we’re faced with challenges every day, including exciting and unusual experiences.

It’s a misconception to think of adventure as some annual vacation or life fandango – life itself is an adventure, beginning the day we’re born. Simply, sailors embrace that every day is a new day filled with wondrous opportunities and discovery. Or as Peter Pan said, “To live would be an awfully big adventure.”

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

– Neale Donald Walsch

Now we’re talking!  Another NauticEd mantra is Everything Evolves, which we enthusiastically apply to education and technology. Meanwhile, we respect that adventure is very…er… “ human”.

Human?  Human Nature hasn’t changed much since the first stone age. Of course technology, education, industry, medicine, and perhaps even fashions have advanced – but those accumulations of knowledge and experience are external.  Instead, adventure invokes the very essence of our human nature! Our ‘comfort zone’ ended the moment we left our mothers’ wombs, and every day since has been an adventure.

And so an important question is how do you level up or level down what’s often average mediocrity of human nature, of life? The answer is adventure, and that begins with your first lesson in life: leaving your comfort zone.

In sailing, this begins with just casting off and losing sight of land (aka. the comfort zone).

Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.

– Warren Buffett

It’s a misconception to think that sailing adventures require deliberately taking dangerous risks – that’s why learning is so important!  Another way to think about this is “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” (Meyers)

Knowledge can mean a minor difference between a good time and a great time – or a massive difference between a disaster and an excellent sailing adventure. The trouble is you don’t know when that knowledge will either come in handy or is absolutely required.

Also remember that “Zeal without knowledge is the sister of folly.” (unknown).

Increase your sailing knowledge with NauticEd’s best-in-class online sailing courses. NauticEd covers the full range of sailing knowledge topics with over 23 multmedia and interactive courses, now including Virtual Reality. View all sailing courses or start with 2 Free online courses ›

Education does not mean getting a certificate. It means enhancing yourself.

– Sadhguru

A BIG misconception in sailing is that you need a ‘certification’ to go adventuring, to charter, or just to mess around on sailboats – something we consider the biggest lie in sailing. Simply, many sailing companies profit off selling private certification ‘stickers’ that are marketed with prejudice and bias.

Here – we’ve taught over a quarter-million sailing courses, and not one of those courses was required by law*! Instead, each course was subscribed to on a voluntary basis by sailors seeking to improve and enhance themselves.

What DOES matter is competence, or rather education platforms that are focused on and qualified for competence. For example (shameless plug, but relevant), NauticEd is approved for US Coast Guard and NASBLA “American National Standards” competency requirements and methodologies.

Regardless, if you charter a boat (for example) the company will require a sailing ‘resume’ (which we offer for free as part of your sailing toolkit — another shameless plug) that demonstrates your competence through your past experience and qualified knowledge courses and training.

Enhance yourself through quality competency education and experience. And, the fun part of “the more you learn, the greater is life’s adventure” is that as your sailing resume grows, so do the sailing adventure opportunities!

*An exception is that sailing in certain parts of the world (especially the Mediterranean) legally require a license. NauticEd offers licenses 2 ways, either by qualifying for the SLC (International Sailing License and Credentials) or via an RYA Day Skipper program (ICC license). Learn more about the SLC ›

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

Fear is the mind-killer.

– Frank Herbert, Dune

Fear is often a reason why we don’t go adventuring. That fear may be of unknowns, the unpredictable, or at times, a lack of confidence and insecurity in your knowledge and skills.

In our experience, competence through knowledge, training, and experience helps overcome fear. Sailing is an excellent example of this – when facing the unknown and unpredictable, you’re relying upon your knowledge, skills, and competence to keep you safe.

The irony of fear in sailing is that a healthy dose is good – it’s part of the challenge and excitement, and overcoming fear is part of the reward. However, too much fear can be debilitating, either by preventing us from having adventures or hindering our decisions at critical moments.

When fear is the mind-killer, then competence is an antidote.

Consider joining a Sailing Flotilla for your next sailing adventure vacation! Whether you’re just starting out or experienced, a sailing flotilla offers you the confidence and support of sailing with a group. Also, flotillas are just a lot of fun! Learn more about the benefits of a sailing flotilla, or view upcoming flotillas ›

Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.

– Bob Bitchin

We. Love. Bob Bitchin.

He’s a great guy and friend whose experience with ordeals and adventures in life and sailing is renowned. We shouldn’t really need to explain how ATTITUDE IS SO IMPORTANT if you want to have an adventure. Instead, just listen to Bob (an expert on such things).

Simple: Good Attitude = Great Adventure.

Also consider that Bob is in great company on attitude advice:

“There are no problems, only situations. It is all in how you approach them.” (Sadhguru)

Bob Bitchin sailing adventure photo and quote

We are the hero of our own story.

– Mary McCarthy

What’s a hero story? It’s a person who embarks on an adventure, leaving the ‘common day’ behind to face trials and challenges, and then returns home stronger and wiser. You’re the main character of your life, your adventure. THE HERO.

The biggest parallel between sailing adventures and a hero story is that both are journeys. The destination isn’t nearly as important as the journey itself – there’s a sense of incompleteness in life that’s often made whole by a hero’s journey. Of course that includes learning, frustration, and mistakes along the way — as well as many funny and fun times — as expressed by Winnie the Pooh “Life is a journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved.”

The story always includes other characters: friends and family, or more often new friendships (perhaps even a ‘villain’ or two). The reward is returning home stronger and wiser, more ‘complete’, than before you casted off or lost sight of land. And, the reward will be friends and memories that last a lifetime, including a growing collection of sea stories to inspire future generations of adventurers!

Then I realized adventures are the best way to learn.

– Anonymous

Once you leave your comfort zone, use learning and competence to mitigate risks, overcome fear, and have the right attitude – now you’re ready to adventure. Now you’re ready to REALLY LEARN SAILING.

Start small, perhaps with sailing courses or day sails, and slowly progress with increasingly challenging sailing situations such as diverse weather conditions, increased distance, or different sailboats. Parallel each step with knowledge and theory learning, whether that’s sail trim, maneuvering under power, or topics like weather or coastal navigation.

Consider each and every sail an adventure, and learn from it! The experience you’ll gain will continuously increase your competence.

In other words, get on with it yourself, don’t sit there waiting for someone to help you.

– Sir Robin Knox-Johnston

Great advice from one of the most celebrated sailors in modern history. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was the first person to single-handedly non-stop circumnavigate the globe, won the Jules Verne Trophy, and at age 67 was the oldest sailor to complete a round-the-world solo voyage.

He truly has lived the T.S. Eliot saying, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” For Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, that’s literally around the world!

How do you put more Sailing Adventure into your Life? Start with learning, get out of your comfort zone with a great attitude, and ‘…get on with it yourself…’ with building the competence you need for any sailing adventure.

Sailing Adventure - Sir Robin Knox-Johnston quote

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My vision for NauticEd is to provide the highest quality sailing and boating education available - and deliver competence wherever sailors live and go.
Grant Headifen
Last updated on October 9th, 2023