"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." -Benjamin Franklin
That's a simple quote, but an arduous task. And of course, the meaning of "worth" changes among readers and writers. But if you're here at SailFarLiveFree.com, I can safely assume sailing probably ranks high on your scale of things worth reading and worth doing.
Below are the sailing related blogs that I've most enjoyed following during 2013. There are many more that I follow and countless others that are worthy of reading, but just as with years past, I've tried to narrow the field a bit. Some are very popular blogs and some will be new to you, but all benefit from writing and adventure that's outside the editorial constraints of magazines and other more traditional forms of written media. Notice also, I've included a selection of blogs to follow in the upcoming year. Many will be beginning new adventures in 2014. Enjoy!
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SFLF's Best Sailing Blogs of 2013
s/v Bella Star: Nicole and Aaron are a couple of Seattlites who did the typical cruising thing: dreamed about the tropics, bought a boat and set off for adventure through the South Pacific's playground of palms, atolls and postcard beaches. A very sweet dream for many cruisers, but nothing all that out-of-the-ordinary in today's cruising blog community. What sets the s/v Bella Star blog apart from others is the short, punchy posts followed by many often hilariously captioned photos. Nicole and Aaron alternate authoring duties and their blog benefits from that volleying. Maybe I'm biased because their boat (Hans Christian 33t) happens to be my favorite bluewater cruiser, but following their journey across the Pacific was a pleasure. Need a winter warm-up and a quick smile? Take a stroll through their pictures, "arm shots" and "island conquering".
Get a feel for the s/v Bella Star blog with this post: We Love Niue!
Art of Hookie: Here's a unique blog from someone who describes himself as "a maximalist in minimalist clothing." The description works for the blog too. Alan left a secure job and bought a very cool boat (Falmouth Cutter 22), draining his savings account to just 14 cents! That's risky to some, foolish to others, but it's now a home and way of life for Alan. Art of Hookie is about more than sailing. You'll find deep personal reflections, beautiful photography, wilderness adventures and more. What I like most is that Alan often challenges his readers to think differently about the world and society around them.
Get a feel for the Art of Hookie blog with this post: Treasure Island
Katie and Jessie on a Boat: I initially started following this blog because Katie and Jessie are from my home waters on Lake Michigan. Theirs is a story of two friends who purchased an old Cal 27 with aspirations of doing the Great Loop and are mostly making up the script as they travel along. These aren't your ordinary Loopers, however. Katie and Jessie are two girls in their early 20's who are just hoping to make "the greatest story a girl could ever tell." Their writing, photography and adventurers are all very fresh, if even a little green, which is exactly what makes their blog stand out in a positive way. So far, they've made it from Lake Michigan down through America's inland waterway to Florida's Gulf Coast and then through the Ockechobee Waterway to the Atlantic where they took on the Bahamas. It's sounding like 2014 may see them finish the Loop.
Get a feel for the Katie & Jessie on a Boat blog with this post: The Storm
s/v Estrellita 5.10b: Livia and Carol can now be called South Pacific veterans after having sailed and blogged about these waters for multiple seasons. Their plan is simple: To cruise as long as it's fun. How do they define fun? Well, in their own words "fun is at least 80:20 percent on the fun-to-suck ratio, with an ideal fun-to-suck ratio of 90:10." The bottom line is that if you're a sucker for the South Pacific like me, you should follow s/v Estrellita 5.10b and get a dose of what it's really like sailing in French Polynesia.
Get a feel for the s/v Estrellia 5.10b blog with this post: Losing Your Cruising
Bumfuzzle: Pat and Ali certainly don't need an introduction or recognition from my blog. They're truly Hall-of-Fame worthy cruisers and bloggers, so why include them here? Well, since they recently decided to swallow the anchor and take to a life of "motorhome gypsies", I thought it was fitting to include them one last time in a list of best sailing blogs. You've all read their family adventures, but make sure you read Pat's candid post about the end of their cruising existence.
Get a feel for the Bumfuzzle blog with this post: Roll On
Log of s/v Del Viento: These West Coast cruisers provide readers with some of the best perspectives on what it's like to cruise as a family. There's a fine line between too much family content and not enough sailing content, but Michael has steadily tightroped the line now for several years. His style continues to evolve and his writing is as good as it gets in the blogosphere. Their boat is currently headed back south towards Mexico, but a good portion of 2013 was spent in Alaska.
Get a feel for the s/v Del Viento blog with this post: Moe-Gee-Oat-Eh
s/v Ocelot & The Hacking Family: I'm very politely going to label the Hacking Family as the grand parents of the cruising blog generation. They're not physically old, but they've been sailing, cruising, living aboard and blogging about all of it since at least 2002. I've been a reader of theirs since before I started this blog back in 2007. If you dig deep enough into their website, you can even find stories from their sailing experiences in the 1980's. I guess it goes without saying that their website (it's much more than a blog) is massive. While much the content in 2013 covers a major refit of their cruising catamaran, I wanted to include their website in this list because it's such a good resource for cruisers. Why do the Hackings cruise? Their primary goal has been to teach themselves and their children about the different cultures of people in our world. You'll find that they've gone one step further by also teaching readers the same.
Get a feel for the Hacking Family blog with this post: Indonesian Arrival
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Blogs to Watch & Follow in 2014 - New cruisers, new adventures, and new blogs
LAHO Wind: Jereme and Kim purchased their first sailboat in 2013 and just quit there jobs in December to go cruising in the Bahamas and Caribbean. It should be fun to watch them evolve as sailors and adapt to the cruising lifestyle in 2014.
In The Present Sea: Webb Chiles is an accomplished author and sailor, but did you know he keeps a blog? Just don't let him hear you calling it a blog. He prefers "journal" and considers "blog" and ugly word! In any case, Webb is currently preparing for his 6th circumnavigation and intends to depart sometime in early 2014. [If you haven't read my recent interview with Webb, check it out here]
Sundowner Sails Again: Westsail the world! Tate and Dani will be living that slogan soon enough. They're currently finishing the restoration of their Westsail 32 in preparation for a planned January 2015 departure to sail around the world. Follow them in 2014 as they finish the boat and shake things out before leaving.
Skelton Crew: I've gotta give some love to fellow Great Lakes sailors from our home port of Muskegon. Like those above, they've purchased a sailboat and are getting to know her before their big Caribbean adventure in 2015. Check 'em out and follow along as they "play in the Great Lakes" before heading south.
ZeroToCruising: I suspect many of you are already following Mike and Rebecca, but 2014 should be full of new adventures now that they've switched from cruising on their own sailboat to running One Love catamaran charters out of St. Thomas.
Retirement Project: All the way from an inland lake in Illinois to Florida (currently) and the Caribbean (2014). That's the recent story for Tim and Deb aboard s/v Kintala. If you're familiar with their blog, you know they've worked hard to make it this far, so seeing them reap the rewards in the Caribbean during 2014 should be gratifying.
Want more great blogs? Check out the Best Sailing Blogs of 2014.
Got other favorite blogs you love to follow or know of some that should be picking up momentum in the coming year? We'd love to hear about them, so please share in the comments below.
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