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10 Interesting Facts About Sailing

Are you a knowledgeable sailing veteran looking for some exciting and fun facts to share with other sailing lovers on your next sailing adventure? Or are you a newcomer to sailing, looking to expand his knowledge about this fascinating sport? Whether you know all these fun facts about sailing already or you had no idea these stories existed, one thing is undeniable. There are so many surprising aspects to these water adventures that it would be a shame not to share them and demonstrate the depth and breadth of the sailing world. Let’s dive in, and we hope we can manage to surprise you with something you may not know.

1. Some of the youngest sailors in the world are girls

Did you know that girls as young as 16 years old have sailed around the world all alone? We start our blog about the exciting sailing facts with the girls as the youngest sailors in the world. Jessica Watson from Australia and Laura Dekker from the Netherlands were both 16 years old when they completed their sea voyages in 2009. Jessica Watson became the youngest person to sail around the world with no stops and completely unassisted! While the just as impressive Laura Dekker completed her own sailing adventure around the globe.

Another fascinating insight

Another fascinating insight is that she almost didn’t make it. The reason for this was the interference of the Dutch government. They didn’t think it was a good idea for a teenager to sail the world. However, she proved them wrong in all sorts of ways. These accomplishments are not recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records, because of similar reasons. What do you think, should we recognize such achievements and therefore encourage them? Or are people right to worry for young kids who are interested in such fascinating, but dangerous endeavors? Tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook page! You can also learn more about Dekker’s journey in the film documentary Maidentrip.

2. Sailing can give you access to “off-limits to tourists” destinations

Did you know that there are a ton of beautiful small islands that are generally considered off-limits to tourists? No flights or cruises are going there. The only way to reach these unspoiled lands is by boat or helicopter. From exotic species and authentic villages to serene beaches and lush nature. Places like this feel like personal heaven for everyone fortunate enough to visit them. Luckily, as a sailor, you have the fantastic opportunity to see these hidden gems on your sailing holiday.

We even have a suggestion for you in case this fact really captured your interest. The Raja Ampat Islands in Indonesia are just like the places we described. Over 500 recorded coral species, spectacularly diverse nature and hidden beaches are awaiting those who like to travel by sea and explore the turquoise waters of the archipelago.

3. Feeling blue is a term that originates from sailing

You would be surprised how many terms and sayings we use every day originate from sailing. This applies to the term “feeling blue” as well. We know that if you feel blue, you actually mean that you feel sad or depressed. So it is actually very logical that the saying originated from sailing because in the past, when a ship lost its captain during a voyage, the sailors would sail blue flags, indicating their loss. So if you’re feeling blue, you’re actually referring to the blue flags that were used to sign that the ship’s crew is in mourning.

4. Son of a gun is a term that actually refers to your birthplace

We just can’t get enough of these sayings that are so unexpectedly connected to sailing. Therefore, we have one more interesting fact about you, and this one is related to the phrase “son of a gun” Nowadays, the exclamation is perceived as an affectionate way of addressing or referring to someone. However, in lesser days, when women used to be smuggled onboard ships, they would often get pregnant, and if the passage took longer than expected, they needed to give birth right then and there, on the boat. This would usually happen between the cannons on the gun deck. If the child wasn’t recognized by one of the passengers or sailors, it was entered in the ship’s log as being “the son of a gun.”

5. He’s a loose cannon!

… is originally a sailing term and the last one we will discuss, we promise. We use this saying to describe someone who behaves in an uncontrolled or unexpected way. The relation to sailing comes with the weight of canons on ships. They could go up to 3,400 pounds (or 1,500 kg). So you can imagine that a loose one could do quite the damage. Therefore loose cannons are dangerous – and should be avoided at all costs. Hence the saying.

6. You can sail in a straight line for nearly 22,229 miles…in theory

Okay, we have to admit this is just a theory by cartographer David Cooke, and according to critics, it’s impossible to navigate in a perfectly straight line, but it’s still a cool theory. According to him, the Cooke Passage running around the Earth from Port Renfrew to Quebec is a sailing route you can take and finish without ever touching land. It may not be entirely possible, but how amazing would it be if it was? However, if you are looking for a more realistic sailing route, check out our Beautiful Sailing Itinerary in Dalmatia, which is easy to complete and enjoy.

7. The sailing flags originate from the Anglo-Dutch Wars

During the Anglo-Dutch wars from 1652 to 1674, the British had the objective to replace the Dutch as the dominant naval power in Europe. The Dutch admiral De Ruyter and Grand Pensionary DeWitt came up with a successful flag signaling system in order to communicate effectively and outmaneuver the British. A system that is used to this day not in battle, but for communication with ships and the transmission of messages that sailors can easily understand.

8. Joshua Slocum is the first man to sail around the world by himself

In 1898 Joshua Slocum, a Nova-Scotian-born American, became the first man to sail around the world by himself. He also wrote a book about his journey named “Sailing Alone Around the World,” which became an international best-seller. If you’re interested, you can get his book for free on the Gutenberg project. If you are interested in sailing, this is probably a fact you already knew. However, another exciting thing about this is that the second attempt was made 69 years later. So it took some time for the world to catch up, with Sir Francis Chichester completing his trip in 1967.

9. The Maltese Falcon is the biggest sailing yacht in the world

With a length of 88m, The Maltese Falcon is the biggest sailing yacht in the world. With two 1,800 horsepower Deutz engines, it is deemed to be the most expensive sailboat in the world. Which is natural, since it has its own gym, an atrium, a VIP cabin, four guest suites that have king or queen beds and plasma screens. It 2009 it was sold for a whopping price of £60 million.

10. The world-record sailing speed is 65.45 knots or 121km/h

Last but not least, we will end this blog with one of the exciting facts about sailing – the world-record sailing speed. As of November 2012, the fastest sailing speed on record is 65.45 knots or over 120 kilometers per hour! The Australian Paul Larsen set this record with the specially-designed Sailrocket 2, which has an unconventional design, meant for high-speed sailing. He managed to set this record in breezy conditions in the waters of Namibia.

Did you know these facts, or were you surprised by all the exciting things that have happened in the sailing world? Leave a comment below or tell us on our social media, and don’t forget to share with your family and friends these fun facts about sailing!

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