All Manner of Escape

CW editor John Burnham previews our October 2006 issue, encouraging readers to "Make the Escape," no matter how great.

The theme of an issue sometimes remains hidden for a long time, and only upon the final reading do I discern the threads from which a singular idea or concept may hang. But that wasn't the case for this one; I remember the moment I read the lines, early in a manuscript from Webb Chiles: "Find a place where you can live aboard a boat. This precedes actually having a boat."

The simple logic of "Seven Steps to Planning Your Escape" (see page 116) made it an absorbing, captivating read as Webb detailed six more steps to trace over a period of years if you intend to set off around the world in a sailboat. In my hands (and now in yours) was a straightforward road map that cuts to the mission of Cruising World.

Soon thereafter, the stars began to line up when Beth Leonard dropped by for a few hours and said, among other things, that we should provide more encouragement for readers of all ages to go cruising. Would an excerpt from her newly revised Voyager's Handbook help? The chapter she had in mind described how a cruising lifestyle could be managed at three very different levels of expenditure. "Cruising Budgets That Work" (see page 106) was the slightly condensed result, and it makes an invaluable companion to anyone following Webb's seven-step program.

Now we were rolling with a "Make the Escape" theme, and why not run it in October, CW's biggest issue, just in time for the boat shows? The only thing missing was sailing directions, so we turned to one of our far-ranging contributing editors, Jimmy Cornell, the author of World Cruising Routes. If you were looking for a bite-sized cruise, you'll be disappointed in "Where to Cruise First?" (see page 100). Starting from the East Coast of the United States, Jimmy offers two routes-one around the western Caribbean and another looping around the North Atlantic. And if you're ready for an even greater voyage, check out the whopper of a third route he's written for the web.

It turns out that you don't think small when you've been around the world as many times as Jimmy; on the other hand, if you were only going to sail a few hundred miles, you wouldn't be making the escape you're really after.
Of course, you don't have to commit the rest of your life in order to complete one of these suggested routes. In fact, while your escape can be for one year or five, it can also be for three to six months. And while you're planning a cruise that stretches your horizons, don't forget to make smaller getaways whenever possible. Being on your boat and sailing will keep your appetite whetted and remind you that there's another existence for you beyond your daily, land-bound routine.

Let loose on a borrowed boat, I became sharply aware of this contrast during my long weekend on Santa Catalina island last June. (See "The Island Beyond Avalon," page 86.) I also realized that if you have only four days for your current trip, you'll work on getting a week next time, and if you have a week, you'll start shooting for two. Keep raising your sights, and pretty soon you'll be ready to put some ocean in your wake.