For racers turned cruisers, one challenge of the cruising life can be taming the competitive instincts that tend to rise with the sails. The ability to push his boat to the edge helped James Wilding win three national championships in South Africa’s Tempo class. Since embarking on a retirement cruise two years ago, however, James has frequently resisted the urge to test the limits of Mind the Gap, the Nautitech 47 he sails with his wife, Lorna.
After shredding the catamaran’s spinnaker in a squall on a recent passage from Brazil to Tobago, James reminded himself of the dangers of pushing too far. “Another lesson learned– not to let the adrenalin rush cloud rational thinking,” he wrote in his blog. “Pragmatism and conservatism should be uppermost in our minds. No easy rescue facilities out here.”
At other times, knowing how to make the cat go fast has been just as critical to the Wildings’ safety at sea. Early in the passage to Tobago, a distressing site on the horizon caused James and Lorna to seek a speedier point of sail.