Sailing Quotes: Our Top 70 Favorite Of All Time

General Info

 Ever since its inception, sailing has been linked to a sense of freedom and drive for adventure. For many centuries,sailors were considered to be bold and courageous men willing to risk their lives for fortune and honor.

 

They went on a hopeful trading adventures to Asia or the Caribbean and they went to explore uncharted areas hoping to find new land. 

 

Although it has been many years since sailors have run out of territory to explore, these associations to sailing still prevails and the feeling of freedom is often what sailors highlight as the key reason for their passion.

 

At the same time,many great men and women have fallen in love with sailing over the years,giving birth to a practically endless series of inspirational quotes. 

 

Below you will find a comprehensive list of our personal favorites. Enjoy… 

 

Our Top 70 Sailing Quotes:

 

Sail now, Work later

a sailor

 

A man is never lost at sea.

-Ernest Hemingway

 

The planning stage of a cruise is often just as enjoyable as the voyage itself,letting one’s imagination loose on all kinds of possibilities. Yet translating dreams into reality means a lot of practical questions have to be answered.

-Jimmy Cornell

 

Sailors,with their built-in sense of order, service and discipline, should really be running the world.

-Nicholas Monsarrat

 

Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk.

-Sir Francis Chichester

 

Nothing comes sailing by itself.

-Alexander Dale Oen

 

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. 

-William Arthur Ward

 

Who is staring at the sea is already sailing a little. 

-Paul Carvel

sailing quotes

 

At sea, I learned how little a person needs, not how much. 

-Robin Graham

 

The goal is not to sail the boat, but rather to help the boat sail herself. 

-John Rousmaniere

 

The cure for anything is saltwater - sweat, tears, or the sea. 

-Isak Dinesen

 

I keep sailing on in this middle passage. I am sailing into the wind and the dark. But I am doing my best to keep my boat steady and my sails full. 

-Arthur Ashe

 

The thing I realized this last few days is that the earth is a big place. 

-Paul Cayard

 

Out of sight of land the sailor feels safe. It is the beach that worries him.

Charles Davis

 

There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. 

-Willa Cather

 

Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than those you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. 

-Mark Twain

 

The art of the sailor is to leave nothing to chance. 

-Annie Van De Wiele

 

Land was created to provide a place for boats to visit. 

-Brooks Atkinson

 

The lovely thing about cruising is that planning usually turns out to be of little use. 

-Dom Degnon

 

I cannot not sail. 

-E. B. White

 

It’s remarkable how quickly a good and favorable wind can sweep away the maddening frustrations of shore living. 

-Ernest K. Gann

 

Until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, you will not know the terror of being forever lost at sea. 

-Charles Cook

 

No literature is richer than that of the sea. No story is more enthralling, no tradition is more secure. 

-Felix Riesenberg

 

A ship in the harbor is safe, but that's not what ships are built for. 

-William Shedd

 

To young men contemplating a voyage I would say go. 

-Joshua Slocum

 

Live in the Sunshine, Swim in the Ocean, and Drink in the Wild Air 

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

quotes about sailing

 

To desire nothing beyond what you have is surely happiness. Aboard a boat, it is frequently possible to achieve just that. That is why sailing is way of life,one of the finest of lives. 

-Carleton Mitchell

 

You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore 

-Christopher Columbus

 

What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.

-Thomas Merton

 

And after two days in civilization we realized we could never stay for long and started to plan our next adventure. 

-Bob Bitchin

 

I wanted freedom, open air, adventure. I found it on the sea. 

-Alain Gerbault

 

There is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea. 

-Joseph Conrad

 

To reach a port we must set sail - Sail, not tie at anchor - Sail, not drift.

-Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore. 

-Vincent Van Gogh

 

If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.

-Lucius Annaeus Seneca

 

It is not that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.

-Sir Francis Drake

 

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. 

-Jacques Yves Cousteau

 

The cure for anything is saltwater - sweat, tears, or the sea.

-Isak Dinesen

 

There's nothing like lying flat on your back on the deck, alone except for the helmsman aft at the wheel, silence except for the lapping of the sea against the side of the ship. At that time you can be equal to Ulysses and brother to him. 

-Errol Flynn

 

Thought is the wind, knowledge the sail, and mankind the vessel. 

-August Hare

 

Wonders are many, and none is more wonderful than the power that crosses the white sea,driven by the stormy wind, making a path under surges that threaten to engulf him. 

-Sophocles

 

The wind and the waves are always on the side of the ablest navigator. 

-Edmund Gibbon

 

Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.

- FitzhughDodson

 

Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.

-Syrus Publilius

 

Land was created to provide a place for boats to visit. 

-Brooks Atkinson

 

There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. 

-Kenneth Grahame

 

Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.

-African proverb

 

Sailor is an artist whose medium is the wind. Live passionately, even if it kills you, because something is going to kill you anyway.

-Webb Chiles

 

Can't control the wind but I can adjust the sail.

-Ricky Skaggs

 

We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn topsail in high winds. 

-Aristotle Onassis

 

I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it - but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor. 

-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

 

It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage. 

-George William Curtis

 

The days pass happily with me wherever my ship sails. 

-Joshua Slocum

 

Mackerel skies and mares tails, soon will be time to shorten sails.

-Sailors proverb

 

There's no thrill in easy sailing when the skies are clear and blue, there’s no joy in merely doing things which any one can do. But there is some satisfaction that is mighty sweet to take, when you reach a destination that you never thought you'd make. 

- a sailor

 

Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Give him a fishing lesson and he’ll sit in a boat drinking beer every weekend. 

-Alex Blackwell

sailing

 

There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. 

-Willa Cather

 

He who lets the sea lull him into a sense of security is in very grave danger. 

-Hammond Ines

 

Sailing a boat calls for quick action, a blending of feeling with the wind and water as well as with the very heart and soul of the boat itself. Sailing teaches alertness and courage, and gives in return a joyousness and peace that but few sports afford. 

-George Matthew Adams

 

I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky. And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by. 

-John Masefield

 

Success soon palls. The joyous time is when the breeze first strikes your sails, and the waters rustle under your bows. 

-Charles Buxton

 

Instead of sailing off into the sunset, he hopes to sail into the next century. 

-Dave Anderson

 

For the most part, a sailboat navigates through its world of wind and water not leaving a single trace of its passage. Nothing is consumed. Nothing is altered.The winds and the water are left in exactly the same condition for the next user. Sailing is forever. 

-Michael B. McPhee

 

I am a citizen of the most beautiful nation on earth, a nation whose laws are harsh yet simple, a nation that never cheats, which is immense and without borders, where life is lived in the present. In this limitless nation, this nation of wind, light, and peace, there is no other ruler besides the sea. 

-Bernard Moitessier

 

Sailing is just the bottom line, like adding up the score in bridge. My real interest is in the tremendous game of life. 

-Dennis Conner

 

You haven’t lived until you’ve sailed. 

- David Sedaris

 

A bad day sailing is 100 times better than a good day at work. 

- a sailor

 

To be successful at sea we must keep things simple. 

- Pete Culler

 

The sea is the same as it has been since before men ever went on it in boats. 

- Ernest Hemingway

 

Never in my life before have I experienced such beauty, and fear at the same time.

- Ellen MacArthur

 

So what's your favorite one? We love the humor but the sailing quotes on overcoming struggle especially strike home. Maybe reading those quotes has got you in the mood for more sailing. If so, check out our favorite sailing movies and binge on your favorite this weekend.

Simon Nielson

Simon is a former world class sailing athlete, winning medals in European and World Championships while being ranked no. 1 in the world in the Olympic 49'er class as part of being in the Denmark national team. He has contributed many articles to the Deepsailling blog. If you'd like to learn more, you can read our about page. If you'd like to share your photos or stories from your sailing adventures, simply email us and we'll share them on the site.

Related Posts

Join The DeepSailing Club

Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form