When the assignment presented itself, I said, “sure, okay!”
Well, somebody had to do it. I mean the Star Clipper Line, an advertiser for years, had repeated asked for someone to come and take a sail on one of their ships. I was available and made one of the most difficult decisions on my life: Which itinerary? The South Pacific, Thailand or The Med? After much deliberation, I chose a 10-day sail from Venice to Rome with stops in Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, Sicily and Italy finest.
After spending five+ years living full-time on a 35-foot sailboat (a Good-old boat), I thought I had earned to right to sail on the largest full-rigged sailing ship in the world. I had paid my dues cooking in a galley the size of most people’s sink and showering in the cockpit with our solar shower. Our cruise was more in the “camping on the water” range rather than the “luxury voyage” end.
As a freelance travel writer, I am a member of a great online networking site for journalists. MediaKitty posted a “Media Trip” from the PR firm that handles the Star Clippers. I contacted them and discovered that they had been trying to get someone from the Magazine to take a cruise. Since I am only working part-time for the moment, I guess I had the time available. So with an assignment letter from the Publisher, I set it up. My first mate had to go too. This was one FAM trip that I just couldn’t do without him. So we paid for his airfare, excursions and a few extras and off we went!
The Royal Clipper
Compared to SAGA, our trusty little Alberg 35 that took us from Northern California to Florida, The Royal Clipper is well…magnificent! But, truth be told, there really is no comparing the two.
Aboard SAGA, I’d be happy to get a few hours of shut-eye if the seas were up. (And by “up,” I mean 4-6! SAGA had very low freeboard). Happy to grab a granola bar for some much-needed nourishment when it was rough since cooking down below wasn’t even an option. Showers were courtesy of the handy solar-shower bag and done in the cockpit surrounded by mesh sunshades or beach towels, if nosy boaters were nearby. Life at 15 degrees heel on a skinny boat can be tiresome. My waning nostalgia for those days evaporated the first moment I walked along the top deck watching those huge sails unfurl on the Royal Clipper was we set sail from Venice, passing St. Marks Square and the thousands of tourists snapping photos of us.
Read my entire article, “Cruising The Med in Style Aboard The Royal Clipper” in the December issue of Blue Water Sailing Magazine. Subscribe online at www.bwsailing.com or pick one up at your local West Marine Store.