There's something rather special about a sailboat...
But there's definitely something really special about a cruising sail boat. Size isn't it - large or small - they all have it. Neither do they have to be stunningly beautiful nor hugely expensive.
It's not about what they are; it's more about what they can deliver - simple pleasure, high adventure or genuine white-knuckle challenge.
Perhaps just a day sail on the lake or a trip along the coast.
A voyage across an ocean maybe, or even a circumnavigation of the world.
And best of all, by utilizing nature's free and sustainable energy resource - the wind.
But be warned - it's addictive. You could end up going the whole hog - getting rid of the shoreside assets, buying a suitable boat and living aboard.
But before you take that gient step, maybe you should charter a sailboat for a couple of weeks, just to be sure?
Either way, you'll find that they represent pure freedom; they're beguiling machines, sailing boats.
Take the beauty below for instance, reaching between the islands in one of the world's favourite cruising grounds - the Windward & Leeward Islands of the Caribbean.
So whether you're a paid-up, certifiable sailboat fanatic familiar with all the nautical jargon and niceties of flag etiquette, or just curious about those of us who are, you're sure to find something of interest by cruising around in this website.
Who knows where you'll fetch up?
Hey, you might even start thinking about buying a sailboat of your own!
Owning a sailing boat, particularly one designed for offshore and ocean sailing, can change your life.
With a few gallons of fuel, adequate food and water aboard she'll take you thousands of miles leaving a carbon footprint in her wake that would delight the most ardent environmentalist.
Hey, you can catch your own fish, make your own drinking water from seawater (or collect nature's free offering with a raincatcher) and charge your batteries with a windcharger or solar panels - all without using a drop of fuel!
With a bluewater boat equipped in this way you could go the whole nine yards, sell your shoreside assets, cast off the shorelines together with the tedium of life ashore and set off on a cruising life of freedom and adventure.
A surprising number of people do just this, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Take the accommodation below decks for example. What might look very attractive at a boat show could prove to be considerably less so when in a seaway.
Take a look at the two alternative interior layouts below for instance...
It's here that the interior designer can recreate the appeal of a country cottage or splendor of a minor palace, often in the process making access to fixtures and fittings impossible without major surgery to the boat's interior. It's much better to follow the wise adage that 'form should follow function' and leave all the glitz and glamour to vehicles with wheels on.
The interior layout of a cruising boat is all important. Take a look at these two similar - but different - interior layout options...
One of them is much more suitable for long-distance offshore sailing than the other.
This, and all other artwork on this page by Andrew Simpson
So far we've only mentioned monohulls, but multihull sailboats - both catamarans and trimarans - can make good cruising boats too.
Our ever-growing gallery of pics, specs and key performance indicators of many popular cruising boats...
Stock images by Depositphotos