We all need some inspiration from time to time. These quotes by sailing legends and enthusiasts have inspired us all at YBW since we launched 20 years ago



“Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk.” Sir Francis Chichester 

“Every single day since I heard that tap-tapping and knew I had survived, I have told myself I am lucky to be alive. Why go back? Because I’m a racing sailor; that’s what I do. I love the sea, and I love competition. You don’t give up on life just because you once had a narrow shave from death.” Tony Bullimore

“My mother, when asked for her opinion of the voyage before I sailed, had replied that she considered it ‘totally irresponsible’ and on this Christmas Day I began to think she was right. I was sailing round the world simply because I bloody well wanted to – and, I realised, I was thoroughly enjoying myself.” Robin Knox-Johnston

“The day passes happily with me wherever my ship sails.” Joshua Slocum

“The art of the sailor is to leave nothing to chance.” Annie Van De Wiele

American President John F Kennedy on a yacht

Credit: ABACA/PA Images

“I really don’t know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it’s because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it’s because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came. ” John F. Kennedy

“There have been times on this trip I’ve been convinced that GPS was wrong.” Chris Robb

“Calm sailing doesn’t come from calm waters, it comes from having a good navigator; a good crew and a good vessel.” Anthony T. Hincks

Vito Dumas

“It’s out there at sea that you are really yourself.” Vito Dumas

“The cabin of a small yacht is truly a wonderful thing; not only will it shelter you from a tempest, but from the other troubles in life, it is a safe retreat.” L. Francis Herreshoff

Continued below…

Eric and Susan Hiscock

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“The charm of singlehanded cruising is not solitude, but independence.” Claud Worth

“When you are in a huge storm, and you’ve set the boat up for the winds, and the autopilot is steering the boat, there’s nothing to do apart from stand there and watch the walls of water breaking around you; it’s an awesome sight.” Emma Richards

“In splicing, practice makes perfect, and in the doing you will learn more than from reading any ten books on the subject.” Hervey Garrett Smith

“The only way to get a good crew is to marry one.” Eric Hiscock

“To win, you have to believe you can do it. You have to be passionate about it. You have to really ‘want’ the result – even if this means years of work. The hardest part of any big project is to begin.” Sir Peter Blake

Ellen MacArthur hanging onto the bowsprit of Kingfisher

Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

“When you spend so much time pushing, caring for, cajoling and maintaining a beautiful racing machine like this, you get very close. She’s looked after me well, and I look after her. I haven’t been lonely at all.” Ellen MacArthur

“The chance of mistakes are about equal to the number of crew squared.”  Ted Turner

“The desire to build a house is the tired wish of a man content thenceforward with a single anchorage. The desire to build a boat is the desire of youth, unwilling yet to accept the idea of a final resting place.” Arthur Ransome

“I want a boat that drinks six, eats four, and sleeps two.” Ernest K. Gann

“A sailing ship is no democracy; you don’t caucus a crew as to where you’ll go anymore than you inquire when they’d like to shorten sail.” Sterling Hayden