Sailing Sayings and Quotes

There's something about the open sea and adventure that draws people to sailing. Sure, it can be dangerous, but completing a difficult journey can also be very rewarding. Below you’ll find a collection of wise and insightful quotes about sailing.


If you live a life of make-believe, your life isn't worth anything until you do something that does challenge your reality. And to me, sailing the open ocean is a real challenge, because it's life or death.     

Morgan Freeman

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

Sailing - The fine art of slowly going nowhere at great expense while being cold, wet and miserable.     

Irv Heller

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

The sail, the play of its pulse so like our own lives: so thin and yet so full of life, so noiseless when it labors hardest, so noisy and impatient when least effective.      

Henry David Thoreau

A man can pretend to be a lot of things in this world; but he can only pretend to be a sailor for as long as it takes to clear the harbour mouth!      

Bernard Hayman

To reach a port we must sail, sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it. But we must not drift or lie at anchor.     

Oliver Wendell Holmes

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

Seneca

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

George William Curtis

Only two sailors, in my experience, never ran aground. One never left port and the other was an atrocious liar.      

Don Bamford

He who goes to sea for pleasure would go to hell to pass the time!      

Anonymous

It's scary to have a 30 foot wave chasing you. If you are steering, you don't look back. The crew looks back for you, and you watch their faces. When they look straight up, then get ready!      

Magnus Olsson

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

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

Charles Buxton

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

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

Anonymous

The questions that used to bother me at times, do not weigh anything before the immensity of a wake so close to the sky and filled with the wind of the sea      

Bernard Moitessier

There is a rule in sailing where the more maneuverable ship should give way to the less maneuverable craft. I think this is sometimes a good rule to follow in human relationships as well.      

Joyce Brothers

On life's vast ocean diversely we sail. Reasons the card, but passion the gale.      

Alexander Pope

On a day when the wind is perfect, the sail just needs to open and the world is full of beauty.      

Rumi

Tis the set of the sail that decides the goal, and not the storm of life.     

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch, we are going back from whence we came.     

John F. Kennedy

Less judgment than wit is more sail than ballast.     

William Penn

We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.     

Bertha Calloway

He that will not sail till all dangers are over must never put to sea.      

Dr. Thomas Fuller

Hoist up sail while gale doth last, Tide and wind stay no man's pleasure     

Robert Southwell

I'd like to be a sailor - a sailor bold and bluff, Calling out, 'Ship ahoy!' in manly tones and gruff. I'd learn to box the compass, and to reef and tack and luff; I'd sniff and sniff the briny breeze and never get enough. Perhaps I'd chew tobacco, or an old black pipe I'd puff, But I wouldn't be a sailor if The sea was very rough.      

C J Dennis

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

William Arthur Ward

Any fool can carry on, but a wise man knows how to shorten sail in time.      

Joseph Conrad

Sailing requires the management of all the systems on the boat, plus all the controls on the boat, while assessing the weather and navigation. It's planning everything to a fine level of detail and making the required adjustments all at the same time things are changing      

Anonymous