Words by Sam Haddad | Photography by Globalshots
Of course the heatwave stopped the morning of the trip. The dreamy Trinidad-style temperatures we’d grown so used to dropped by at least ten degrees, giving way to April showers and a wind that swirled with menace. As I waited at Poole Harbour to board the sailboat that would be my home for the next two days, I pictured a stomach-churning voyage, a scary sleepless night and me trying to stand up paddle (or SUP) for the first time in conditions more suited to Laird Hamilton.
At first, the ride out into the Solent did nothing to ease my fears. The sea was all white peaks and chop, the wind gusted relentlessly, and our giant sail flapped noisily as it powered us forward into the waves. But it didn’t take long to notice how smooth the ride was. Our skipper, Dave Hartwell, explained while casually steering the ship with one hand, things felt stable as we were sailing a catamaran, which has two hulls rather than your usual one (the hull being the main body of the ship).
“The sea was all white peaks and chop, the wind gusted relentlessly…but it didn’t take me long to notice how smooth our ride was”
He went on to explain the science of why that is but by then the blue of the horizon and the thrill of the ride were too distracting. I haven’t spent much time on boats that weren’t ferries but as I clambered about the decks trying to spot red squirrels on Brownsea Island and taking in the amazing coastline of Studland Bay from various vantage points I had no idea I would like it this much. It took all the power within me not to go full Titanic and re-enact the “I’m flying” pose on the bow (front) of the boat.