Cruising (maritime)

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Cruising by boat is a lifestyle that involves living for extended time on a boat while traveling from place to place for pleasure. Cruising generally refers to trips of a few days or more, and can extend to round-the-world voyages.



Boats were almost exclusively used for work prior to the nineteenth century. In 1857, the philosopher Henry David Thoreau, with his book Canoeing in Wilderness chronicling his canoe voyaging in the wilderness of Maine, was the first to convey the enjoyment of spiritual and lifestyle aspects of cruising. The concept of cruising for pleasure was popularized in the nineteenth century, by several widely read authors and books: John MacGregor, 1866, A Thousand Miles in a Rob Roy Canoe; Robert Louis Stevenson, 1877, An Inland Voyage; and Nathaniel H. Bishop, 1879, Four Months in a Sneakbox.

Joshua Slocum was one of the first people to carry out a long-distance sailing voyage for pleasure, circumnavigating the world between 1895 and 1898. Despite opinion that such a voyage was impossible and his having retired, Slocum rebuilt a derelict 37-foot (11 m) sloop Spray and sailed her single-handed around the world. His book Sailing Alone Around the World is a classic adventure, and inspired many others to take to the seas.[1]

Other cruising authors have provided both inspiration and instruction to prospective cruisers. Key among these during the post World War II period are Electa and Irving Johnson, Miles and Beryl Smeeton, Bernard Moitessier, Peter Pye, and Eric and Susan Hiscock. During the 1970s - 1990s Robin Lee Graham, Lin and Larry Pardey, Annie Hill, Herb Payson, Linda and Steve Dashew, Margaret and Hal Roth, and Beth Leonard & Evans Starzinger have provided inspiration for people to set off voyaging.

The dawn of the personal web page in the 1990s, and more recently the blog site spawned thousands of cruising websites detailing the adventures of cruising sailors around the world.[2] These provide both a means for cruising sailors to stay in touch with families and loved ones and equally serve to propagate the lifestyle and share information between cruisers and 'want-to-be' cruisers.

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