THE SAILING COLLECTIVE STORY
By Dayyan Armstrong | Sep. 4, 2020
Except from Sailing the Seas: A Voyagers' Guide to Oceanic Getaways. 2020, gestalten publishing - Order you copy of Sailing the Seas on the Sailing Collective Shop. $60
THE SAILING COLLECTIVE STORY
Sailing the Seas is co-written by Dayyan Armstrong and Ross Beane, the founders of Sailing Collective. The Collective was conceived in 2011 while we were in our mid-20’s, fueled by our ambition to share knowledge and experiences. We set out with a team of mariners to create sailing experiences for the travel community by crafting itineraries around the world. The team of captains created a collective pool of information that was shared amongst us, in keeping with the mariners’ tradition of swapping stories for better navigation.
Our early voyages were quite basic, with only one captain and a small group of adventurers. Everyone on board helped sail the ship and participate with the planning of the voyage ahead. In time, the philosophy of the organization shifted towards hospitality and we added a culinary program with on-board chefs, elevating the experience by marrying exploration and bespoke hospitality.
The aim was—and still is—to explore the world. Where there is a body of water, we’ll find a sailboat and create an itinerary. Since our foundation, we have designed journeys through more than 40 archipelagos and coastlines worldwide.
Our work is underpinned by our sense of discovery. For instance, Sailing Collective captains do not typically scout locations before embarking with the community. This is deliberate. For a non-mariner, the opportunity to sail with a captain during their maiden voyage illuminates the spirit of exploration we strive to create. No matter how much time is put into advance planning, the subtleties of a location, from its culture to currents, will never fully be what was expected. We create itineraries but are not beholden to following them. If we sail past an island and we notice an unnamed cove on the charts, we’ll drop our sails and see what there is to experience.
We came at sailing sideways, not through the local yacht club or being from a sailing family, but rather through our own curiosity. We were born in the mid-1980s and became brothers through the marriage of our respective parents at age 7. Growing up along the Gulf of Maine, old-timers taught us how to read charts and we’d sail along the Maine coast using dead reckoning. For us, sailing was a romance with the sea and a way to adventure beyond the shore. Hard learned lessons were imprinted on us from our successes and failures while we cruised home waters during our formative years.
The Gulf of Maine was our backyard, a difficult coastline to navigate as teenagers aboard our 24’ sloop. We sailed along thousands of islands and numerous archipelagos in an area known for its jagged ridgeline and large tidal drop. The Gulf of Maine can go from a blue-skied afternoon to a foggy maze with hardly a moment’s notice. These voyages created our understanding of what makes an expedition meaningful.
Our upbringing instilled in us a craving for knowledge and adventure. At age fourteen, Dayyan accompanied his mother in Bolivia during a semester-long research trip living among remote indigenous villages in the Andes. At age fifteen, Ross traveled with his father from southern Chile to Costa Rica, climbing some of South America’s tallest mountains along the way. These events would become pinnacle experiences that shaped the future to come. Since then, we have spent a collective 30-plus years on and around sailboats, traveling worldwide.
But the journey isn’t just about us, it’s about the community that has formed around the Sailing Collective. Whether we are creating a new itinerary or writing a book about them, the Sailing Collective is the summation of our team’s collective experience. So thank you to everyone who has been part of creating this history, to each captain, chef, photographer, and traveler who has joined our adventures, the thousands of wide-eyed explorers, each of whom has in one way or another shaped the information offered here. And for that, we are grateful.