32 Best Sailor Sayings and Sailing Quotes


Are you a sailor and needs some more inspiration? Here’s my list of Quotes about the sea and sailing on a boat.

Two years ago, when Jonathan and I were still broke backpackers, he told me about how he dreams of sailing the open seas – that someday, he would buy himself a boat. Live in it. And travel around the world with it. And you guessed right; he sure did buy us a sailboat.

Here is the list of some popular sailor sayings and sailing quotes that will have you set before your sailing rendezvous:

1. Sailors, with their built-in sense of order, service, and discipline, should really be running the world. – Nicholas Monsarrat

2. The wind and the waves are always on the side of the ablest navigator. – Edmund Gibbon

3. The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. – William Arthur Ward

4. Mackerel skies and mares tails, soon will be time to shorten sails. – sailors proverb

5. 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

6. I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving – we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it – but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor. – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

7. A ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for. – William Shedd

8. You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. – Christopher Columbus

9. He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast. – Leonardo da Vinci

10. He is the best sailor who can steer within fewest points of the wind, and exact a motive power out of the greatest obstacles. – Walter Scott

11. I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky. And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by. – John Masefield

12. That’s what a ship is, you know – it’s not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails, that’s what a ship needs. But what a ship is, really is, is freedom. – Capt. Jack Sparrow

13. A tourist remains an outsider throughout his visit, but a sailor is part of the local scene from the moment he arrives. – Anne Davison

14. The perfection of a yacht’s beauty is that nothing should be there for only beauty’s sake. – John MacGregor

15. A sailing vessel is alive in a way that no ship with mechanical power ever be. – Aubrey de Selincourt

16. Ships are the nearest things to dreams that hands have ever made, for somewhere deep in their oaken hearts the soul of a song is laid. – Robert N. Rose

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

18. Until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, you will not know the terror of being forever lost at sea. – Charles Cook

19. We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds. – Aristotle Onassis, Shipping Magnate

20. The wind and the waves are always on the side of the ablest navigator. – Edmund Gibbon, Historian

21. I wanted freedom, open-air, and adventure. I found it on the sea. – Alaine Gerbault, Sailor

22. It is not the ship so much as the skilful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage. – George William Curtis

23. A ship on the port always waits for you to sail to the oceans! – Mehmet Murat ildan

24. The only ship you can truly steer in this ocean is the one you’re sailing. Quit trying to alter the winds; harness them. – Richelle E. Goodrich, Making Wishes

25. That’s what sailing is, a dance, and your partner is the sea. And with the sea you never take liberties. You ask her, you don’t tell her. You have to remember always that she’s the leader, not you. You and your boat are dancing to her tune. – Michael Morpurgo, Alone on a Wide Wide Sea

26. The sea hates a coward. – Eugene O’Neill

27. I was born in the breezes, and I had studied the sea as perhaps few men have studied it, neglecting all else. – Joshua Slocum

28. If my ship sails from sight, it doesn’t mean my journey ends, it simply means the river bends. – Enoch Powell

29. I keep sailing on in this middle passage. I am sailing into the wind and the dark. But I am doing my best to keep my boat steady and my sails full. – Arthur Ashe

30. There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. – Kenneth Grahame

31. I was born in the breezes, and I had studied the sea as perhaps few men have studied it, neglecting all else. – Joshua Slocum

32. I keep sailing on in this middle passage. I am sailing into the wind and the dark. But I am doing my best to keep my boat steady and my sails full. – Arthur Ashe

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