I grew up on the water. I had my first rowboat at age seven, my first sailboat at 11, and my first cruising boat—well, sort of, a Sea Sprite 22—at 17.
By the time I was 21 I had spent thousands of hours on the water, including plenty of sailing when it was really honking. I thought I was a pretty smooth operator around the water. And maybe I was.
But here's the thing. All of that sailing, with the exception of a few short forays in calm weather, was within the reef that encircles Bermuda, my home. Result: I knew diddly-squat about sailing offshore. And what's different about offshore, you ask?