Just go for it!
Sam Davies has just completed the Rolex Fastnet Race, her first high profile offshore race since her circumnavigation in the Vendee Globe. She is one of the rising stars of world yachting, her performance in the non-stop solo round the world race was nothing short of brilliant. Sam came fourth in a stellar cast of thirty of the world’s finest solo sailors. Sam is not exactly Amazonian; she is very fit but petite, living proof that you don’t need to be built like a gorilla to sail. What Sam lacks in brawn, she makes up for in brains. She is tactically aware and has learned to replace brut strength with technique.
“You can be useful on a boat even if you don’t know very much, if you watch and learn and take things in quickly. On a big offshore boat, some jobs are not too complicated; they are easy to learn. You needn’t have sailed or your life to do that job, if you focus on doing your job, you will do it well and get recognized for it and you will get more opportunities to go sailing, perhaps on better boats. Also, once you are good at doing your job, it becomes automatic and you can look around and understand more about the other jobs on the boat.
It is important to be physically fit but I rather go sailing to do this than go to the gym, it is much more fun! But I would recommend exercises that improve your core stability, this is important to avoid getting injured; there is a lot of twisting and turning on a boat and that can lead to injury.
Correct clothing is always important and I would recommend good sailing gloves, they protect your hands but also give you far more grip. Also knee pads are a good idea, there is a lot of climbing over decks and kneepads are a good way of preventing injury.
I have been sailing all my life, since I was one year old but it is not essential, my partner in past transtlantic races has been Jeanne Gregoire and she did not start sailing until she was 18 or so. If you want to get into sailing, my advice is - Go for it!