The Book

Sailing Promise: Around the World on a catamaran

“an honest examination of what it really takes to make dreams come true – courage, determination and an unfailing spirit”

George Day, Blue Water Sailing
  • 1993 – San Salvador, Bahamas

Will you marry me… and sail around the world?

Alayne Main was 28 years old with an exciting medical career and minimal sailing experience, but she lived up to her sailing promise. She and her husband quit their jobs, bought a 33-foot catamaran and blithely sailed away!

This true story took place in the early 1990’s, before the Internet, before social media and before many people crossed oceans on catamarans – when the distant ports were remote and undiscovered. However, the challenges are timeless – storms at sea, a collision with a whale and the threat of pirates – and Alayne’s greatest challenge was the emotional turmoil their adventurous and uncertain lifestyle created.

Her relationship deteriorating, Alayne was forced to deal with her fear and understand what drove her to continue sailing across vast unpredictable oceans – with only her husband to turn to.

An honest, deeply moving and wonderfully woven tale of a young woman’s journeys – into herself, her marriage and around the world. Anyone in a partnership – man or woman, sailor or not – will benefit from this book.

Available on Amazon

Sailing Promise is the one book that made our minds up for us, and made us think, “we can do this

Ali and Pat Schulte, S/V Bumfuzzle

1995 – Hanish Islands, Yemen


We quit our jobs, bought a catamaran, outfitted and set off around the world, all within five months. I wouldn’t recommend this approach for everyone, but three and a half years later we returned as circumnavigators – and still married.

This story shares the full experience of my husband and I sailing around the world, from my perspective. For me, the voyage was a journey of discovery in more ways than one. It was a physical journey: exploring the vast oceans, distant lands, people and wildlife sharing our planet, and the forces of nature that control it. This was what I expected when I agreed to such an adventurous trip.

More important were the things I didn’t anticipate. I didn’t expect to be so afraid and I hadn’t predicted an emotional journey into my relationship. But as my husband and I struggled to face the challenges together, I had no choice.

Ultimately I was forced to undertake a personal journey into my soul – to question who I was – so that I could understand what drove me to continue sailing. This was the toughest part of the entire voyage, but I believe it has given me a perspective and a confidence to last a lifetime.

Lastly, almost unbeknownst to me at the time, I went on a philosophical journey that challenged my traditional perspective of the world.

One of the greatest rewards of traveling is the chance to be an observer; to note the physical and cultural differences and similarities to life back home. I couldn’t help but compare the geological history of the sharp volcanic peaks to the eroded sand atolls, or notice the present-day influence of ancient seafarers who sailed the same waters. I marveled in the subtle changes, such as the evolving shape of locally-baked bread as we sailed from country to country.

Yet as the physical scenery changed in front of my eyes, so did I. This interested me even more – the emotional experience. When I’d read similar adventures before we left, I was constantly left asking the same questions: Did you ever argue with your husband? Weren’t you ever scared? What did you feel when you returned home? What was it really like?

This is what I’ve tried to capture. With the help of my journal, I have recounted the experience as it happened. The result is a multidimensional journey where the observer, the traveler, is changing along with the landscape. I’ll take you through the troughs and crests of the vast oceans, as well as the dark, jungle-clogged valleys and the sunlit peaks of my emotional journey.

This is an adventure in every sense. A story that I believe both men and women, sailors or not, will enjoy and benefit from.

“This is an unusual book, written with remarkable candor. It will appeal to all contemplating long distance cruising in small boats.””

Nigel Calder – author of Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual
  • 1994 – Friday Island, Australia

“Two adventures intertwine in this book, taking us through territory that is both exciting and real.  Two people, young and naïve, sail around the world in a small boat.  They don’t hang out in jet set destinations, but go places that most would consider not only remote, but also dangerous.  They’re ill prepared, but have what it takes to survive and enjoy what they find along the way—except maybe themselves.  Crossing oceans, evading pirates, dealing with illness in third world areas, and battling storms are all tough enough.  But when you and your spouse are doing this while living together in a small bouncing precarious space, often seeing no one else for days, you discover adventures of a deeper sort.  You go where you haven’t gone before, but within your own psyche.  Alayne Main takes us there too, with refreshing candor, sharing the struggle and victory of learning who you are and what you want.  These two adventures take you back and forth from abstract to concrete, and the experience is entertaining, exciting, thought provoking, and inspiring.”

Tom Neale – author of All In The Same Boat

“a great lesson on the importance of taking control of one’s own attitude”

Tania Aebi, circumnavigator and author “Maiden Voyage”
  • 1993 – Pacific Ocean between the Galapagos, Peru and the Marquesas, French Polynesia

“Sailing Promise is the wonderfully engrossing and very honest story of a young couple negotiating the treacherous reefs and shoals of the world’s oceans – as well as their own marriage. You’ll love it!”

Diane Stuemer – author of The Voyage of the Northern Magic

“When Alayne speaks about going cruising, women (and men) listen… she describes what it’s really like to set sail into the unknown with a determined spouse.”

Doris Colgate – founder of National Women’s Sailing Association

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