Sailboat Tattoo Meaning, Design & Ideas

When it’s that certain time of the season and you look out on the waters, you are bound to see people sailing their boats. These days, seeing sailboats on the water lets us know it is time to come outside and enjoy the weather, however, this isn’t always the case. Some sailboats are large and are used to sail in any weather.

They are able to navigate storms and push through rough weather. The sailboat can represent the serene and also the storm. Because they are able to symbolize many ideas and traits, you will see a lot of sailboat tattoos out there.

Sailboats are not just dainty two-man boats. They can also be giant works of art that take a whole crew to navigate. Whether you are looking for a mid-day sail on the lake or to navigate the rough waters of the sea, the sailboat is your answer. Not only are they used today but they were used by everyone before the motorized boat was created. There are lots of stories and lore attached to the sailboat and when you find out about these tales, it might make you consider getting yourself a sailboat tattoo.

In this post, we are going to review some of the history surrounding the sailboat. Then we will talk about the meaning of the sailboat tattoo and what it means to those who decided to have the sailboat immortalized on their body. Between the stories and symbolism of the sailboat, you will have a really fascinating tattoo that you can be proud of. We will also talk about some of the variations of the sailboat tattoo.

History of the Sailboat

When humans figured out how to catch wind with material to make a boat move, there was no looking back. For the earliest rafts and boats, animal skins were used for sails. In ancient Egypt, the people made these sails by using mats and weaving reeds into them. That being said, the Egyptians were the first to create sails made of cloth and this was around 3300 BC.

The great Phoenicians sailed with cloth sails as well. Over the years, many materials have been used to create sails including flax, jute, hemp and ramie. Flax was the main material used but was replaced by cotton as the processing of cotton became easier. The cotton sail got a big push in popularity as they used it on a yacht from the United States called America for a race. The US yacht sailed around the Isle of Wight off the coast of England and beat 14 British sailboats.

The first sailboats in the water started as simple rafts and single logs. As time and learning progressed, more intricate logs started being used. Much of this was moved along by the military but also by merchant sailors who were trading extensively throughout the Mediterranean Sea. While there were daysailers made for men who used them for recreation and fishing, there were also smaller duplicates of these ships called cutters and schooners.

Naval architecture started to take place around 1900 and that is when more efficient hulls and other parts of the boat were built to make for a fast and efficient boat. Aerodynamics have also been a focus since those days and now these sailboats can move extremely fast.

Sailboat Tattoo Meaning

Now that you have a little history of sailboats and how their sails were created, let’s move into the stuff you’ve been curious about. What does the sailboat tattoo mean?

That’s not a clear answer as the image means something different to each person. However, there are some noted symbolic meanings that we will talk about. For those who don’t follow those meanings, the sailboat might have a nostalgic meaning to them. Maybe their family had a sailboat and the tattoo reminds them of better and carefree times. The person with the sailboat tattoo might also have a passion for sailing. These are all great reasons to get your very own sailboat tattoo.

Sailing can also represent a spiritual voyage so someone with that sailboat tattoo might be heading towards their own enlightenment. Tattoos are a great way to keep things in perspective and remember what your goals were. In that same realm, sailing also symbolizes exploration, adventure and new beginnings. Your spiritual journey will be an adventure and it won’t come easy. When we are trying to figure things out in our lives, it doesn’t always come easy. We might be going through hard times. In terms of sailing, we are heading right into the storm or are already in it.

The sailboat also has symbolism for those who are actually on the water a great deal. Back in the day, people would get these nautical tattoos to represent their place in the world or what they were interested in. Sailor Jerry’s tattoos included the ship and other nautical themes. They were important for the sailor and many of those tattoos are still being inked today. They may not be for the same reasons but there is respect involved for our history of sailors.

Sailboat Tattoo Variations

There are many variations of the sailboat tattoo and many symbols that can be added to the tattoo to enhance the symbolism. Below are a few examples of sailboat tattoos and the imagery that might be tacked on to it.

Traditional Sailboat Tattoo

Traditional sailboats or Sailor Jerry ships are very popular tattoos among that style of tattooing. This tattoo might symbolize the lifestyle of the person wearing that tattoo. It is also said that a ship with full sails was told the story of a sailor’s trip around Cape Horn. Cape Horn is the area of the ocean where the Pacific and Atlantic meet.

Sailboat and Lighthouse Tattoo

The sailboat and lighthouse tattoo was one that symbolized safety at sea. The lighthouse was supposed to be a symbol that protected against your ship crashing into the rocks. It was also said to symbolize shelter and home.

Sailboat and Compass Tattoo

The sailboat and compass tattoo was a symbol of navigation for the sailor. The compass represents a sailor’s ability to always find his way back home. Not all sailors were lucky enough to make it back to their families so any symbol that brought good luck was a welcome symbol.

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