I was a Colorado farm kid who always dreamed of going to sea. my father always had books lying around with pictures of boats designed by Lyle Hess and Perry. Epic adventure tales from the likes of Robin Knox Johnston, Joshua Slocum, and Eric Hiscock. I read Tania Aebi’s Maiden Voyage over and over and over again. It was no wonder that when the opportunity to own a blue water Sailboat presented itself I jumped into it without looking where I was jumping… All I can say is thanks Dad! Now we both are shackled to that demanding beast called a boat. here is a post from 4 years ago when living on a little boat was a new experience. nothing has changed except my willingness to break out a saw and modify the boat to make it more comfy to live on rather than do without a comfort.
Moving from a rural existence to one on a Sailboat is one that tries the imagination. from having ample room for every tool and toy, to having to be very selective about what you have and winnowing those things down to what you actually use or will use, is a bit of a process. leaping from there to trying to figure out just how to do it, and have it be an enjoyable experience without feeling as if your doing without well its just not for everyone.
Working from my little floating suitcase here in Florida things get a little cramped and not always so convenient. the drive to work is longer than necessary. the morning rituals take a bit longer. Having to climb out of a boat at low tide with camera gear and other stuff in one arm while using the other to lug myself over the small expanse of sea water and onto the safety of the dock can be a bit unnerving… The hardest part is using the small space to the best of its ability and cleaning up from one task so the space can be used for another. Arranging the boat so that things needed while not at dock can be fast accessed while underway can be tricky. I leave before the sun’s up and most often return after it’s set.I’m tired from a day in the hot sun. I am not always up to the constant cleaning and rearranging. It doesn’t take long for the boat to become more like a catch all dumping ground of gear a lot like a tool shed. It is during these times I wonder just what in the world I signed up for chasing this little dream of mine.
However! Monday rolls around and things return to their proper spots, the decks are cleared for action. Everything gets stowed and the little Elan gets to leave the dock. she leaps thru the waves a small boat that like a terrier seems to not know its all that small. the thrills are back, the learning begins again. The near misses, the adrenaline spikes, the satisfaction of having things work out and the confidence that comes from tackling one new challenge after another, I have to say is truly addicting. The little boat that was for the last five days just a way too tiny apartment becomes a freedom machine that seems capable of achieving everything I’m able to dream up for it. or more precisely only limited by what my imagination and skills really are.
the Bahamas are a short hop away. For a newbie like me it seems like it could be on the far side of the planet. Im thinking a few night sails and a better understanding of chart reading and a few more articles of terminal gear will be needed before its tried, but tried it will be. but so will singlehanding, anchoring out, and sailing outside of the sight of land, and graduating to living on the hook. There is a whole host of other skill building adventures to look forward to. Hell, two weeks ago hailing the bridges and other boats on the VHF radio was a big step! I’m learning as fast as I can.
I’m hooked! what can I say? My imagination and lust for sailing gets fueled by the daring do of those around me. People from other parts of the world who have made the trek here. Their stories, their preparations for future adventures, their willingness to lend their knowledge, and a helping hand to a guy like me makes me feel like a fledgling member. but a member all the same of this fraternity of dreamers and adventurers called Cruisers.