I'm going to go against my better judgment and post our wannabe story.
About 31 years ago, having never stepped foot aboard a sailboat, I bought and read a Hal Roth book, "After 11,000 Miles
." When I finished it I handed it to my husband of 2 years and said "I want to do this." He read it and said "I want to do it too." The dream was born.
At the time my husband was in the Navy
, we were young and had 3 children
to support (from previous marriages) so this was a l-o-n-g range
plan. But our mindset towards our lives changed and we started making decisions based on the long range goal. We learned to sail a year later, spent time playing with the 14' Lidos and Capris at the Naval sailing club, bought our first boat 2 years after that and have had a love affair with sailing ever since.
When my husband retired from the Navy
in 1993, which is the time we had always thought we would do it, we had 1 child in college and the real estate market in CA had collapsed so we were upside down on our house. We couldn't have sold it if we had wanted to. Derailment #1. My husband went back to college and started a new career in education.
Since then we have had grandchildren come along. Our daughter, who has a disabling illness, has gotten a divorce and is struggling as a single
mom raising two kids
alone. We help, a lot.
Have we ever stopped wanting to go cruising? Well, maybe once or twice, briefly, but not really. The dream has changed. My husband is 62 and I am 58 now, and we still have a few years to work. We no longer want to go around the world. The idea of weeks at sea doesn't even really appeal to me any more. I've lived at anchor
for months at a time and have no problem with that idea, but want to be able to put my feet on terra firma on a more frequent basis. Coastal cruising and island hopping in the Caribbean
would be more than sufficient. My husband's family
lives in Barbados
. I can easily see myself just parked there for months at a time. (Does that qualify as cruising??) And we're not saying we're going to do it forever, we just want to say that we finally did it.
But in the meantime, we have owned many sailboats. We have rescued several derelicts and rebuilt them stem to stern. We have spent a total of around 5 years living aboard
several of them. My husband taught sailing at the Naval Academy and cruised to Bermuda
with the midshipman every summer. We have used our sailboats to entertain naval officers from several other countries when my husband was attached to a navy ship that was an "ambassador ship" in Pearl Harbor.
So....are we still wannabes? I suppose when it comes to the complete severing of the docklines and sailing off into the sunset forever, we are. But I see how much we've experienced and what we've learned since we first picked up that book 31 years ago, how many beautiful nights we've spent at anchor
, how many cockpit
hours shared with friends, memories we've made with our kids and grandkids, landfalls in new places even if they weren't an ocean away. We've been sailors, and cruisers all along, in our own way. I sure do hope we sever those docklines someday. But no way will I feel any sense of "failure" if we don't.
There are a lot of different ways to be cruisers. Is someone less of a cruiser because they only cruise
the Great Lakes
, or the Chesapeake Bay
? Because their cruise only lasted a year instead of a whole lifetime? Or they only cruise part of each year?
We've made choices along the way to fulfill obligations to family
or take advantage of opportunities and we have no regrets. And we have had an absolute blast on boats the whole while. And the oceans aren't going anywhere. (According to Al Gore they're getting bigger, right?) Good Lord willing we'll get out there someday.