Why? or How?
In 1984 my college roomie contacted me to inquire if I wanted to help him with spring prep on his 31' sloop
. I had never been on a sail boat and the only recreation boat I had been on was as a teen on the big power boat
of a friend's parents for a weekend irrc.
Since I had a wood shop I had lots of tools and a car to drive him out to the boat yard. It was all new to me and it was Spring and and something to do with an old friend on the weekend.
So we scraped and polished and varnished and so forth for a few weekends and then he invited me to come with him to sail the boat about 100 miles to its summer mooring
The day of the launch I showed up and off we went. It was all very mysterious and thrilling and I didn't understand the jargon he used nor how he got the thing to sail except down wind
. It was early Spring and we had beautiful weather
and the whole experience was magical... and I had no idea of how he knew where we were. (don't recall
if he had Loran
, but I think he did).
We spent a nite or two aboard and that was also delightful and I loved how compact, robust and well designed everything was on his Dutch built sloop
. I was quite curious now to learn about the whole sailing "thing" which was a blank spot in my own consciousness.
Upon returning to the real world, I headed off to buy books
about sailing and cruising and so forth and devoured them each night. I loved all the jargon, and the techniques for "doing things" aboard and decided I had to begin to learn this stuff.
He had me out later in the summer. We had some very brisk SW winds and I was a bit frightened to be going on deck
to do a sail change and getting to the boat in the small dinghy
and big waves was a challenge! But I loved it all.
In late Fall he called and asked me if I wanted to go into a partnership
on a big boat with him. It was 48' and made by the same company as his. More than he could afford and so he wanted a partner. We drove up to see the boat on the hard
. WOW what a magnificent yacht! and huge inside and on deck
. This was a real offshore
world cruisier. He said he would teach me everything and I could convert (with my woodwork skills) the two fore peak cabins into a second owner's cabin
. I agreed with some trepidation as to his homemaking skills as I had known him as a lazy roommate in college.
I then launched into a full court press with my reading and in the Spring I took the Colgate Learn to Sail course as the negotiations were proceeding. Then when I was all psyched up with my certificate his GF nixed the idea of sharing a boat.
I was crushed and depressed, buit determined to have a boat now. So I went shopping
with a broker for used boats in the low to mid 30s... something I thought I might handle alone.
I didn't know enough about boats then (does one ever?) and I decided to go back to the original broker and see if he had a smaller boat of the same make (Contest). I loved their interiors. He did! I saw the 36 which I decided to purchase
(after a survey) despite it being new.
In Aug 1985 I took possession of the boat I still own today having been on 2 weekend cruises and one 3 day learn to sail course. Needless to say I was petrified of getting into deep trouble when I took her from the dock
. So I got the old roommate to assist me (I asisted him) in moving the boat out to a summer mooring
... where he had his. The rest of the summer I would learn how to sail my boat and he came with me several times.
Now 22 years on I have sailed 10s of thousands of miles on that boat... single
handed her to and from the Caribbean
, lived on her in the Caribe and LIS, and fitted her and refitted her gear
. Hardly anything now is OEM except the mast
, the engine
and the anchor
(though I have added several) having been replaced and upgraded and so forth.
Why? Sailing is the best teacher of life, the best way to escape the hum drum, the best way to be independent and free and self sufficient. What's not to like?