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Old 14-04-2006, 12:51   #31
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Perhaps a common story - the parting of ways

I have always loved the water. As a teenager growing up near the Connecticut River in eastern Vermont, I built a Huck Finn-style live-aboard raft with a friend on which we’d take annual week-long trips down the river. In addition to the raft, we had a canoe that we would even use to paddle the seven miles downriver to the drive-in movie theater, camping overnight midway back to the hometown.

Twenty years later, I discovered open water paddling along the shores of my new backyard, Lake Champlain, Vermont. My love of the water eventually led to the founding of a sea kayak touring business, PaddleWays, through which I lead kayaking trips on Lake Champlain, the Maine coast, and the Caribbean coast of Mexico and Belize.

My love of sailing grew out of the thrills I found aboard a beach cat. If the winds were light, I’d paddle. If there was a blow, I’d be double-trapped out on my 20 ft Nacra 6.0na catamaran, flying a hull at 20+ knots.

In 2000, my wife and I decided that we’d like to take our boys sailing for a year once they reached the ages of ten and twelve (2005). We laid out a plan and the whole family was excited and involved (or so I thought). My older son would often be watching over my shoulder as I regularly searched the pages of yachtworld.com. He’d always be asking, “Are you gonna’ get that one, Dad?”

As it turned out, my wife admitted years later that her real goal was, “to be rich! really rich!” I was accused of being a head-in-the-clouds “dreamer” who was only interested in the next adventure.
“What about financial security?”

“What about the addition on the home?”

“What about . . . ?”



The marriage ended in the year that we were to set sail. My sons were devastated by what they perceived as the many dreams that would never come true. My ex-wife has since relocated to a six-bedroom trophy home with the new partner, the president of the company she works for. I decided that, while I may not be able to head south as we’d originally planned, I could still buy the boat and offer my sons (and me) a piece of what we’d set out to do.

In the Spring of 2005, I bought Raven, a Pacific Seacraft Crealock 34. A day after the closing, I left Five-Mile Creek on Long Island Sound in Rowayton Connecticut, sailed to the East River, rounded Manhattan, and headed up the Hudson River and Champlain Canal to Lake Champlain. Raven has been my home since.

Yes, those of you who are familiar with the geography of the area will know that Vermont, at just shy of 45 degrees north latitude, gets pretty darned cold in the winter. There are four months of the year that I am land-based. (My parenting commitments keep me tied to Burlington for now.) Not wanting to deal with short-term rental housing, I’m building a home on wheels for use during the winter. Gypsy Rose, I’ve been called by land-based friends. I’ve found my bliss. There’s no turning back.

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Old 14-04-2006, 14:40   #32
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I had no conception about sailing until my mid 30s... none whatsoever. The only time I was on a boat was a ferry boat.

I found my way into sailing when a college roomate called me up and asked if I wouldn't help him do his bottom one spring. It was not pleasant work, but I was offered the chance to sail with him on a 100 mile trip to his summer mooring.

I found the experience very compelling. No roads, no signs, no traffic, no noise, just the wind rather mysteriously taking us where we wanted to go.

I found the boat itself marvelously clever in how every little nook and cranny was used and nothing wasteful was done in the design... like silly crown moldings and so forth. And then there was the new language. Heck I spoke English my whole life and I didn't know half the words on the water.

After that little journey I attacked the bookstore and did a little reading and I found myself peering through the key hole in a door to and entire new universe... but one right here on earth. I decided to get that door open and step into this wonderful world.

I have learned so much in the past 20 years, about boats, about parts of boats, about navigation, astronomy, ropes, knots, even sewing and cooking... everyday I dig a little deeper into some bit of knowledge about boats.

Shortly after that first experience I did a learn to sail course and purchased the boat I now sail. I have 10s of thousands of miles under that keel and I still look forward to once again living somewhere not here.

We live in a very unique time. A time where technology makes it very easy (relatively) for one man or women to sail anywhere in the world... and somewhat affordable. One hundred years ago this would be almost impossible. Today, Tanya Aebi does it instead of college.

I, in my wildest dreams could ever imagine that I would sail across the mouth of the Amazon River. Seeing it writen seems like an untruth.. a false statement... yet it is true. How I got there is my journey into the world of sailing.

I intend to close my life that way.... free.... returning to water.
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Old 14-04-2006, 18:30   #33
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Wow has it been That Long?

My Dad bought a boat when I turned 18. 24 years ago. I became a sailing fiend. In the summer I would race 4 to 6 days a week. I read everything about the sea Jack London, Slocum, RL Steneson, RH Dana, anything about sailing. When I wasn't sailing I was dreaming aobut it. I picked my college schedule to maximize my sailing time. Took all classes on Tue Thur so I could sail. I got to be a fairly good hand and was asked along for some ocean races SF to SD, then flew back for SF to Cataling, Another year I did a couple of Cabo races, then Transpac, some deliveries up and down the coast from Mexico. Finally I met some people in La Paz Mexico that were sailing to Tahiti. I hitch hiked on boats across the Pacific to the Marquesas, Tuamotos, Tahiti, Cook Islands, NZ (my favorite) and on to Oz. I lived there for a year and then flew home. I did a little more racing but I realized that I wanted my own boat. Before that I had been happy to let others pick up the tab and have me sail thier boats.

I was 25 years old and my aunt was selling her Freya 39. she was the bank no loan just a nominal down payment, monthly payments and my friend Mark and I would sail around the world. He went home and told his girlfriend "Charlie and I are going to sail around the world."

He has a lovely wife and two kids and I have yet to sail around the world.

Some how I couldn't pull it together without his help. He told me that it was better to work and save money and then buy the boat right before you leave.

So I moved to Montana. I started buying houses and fixing them up and renting them. It took a long time to meet my wife -- Somehow I don't think that my philosophy of retiring till your 65 and then start working went over very well with the fairer sex. Part of our pre nup was that we would go cruising some day. Beth (my wife)said that she wanted to go cruising too but didn't want to sell everything to do it. I agreed Our rentals are working out well. We now have enough $ to not sell everything and go cruising.


A couple of months ago all the planets started to align. Well actually they have been aligning for a long time I jsut didn't notice.

Its funny how reality is different than dreams.

Even before I had kids I wanted to spend alot of time with them (now that I have an 8 and 9 year old I'm not so sure it's a good idea) . Now one of the kids is home schooling and I realized why don't we just home school them both in lets say -- Mexico. Beth wasn't so sure about it. Cruising was still a far off dream. Or maybe only a dream.

Its funny what a long wet winter will do to a person. I started showing pictures of Mexico to Beth and she has warmed to the idea. She's agreed to buy an Islander 36 and we'll sail it down to Mexico. From there I hope that she'll like it enough to buy a bigger boat and to sail to further ports.

This dream started 24 years ago and I guess it was dormant for a long time. Now with my Dad dying of cancer and life looking a lot less -- secure I think it is time to move forward. I just want to make sure that Beth and the kids are on the same page. I think that a few months in Mexico will get us there.

Charlie
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Old 14-04-2006, 19:54   #34
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In 20 years, your children will thank you. As I have mentioned before, I know quite a few people who grew up on boats, and all say that the education they received far surpassed anything that they had experienced before they moved aboard, or after their return. The immersion in foreign culture, the diversity of lifestyle, and the necessary responsibility of living aboard a boat will make them far better people IMHO. My epiphany did not happen only once, but it took a couple of times for me to truly get it.
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Old 14-04-2006, 21:32   #35
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Hi kai:

Its funny how something can tell you something over and over and it takes a long time to hear it. Thats how I feel about sailing. It's been in the background for so long that I didn't realize that it is time.

Are you going to Oakland Strictly Sail? I might be down there on Thursday. If I go lets hook up. I'll buy you a beer.

Charlie
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Old 14-04-2006, 21:43   #36
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Hey Charlie.

Maybe next year. You, me & Kai could all hook up. And we all meet up at the Oakland Strictly Sail.
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Old 14-04-2006, 21:46   #37
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Charlie,I will be there wed-sat. I will PM you.
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Old 15-04-2006, 09:51   #38
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Sounds Good

Captain K:

Sounds like fun. I'm not the party animal that I used to be but a beer with some good sailors sounds good.


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Old 15-04-2006, 13:39   #39
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Well Charlie.

I have toned down on drinking, quite a bit since my "younger" years.

So you're really not alone in that department!!
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Old 15-04-2006, 17:26   #40
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My first (and greatest) epiphany

Bootcamp, 1962 in the U.S. Navy. They formed us up and reformed us into what was needed "for the needs of the Navy". One day they marched us (we were seemingly always being marched to somewhere even if only to stand for long periods of time once there) into a bare concrete building. It was entirely empty and had only those type of windows about 12 ft up for light.

We were told to remove all of our clothing and stack them neatly on the "deck" in fron of us, bend over, etc. Slowly down the ranks strolled a doctor making his "inspections". I suddenly noted that if I were to dissappear from the surface of the earth at that moment the only thing left to mark my leaving would be a neat pile of clothes. From my periherial vision I could only see several other members of our company and the thought hit me..."Here I am just another ass_____."

Ever since that incident anytime too much arrogance began to tickle its way into my psyche I would remember that occasion and be brought back to a well placed humility.

There is no such thing as a carreer if one is being payed a salary and can have one's job terminated at the whim of another. After all is said and done it is just a job like any other. No sense dressing the description up by calling it a carreer.

The good news is that one can terminate a job and enter into the real world of cruising, given sufficient motivation and desire.
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Old 16-04-2006, 18:50   #41
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Awesome, Rick. Great post. I couldn't agree more!
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Old 27-04-2006, 19:43   #42
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Hey Rick!!

Did somebody try and scalp ya?

The left side of your head, is really buzzed down low!!
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Old 28-04-2006, 15:36   #43
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Today is the day

Well It is Sat over here in NZ and today is the day that i move onto my boat,man this week has gone fast, i start wk at 3pm today and i have so much to do, I made the wise choice of moving things onto the boat during the week so that was a good move cause i dont have to move much today and can now get the boat ready, I will send you all photos when i get settled and the boat is in the water.

Have a great week and happpy sailing.

Wayne
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Old 28-04-2006, 16:11   #44
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I look forward in seeing those photos, Wayne!!

Enjoy your move!!
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Old 17-05-2006, 19:30   #45
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It's so neat to learn about everyone's unique stories. Thanks to this wireless offshore internet, I can snoop around this site and share with like-minded folk. A cruising buddy calls the "matrix" the '30-year plan' where you're sucked into mortgages and a life of credit where you're not really in control of your destiny. Anyways...
My epiphany was when I started sneaking off on boats when I was married. A good friend and I had decided to get married, not really for romantic love, but to pool resources and try to adapt to the rat race. But those sneaky, long excursions on boats sort of ruined it. Dad had brought me up on boats, so I blame the upbringing. Product design engineering was fun, but sitting in a cubical all day gave me this suffocating feeling that only the boats & outdoors could remedy. Started to develop what the doctor called a "degenerated spine" and was an awful disability with lots of pain. I was living a life in the wrong direction and trying to be something that I wasn't.
While having affairs with boats (mostly my own trimaran), I met Angel, (now my liveaboard cruiser for many years), and fell in love with her. She stole my soul and only gave it back when I took her out sailing. So, screw the rat race. I gave up the house, marriage, stable$$ career for the love of a wily, merciless sailboat! The reality and control of one's own life with full-time liveaboard and solo-cruising/daysailing made more sense. Oddly, after a few years, the pain in my so-called degenerated spine was diminishing. An x-ray showed that the previously fused vertebrae were almost normal (is that possible?) I now feel healthier and more alive. I was in my 20's when I started. Am 35 now and never turning back. A modest income is made aboard the vessel as an artist/marine electrician/race reporter/odd jobber. Life's too short- follow your true path what ever it is!!!
Rebecca
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