Back in the late 80s I began to think about sailing off to the south with a soulmate. I worked on getting my new boat ready for offshore
and live aboard cruising as well as acquiring the skills necessary. It all took time... about 6 years or so from when I purchased the boat as a green as one could be. I was single
and with no children
at the time having divorced at the same time. That there wife was not the sailing soulmate among other mis matches. We learn.
There was no internet
such as we have now... social networking or cruisers forum. I put up a few little ads on local bulletin boards and I think I ran an ad in the back of Cruising World if memory serves me. I got a few responses and one gal from CA actually flew to meet me in ME for a trial by fire at sea! It did not work out for multiple reasons. One of them was that she was intrigued by the idea of sailing off with a man.., but was completely clueless about sailing. One definitely needs a salty gal for this sort of thing... not a romantic one looking to tie a hitch.
I did take one gal from Montreal when I slipped the dock
lines in 91 as part of my delivery
crew... as I was not going to singlehand off to the Caribbean
... not just yet. She was a nice gal, not a sailor, but a good sport and good cook but we didn't really connect beyond friendship. She eventually found work as a cook on some ship in St Maarten.
I met a number of women down in the Caribbean
and several seemed right at the time. One French gal working in a restaurant in Bas Du Fort.. who turned out to have a drug problem.. YUCK. She was a beaut though. Another, a Norwegian woman I met on the quay in English
Harbor when she approached me as I was clearing in in the Dockyard office. She had seen me sail in with two (german) women (I had met in St Maarten) who sat on the deck
doing nothing as I docked at the Slipway. I suppose she was impressed (that I had two women... or that I docked solo?). She then asked me to sail her boat to the Canaries
as she was needing crew. WHOA... A woman with a boat who needed to cross the ocean! We made a date and I said although I didn't think I could leave my own boat... I certainly would have a look see at her boat and help her get the trip together. The boat was recently launched after being stored down there for several years.
Her boat was a Swedish built Forgus 36.. but clearly not ready to make the passage
. And could this woman handle her own boat? Turns out she had bought it with her husband and then divorced and they shared it 50-50. He took it to the Caribbean on his watch and she remained in the Canaries
with her daughter and a job. The boat was damaged in a hurricane
when it was stored. Now it was her watch.. the damaged spar replaced and she wanted to get it back the the Canaries to live aboard (and sail?)
The German ladies departed Shiva in Antigua
and I invited the Norwegian to sail with me to see how she was as a sailor. After all she was intending to sail her boat across the Atlantic. She was not much of a sailor... but she could tie knots... and sew and cook. I think she could learn because she loved the idea and she was not afraid to do work on a boat. We had an affair and fell for me pretty hard. I could not see a future with her and her teenage daughter in the Canaries on her boat... and what would I do with Shiva? I got a mate to captain
her boat with her back to Las Palmas
and gave her my SSB radio
which I installed so we could keep in touch. She didn't do too well on the crossing apparently... seasick and not getting on with the Captain
. She implored me to visit her in the Canaries and so during hurricane
season I sailed Shiva to CT and flew off to Spain
and spend 4 months with her living on her boat and cruising the Canaries. We even got an apartment so her daughter could live with her as the boat was a bit small for a 3 including a teenager. We had fun... but I wanted to return to Shiva and the Caribbean. I did. A few weeks later she flew to NY and wanted to sail with me south. We did.
After some time she flew back to Spain
because she had a daughter to be mother to. She found a local guy and forgot about me and I think. I was in Italy
the next Hurricane season and decided to fly to the Canaries to visit her. She still had the boat the boyfriend - 15 yrs younger and was really a mess... now drinking and smoking. By the time I left she almost had a nervous breakdown and her family
asked me to get her on a plane back to Oslo. I did. Not a happy ending for us. I think her daughter returned with her and she broke off with the guy and I don't know the fate of Necesse, her boat.
I eventually sailed back to NE met a landlubber lady and gave up the dream. We still have Shiva and I essentially singlehand with lovely company (who too often gets seasick and complains... too much tipping... too much smell of diesel
fumes... too much wind
... too hot... too cold... waves too big... other boats too close and so on. Life aboard with a land lubber. She's not interested in learning
to sail... at all.
Such is life.