Why the handle? Because it is time in my life to do exactly that. I imagine that like many in this fascinating forum, I have spent most of my life so far intentionally not
drifting. You know the drill: get good grades so you can go to college; do well in college so you can go to grad school
; do well in grad school
so you can get into a good career, so you can have a prosperous life and give your kids
start (and, “rinse, and repeat”). Then, we find ourselves in our 50’s, pretty much having completed this major phase of life and feeling pretty good about ourselves, I might add. The kid’s going to be a fine person, a good citizen, a caring and loving spouse and parent.
But, other things begin happening, too. The old career’s just not as fascinating as it used to be. Dear friends, long known and loved, get sick and, sadly, too many times, die. One of them without warning, on the first day of his dream vacation
. 150 miles into his first well-earned retirement
trip, another felt the first symptoms of the cancer that a year later would kill him. Yet another is fighting his battle, now, having spent most of his life giving to others and taking almost nothing for himself.
You have all heard (and probably quoted) that Mark Twain saying about the only things regretted are those you didn’t do. As the relatively younger couple among our group of friends and colleagues, this convergence of events
got us thinking, and talking.
We look at each other and the conversation went something like:
“Well, so what do we do about it all?”
“Do you think we could do some things we want? If we do, we better get on with it.”
“Yeah, sounds good.”
“How ‘bout traveling? We’ve got this long list of places and things we want to see.”
“It’ll take us years to save up to do all that.”
“We could (tentatively suggesting), uh, sail it?”
“You mean, like, sell our house, buy a boat, and just go from place to place like a couple of high-plains drifters?”
“I like it.”
That’s the “why”.
Although both of us have been around the water
and boats most of our lives, we really hadn’t done all that much sailing, and certainly not anything of this magnitude. Neah Bay to Cabo (and beyond) is a little more challenging that a day sail on Puget Sound
. So, over the last year we’ve been learning
, reading, taking classes
. Talking to former cruisers (fortunately, there’s quite a few around here), perusing web sites, going to boat shows. Reading books
, taking demo sails
, comparing features, checking off, writing off, and writing in.
Part of us is also, to be honest, a bit concerned -- can we really do this? Is my older brother right when he looks at me like I’ve grown a third ear on the end of my nose? Are we f***ing delusional?
Might be. On the other hand, at the risk of offending a few around here, I also ran into the Bumfuzzle site awhile ago. If they can do, we can do it. No offense to Pat and Ali, but I already know how to splice, and I already know that unconnected little wires coming off of engines are bad things and should be connected to their proper place, quickly.
When we first started, I’ll admit to being really quite taken with several beautiful boats. I recall
a Malo, a Waterline, an Island Packet
, a Valiant, an H-R. It is lots of fun to have 25 knot wind
and green water
coming over the lee rail. But, to do that for two to three weeks? Will I really need to sleep with a lee cloth? The idea of going on a wet, pitching foredeck to wrestle with a sail at night is a bit scary. I’m just not quite as light and nimble on my feet, as I was when I was 25. Then, my wife started asking questions about catamarans. Frankly, I had never even considered them, but after doing some reading and taking an afternoon sail on a 35’ Tobago
, I was sold. Not as exciting, to be sure, but we’re looking at RV’ing, not racing
. Besides, “Gentlemen don’t sail to windward.” At least, we try not to.
New or Used?
Always a dilemma, for all the usual reasons. We decided to go with new. Sure, it will cost more, up front, but we get what we want, how we want, and with at least some reasonable expectation of fewer problems in the first several years after shakedown. The less time spend fixing things is more time spent enjoying the drifting.
The other part of this decision is being able to take advantage of emerging technologies. We really like the diesel-electric hybrid idea. I’m all for the idea of less maintenance
, quieter motoring, and (hopefully) less fuel consumption
. While we are taking somewhat of a leap-of-faith, we decided to put our money
down on a Lagoon 420
. Ours will be number 70-something. Since this is the second generation of their hybrids and they will have had 70 or so of this model come before to learn about and resolve problems, we are trusting that Lagoon
will have it down by the time ours goes down the line. I know that can’t be guaranteed, but I also have to trust that a company as large as Groupe Beneteau
has the resources and smarts not to foolishly invest so much of their resources into a white elephant. We know, as do they, that word of a major problem travels fast in the yachting community. While I won’t go so far as to say that they are betting the company on this technology, they are very much betting a large chunk of it. I’ll take the odds in favor of success.
I guess that’s about it as far an introduction
is concerned. I would like to add this, though: as a long-time lurker here, I’ve already learned a great deal and I thank you all for that. I know I’m going to have many, many more questions and I thank you in advance for your patience, wisdom and indulgence. I hope I will be able to return at least a bit of it, in kind.