Lots of time on the water
as a child on fishing
trips w/ Dad, local & Baja
. Love of ocean implanted there.
As a teen, went out a couple of times on a friend's Catalina 30
for a race
& a daysail. Completely transfixed by the wind
driving the boat along & no motor
chugging away. Amazing. The seed was planted there.
In late twenties, used to drive along a road overlooking the local bay & look down on the little sailboats plying their way along with envy. Someday,
Early thirties, Helping a friend move possessions into a storage
space: he gave me his sailing books
. Among them was Eric Hiscock's
Cruising Adventures: Wandering Under Sail, Sou'West in Wanderer IV,
and Come Aboard
, subtitled "Three fascinating books
by the most accomplished cruising yachtman of the century." I also took home Bob Bond's Handbook of Sailing
The combination of Hiscock's narrative (especially his early solo cruising up the west coast
, across the Irish Sea, & back to the Solent, full of his admissions of mistakes
, blunders, and continued love of the whole enterprise) and Bond's sailing primer compelled me forward:
Mid-thirties, started crewing
on a friend's Catalina
34 across the San Pedro Channel to Catalina Island
about systems, a little provisioning
, & the whole "weekending as practice for short cruising" teaching level. SCUBA
dived off the friend's boat a lot. I ached for my own boat.
During the same period I bolted a trailer hitch on my car and bought a 14' wooden sailing dinghy
(anyone remember the Enterprise?). Bob Bond taught me in my living room, & I practiced on the local bay. Spills & thrills.
Became a regular Saturday denizen at the local Barnes & Noble, devouring everything I could find about cruising (I knew that was where I was headed), from Lin and Larry Pardey
to Steve Dashew (there's
a contrast!), Beth Leonard to Nigel Calder. Also started reading everything on the 'net: other people's logs
, Sailnet, Cruiser's Forum, ad infinitum
. In particular, I'm indebted to both Jeff Halpern
and Jack Tyler
for providing their ample wisdom & advice.
The first keelboat was a very beaten Catalina
22 on a trailer, which I summer-slipped. It took me across the San Pedro Channel to Catalina Island
, and up the coast to the other Channel Islands on a two-week camping mini-cruise. Lots of mistakes
, lots of learning, grinning with every spray slap in the face & tangled mainsheet. Wrestling down the hanked-on jib
on a pitching foredeck in a Small Craft Advisory while beating into weather
was glorious (rigged a downhaul the next day). Sewed up the UV-rotted jib
that evening at anchor
. Practiced my first tentative anchoring
I've owned my first coastal cruiser, a very clean Catalina 30
MkII, for a year, and those longer legs will take me to the central California
coast & back to my childhood fishing grounds, Baja California
(and beyond). This little yacht will take me to retirement
in fifteen years; then, I'll decide whether to stay w/ a coastal cruiser and knock around the west coast
, or trade
up & go Mexico
& Milk Run to the Pacific.
As Louis Armstrong sang: "What a wonderful life!"