The only boats I had ever been on was a few ferries, some large and some small. I grew up on Long Island
and lived most of my life on Manhattan Island... and then my room mate from college who I had maintained some contact with asked me to help him work on spring prep for a 31' sailboat he had bought a few years earlier.
I had tools, since I had a woodshop, a car and the work was an excuse to get out of town on the weekend. So I grinded and so forth; you all know the routine.
When it was ready for launching a few days later he asked me if I wanted to accompany him and the 100 mile journey from the winter storage
in New Rochelle to his summer morning in Dering Harbor, LI.
I said, count me in as I was curious how that boat would be on such a long journey and how do the sails
work and how do you know where to go. It was all new stuff, and I was quite curious.
We had a 2 day sail as I recall
, might have been three. I found the experience enchanting and mysterious and knew that sailing was something to learn and if you had a boat and the skill it could be a wonderful thing.
But the idea of starting from scratch in mylate 30s seemed daunting.
In the late winter same friend wanted me to drive him to CT to see a yacht for sale
. Same make as his, but a 48' version. Another excuse for a weekend jaunt and I agreed.
The boat was nothting short of magnificent and seemed huge compared to the 31. Couldn't imagine one person running that boat, but could see how it could take one around the world or to anyplace in thrilling comfort. The warm teak interior
was incredibly seductive.
On the way home he asked me to go into the boat in a partnership
and he would teach me everything I needed to know and I would rebuild
the foward twins cabins in the V into a second large owner's suite. All very doable. I agreed and began reading everything I could about sailing, sailboats, cruising, repairs
and began a library.
Weeks passed and we chatted about it and he began to negotiate with the seller. As Spring arrived I took a 3 day learn to sail course and then he dropped the bomb, His girlfriend didn't want to "share" a boat with anyone.
What to do? I was psyched for the journey. I decided now to go for it on my own. Called some brokers and began looking. What did I know? Little and most of the boats shown were nothing compared to either of the two sailboats I knew the 31 and the 48 Contest. Finally I called the Contest broker and asked him if he had something small for me. He laughed because he new I was a green as can be. 2 weekends on the 31 and a 3 days learn to sail course and I was looking for a yacht.
He offered me the boat I now own, a 36s which someone had ordered and backed out because he couldn't get financing
or something. I asked my friend and he said it was a good boat, I got a surveyor
he suggested and he gave it thumbs up but said it needed lots in order to go offshore
. It was a new boat with a basic B&G instrument package.
I purchased the boat in late summer and was petrified to move it from the dockside. Boy did I have lots to learn.
But learn I did. Friend helped me deliver it to a summer mooring
out in Dering Harbor, a few hundred feet from his. he sailed with me a half dozen times, but of course wanted to sail his own boat. So now I was forced to learn quickly and take it rather seriously. I intended to go offshore
one day and I did.
I sailed that boat, rain, sun even snow. I outfitted and tricked out the boat with everything, electronics
, auto pilot, heat. Bit by bit slowing making Shiva into a well found off shore yacht. 5 years after I bought her I sailed to Maine
with a overnighter from Ptown to Boothbay. And then in 91 we did the Marion Bermuda
. It was rough race
with a gale in the stream. The boat did better than the crew, but now I was ready to cruise
In the fall I set off for 3 years live aboard and cruising in the Caribe. I did a delivery
from CT to Brazil
, sailed in the Canaries
and helped on several other deliveries to and from the Caribe.
I am completely comfortable on Shiva and other well found vessels and always learning
something and never forgetting how unforgiving the sea can be, but how giving sailing has been to me.
I still have Shiva, and her original B&G though almost everything else on board had been changed and upgraded one or even twice. Unless I win the lotto, I be going down with her to the final curtain.
I can't imagine how I lived without sailing and I can't imagine how I could live on without it now.