Close indeed. Our snow is in Sherwood Park. I'm completely done with winter....shoveled a path around the boat
yesterday so I don't have to wait until July to get at it! I've spent the last four years easing the family into the sailing world, following sage advice
from my first sailing instructor. So far so good.
We spent year one literally just hanging out on the boat at Gull Lake, anchored. Didn't move at all. Then year two we did the same but added a few picnics on board and a few very short motoring trips. Year three we took the picnics "offshore" and motored for significant periods touring the lake. Near the end of that season I unfurled the headsail for the first time for everyone for a lazy downwind drift. No heel. Year four (last year) we warmed back up with some motoring but day one the sails
were hoisted. Light winds, controlled sailing. By the end of last summer we were on Wabamun under full sail, heeled right over and nobody was freaking out. Success!
It may seem a painfully slow progression but remember the kids
ages. Last year was the first time I felt confident in them should anything happen. I'm fortunate that the youngest happens to be a fish
, loves the water
and is capable when immersed.
The sabbatical plan hinges on one thing really - we can't do it until my mother in law has passed on. Now, don't get me wrong....we love her and hope she lives another 40 years. Truly we do. She is in absolutely perfect health
and is a big part of our family life (she's even part of our childcare solution two days a week). We just know the trip is not something our family would survive with her along and there is no way we could leave her for a year. Especially not after all she's done for us. She's just turned 80 and despite a quadruple bypass ten years ago is as spry as us almost half her age.
For me the trip gives me something to plan for, to work
towards, to save for and to prepare for. All the while getting water
under the family. The plan for this summer is many extended weekenders (my wife gets nine weeks off in the summer - teacher at MacEwan). We've yet to overnight but that's this years' fun. Depending how things go we might dump the ballast ranks and drag the boat to Kootenay Lake. We have friends there so dealing with the tow vehicle and trailer
is a piece of cake. Likely not much of a sailing lake but a gorgeous place to motor
Next year we'll take our little boat back to the salt water
we bought her off of and explore Desolation Sound (or Victoria-Saltspring to see family instead but I'd really rather head
up to Comox and get into the warmer "kids, come play in me" waters in DS).
We've got a friend that charters a cat every year so we'll join them likely in the late winter of 2020 which is also when the final "okay, we're going to do this" should come from the wife. Then it's a matter of when we can. She's on board with the plan now....in fact she is the one that asked me a year and a half ago what it would take to do it. After first taking a screenshot of her message I started the conversation - and the reading.
The only criteria that has surfaced thus far for our cruising boat is three cabins so the girls can each have their space. Early indicators were that it might need to be a cat but after heeling everything over last summer I think a monohull
is definitely viable too still.