- About BlackHeron
- Vessel Make/ model
- Hallberg-Rassy Rasmus 35
- Vessel Name
- Barry Duckworth
- Summering on the Chesapeake
- Retired Sailing Bum (former commercial electrician/foreman)
- Sailing, cruising, DIY boat repair, heavy weather fun-fun!
- I started sailing as a kid on a Paceship Mouette 19. I was a member of the UW Madison Hoofer Sailing club but got out of sailing as a busy work career made getting out with the Hoofers too difficult due to living out of town.
A few years back my wife and I decided to get back into it bigtime with the intention of buying a boat and living on it full time and retiring early. (HER idea -not just mine. She came at me with it out of the blue -woohoo!)
We joined a sailing club/school here in Chicago called 3rd Coast Cruising and I worked my way up the crew ranks until I was eventually a lead and instructing up to a crew of 6 fellow students/clubmembers. All this time I was also working with the club repairing and rebuilding our fleet of 30'+ sailboats as well as singlehanding them to pumpout and helping move them around before/after classes and social sails for other leads/instructors.
Early in 2016 we purchased our own Bluewater Cruising boat and have sailed it the for 2 seasons around Lake Michigan, and have also hosted many fellow sailors from our club on group sails. As a lead with the club we both became more adept at working with a diverse and ever-channging crew roster and helping to instruct sailors of all levels in the 3rd Coast way of doing things. Heavy weather sailing is a focus among senior members there and we loved to take people out on SV Barry Duckworth in the worst of it to show them what a true Bluewater Boat is capable of.
During those sailing seasons we lived on our boat as much as possible (5-6 nights/week) in Monroe Harbor right in downtown Chicago. It was not like living on the hook, but it was as close as we could get until we both were fully retired and settled our home. Downtown Chicago's skyline makes a beautiful live-aboard backdrop and the sailing culture and community there is really great, although the season is a bit shorter than we liked.
I've learned a lot working on the club's boats and finally doing a full refit on our own boat. That was an invaluable skill set that has made the transition to full-time cruising much less difficult or expensive. Having a fully refit boat that I personally went over with a fine-toothed comb replacing all the systems from scratch before we left didn't hurt either.
I have had some experience working as crew and as a Mate on quite a few charters in the Gulf of Mexico and have crewed once as a Mate to Cuba and back 2 years ago.
Last spring we finally cut the lines and headed out ourselves of the through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic, and down the East Coast. Right now we are enjoying Sunny Florida and finally finding warmer weather.
Eventually we will head over to the Bahamas or maybe the Florida Keys. We are not in a hurry any more. What we don't get around to this year we will do the next winter, or the year after that. We are doing this for the rest of our healthy lives.
This coming summer we are planning on heading back up North to es
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