I Grew Up Sailing
I was very fortunate. As far back as I can remember, our family had a sailboat. The first one I remember was a 19′ Seagull wooden sailboat. I learned the basics on that boat. I learned to “feel” and anticipate where the boat wanted to be (particularly in rough water). I learned how to stay ahead of the boat, knowing in advance what was going to happen next. It was a great boat and one I had the opportunity to sail again after 30 years of not seeing her. My father had sold her to a friend in Michigan. I had business in Traverse City and got in touch with her owner. We went for a short sail out on Lake Michigan.
That early exposure to sailing was invaluable.
After the family moved to Connecticut, other sailboats followed. We sailed the New England waters every summer. A Catalina 30 s/v La Peregrina was our next boat. It was a nice safe boat, but not a bluewater boat. And with 7 people in the family, it was “cozy” to say the least.
We had a small cottage up on China Lake in Maine where I’d spend most of the summer. I sailed the iconic Sunfish by Alcort, Inc. pretty much every day, rain or shine, and in some pretty challenging conditions for the little 13 footer. That’s the kind of boat where capsizing is loads of fun. The big game we played was capsize, climb up over the high side, stand on the centerboard and bring it back upright – without getting wet.
After that came a CSY 37 s/v Scimitar. That thing was built like a tank – thick fiberglass hull, solid fiberglass deck (no core), all the standing rigging oversized, all the running rigging the same. That WAS a bluewater boat and saw a lot of bluewater action.
We also had a Freedom 40 s/v Delight that was chartered in the Caribbean. It was the original model with unstayed masts and wrap-around sails (not a great design in a gale). We would go down there every winter for a few weeks and sail around the islands. That also gave me my first ocean passage, sailing from St. Thomas USVI to Newport , RI. I was navigator. No GPS in those days, Strictly sextant, H.O. 214 reduction tables, pencil and paper. We saw no land the entire trip (one big storm with 3 days of no sun sights), but we nailed it. Block Island first, then Newport, RI right where it should have been. I was 19 years old. I was so proud. We had sailed 1,500 miles in 12 days and arrived exactly where we planned. A very cool feeling at that age.
Eventually, reality caught up and I started the working life.
Unfortunately any significant sailing was put on hold for several years as I joined the working world. I did some charters in the Caribbean, helped out with the Sea Scouts in Connecticut and other sailing here and there.
My parents bought a PDQ 44 Antares catamaran a few years back and I was able to get some sailing done on that beautiful boat too. I wasn’t a big fan of catamarans. But this was an extremely comfortable, very strong and very stable bluewater sailboat. But for me, it just didn’t feel like sailing. I mean really… What fun is it if stuff doesn’t fly around the cabin every once in a while? Or dinner doesn’t end up on the cabin deck occasionally? That’s the cruising life.
And that is what this website is all about. The sailboat cruising lifestyle.
Now I own a Bayfield 29 “s/v Kewalo” based in Noank, Connecticut.
Please feel free to send in your pictures, your videos, your stories. All are welcome.