8-28-11 Dreaming of sailing away

Bruce Roberts 36 - Spray Replica

Bruce Roberts 36 - Spray Replica



Many of you may not know this, but I consider myself a bit of a sailing enthusiast. Not so much ‘watching sailing races on TV and the web enthusiast’, but more of a ‘will go on any sailboat for any reason kind of enthusiast’. I didn’t grow up around water and we never had a sailboat. My exposure to sailboats was sort of random and built up slowly over the years.

My Aunt and Uncle have a house on Sebago Lake and they have a small Laser sailboat. Picture something a bit bigger than a rowboat with a sail, and that’s what a Laser pretty much is. We had gone up for a long weekend and my Uncle dragged it out of storage and let me have a go at it. I wasn’t a very good sailor, capsized a few times, but it set a spark in me. From then on, I’ve been planning and plotting on how I can get more sailing exposure and experience.

I started slow after that initial exposure. Buying and reading as many books as I could find. Trolling the net, looking at sailboats. Joining sailing and cruising forums, to read more about what it takes to own a boat. I even took a few sailing lessons. It has just continued to fuel my interest.

Recently, I contacted people in the area where I live (which happens to be one of the top five places in the US for sailboats) and I was invited on to a charter boat to help out as a deckhand. The boat is a 58ft ketch named ‘Windsong’ and I’ve been learning an awful lot about boats from the captain.

Now, I’m at the stage where I am working and trying to put as much money aside to eventually buy a boat. The only headwind (get it, sailing reference!) is my girlfriend, Lesleh. In June of this year, we went up to Baltimore and Annapolis for a wedding I was the bestman in. While up there, we met up with a friend of my Dad’s who has a 26ft Pearson.

Lesleh’s experience to boats is extremely limited. I think she had only been on a small fishing boat (think rowboat with an outboard motor) on a lake in Georgia as a child. So, she wanted to give it a shot and went with me to go on the 26ft Pearson. It happened to be a windy day, it’s a light boat, and the way it was sailed, the boat heeled nearly to the water. Like the side rails dragging in the water and everything. It terrified her, to say the least.

I now have this passion that I want to pursue full time and she is now terrified of boats. I’ve tried explaining to her that if we were to get a sailboat it would be much bigger and heavier then the Pearson. I’d also sail her (the boat, they’re all female) correctly. Meaning, keep the hull square in the water, limiting heeling as much as possible. I hope to continue to work on her to get her as excited and committed to sailing as I am.

Anyone else out there have a passion, an expensive passion, that would really be impossible to pursue without your significant being interested? How did you get them to inspired and enthused? Any of you ever been terrified of something until you were shown how to do it and changed your mind? Any tips and help would be much appreciated!

I’m thinking I need to get her on a much larger sailboat, to get her used to the idea. And then work with her, so she better understands the forces at work. It doesn’t help she also has a pretty big fear of water, especially water she can’t see the bottom in. So, I guess I just need to get her out and on the water as much as possible to get her used to everything.

My ultimate goal would be to get a 36 footer (like the one in the picture above) and take a few years off to sail and cruise around. Maybe doing the ‘Great Loop’ and then heading down toward South America. I think she’d love the travel and adventure part of it, I just need her convinced we can do it on a sailboat.


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