This weekend marks the one year anniversary of when I left Lake Champlain onboard my little boat. I’d have cut the proverbial mooring lines, but I sold my bridle to a friend to pay my debt to the marina.
I left with $1,000 in my pocket headed south on an old, neglected boat that I was slowly improving. I learned about sailing and fixing boats along the way. Not much has changed on the financial side, but at least I am seeing improvements to my vessel and sailing skills! I’m even going to be giving a sailing lesson soon! Each day I get to know my boat better which has ultimately revealed more weaknesses. My ideas that included Puerto Rico, Panama, and other Caribbean destinations for this boat have been replaced by a more realistic voyage to explore the Bahamian islands solely. Cuba would also be possible. I’m exactly where I thought I might be a year later, stuck somewhere in Florida working on the boat.
I’ve traversed the Champlain Canal, Hudson River, New Jersey coastline, Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay, and Atlantic Intra Costal Waterway from Norfolk, VA to the Florida Keys. One time while in Georgia I ran painfully hard aground outside of Jekyll Island. When I tried to kedge myself off, I put the anchor on the wrong side and wound up kedging myself further aground. I also managed to get my anchor completely stuck. Luckily, some locals passing by on a John Boat broke the anchor free for me and returned it. When they asked where I’d been and I started naming some of the rivers, bays, and coast I’d sailed one of them looked at me wide eyed and said in a very southern accent, “that’s a lotta water.”
I thanked them, and was soon on my way after the small wake of a passing catamaran and a few more hours of rising tide floated me off the mud.
I want to take this time to thank everyone who has helped me along the way and who cares enough about this journey to donate their time, gear, and hard earned freedom chips. There are still so many stories left untold of people who have not only helped me fix my boat or get me further along my way, but helped restore my faith in humanity.
And to all the people I should thank again for teaching me something important about sailing and helping me work on my boat: Lake Champlain- the good folks (not the bad ones) at Monty’s Bay Boatyard, Tanya & John Foley, John Hammond, Sallie & Jonathen, Tiny & Roel, Jake, Dale, Aaron & Sarah, Bruce & Sue, Point Bay Marina for always looking the other way, Capt. Dan, Hudson- Josh on Albatross, Chesapeake- Rich Acuti, Bill & Chris, Ladies’ Island- Mary, Susie & Adam, NoFlo- Kourtney & Pete, Nubby, Skip, Ray & Ash, Melanie Sunshine, SoFlo- Johnny, Kim, Mike, random folks whom with I rode out a 50 knot squall on a John Boat, Keys- Kacie & Joel
Thanks to my fam for sending me supply items always! To my friends for their friendship. And to all the people I might have forgotten, or who I only met in passing who lent a hand, a tool, or an ear.
Thanks to all the readers of this blog for allowing me a platform to show others that you don’t need a lot of money, or a lot of boat, to go sailing!
And a special thanks to all those who have donated and left kind words of encouragement.
Consider a donation if you enjoy this blog and would like to see more stories and how-to’s on sailing, fixing, and living aboard boats on a shoe string budget!
Notes from donors
With that list the weather will be cooler when you splash! KEEP ON keeping on young lady!
Hope that boot showed up..and a sailing partner if you want one..and fair winds always!
A little something to spend on yourself and your dreams! Hope you are Well and Happy.
hope this gets you down the channel a bit further or helps to keep your blog “afloat”. Would love to see those “Dinghy Monologues” but it’d be so awesome to see a video of you reading them in a dark theatre under the spotlight! Loved what I’ve read so far. “Wind at your back!”
Hi Emily! Hope this helps some. I admire your journey.
Hey, Not much impresses me these days. You’re doing what we all want to do. Much fair wind at your back! Gypsy Eyes 🙂
Nice to see someone living the dream. Keep up the good work.
Back in the 70’s I owned a wooden salmon troller and fished SE Alaska and the West Coast of Washington and Oregon. It was a life of poverty but I was young, immortal. I fished a marginal boat in very serious waters. At the end of the season I might have enough saved to get the boat back to Port Townsend, pay for a month of dock space, and begin looking for odd jobs. I’ve had so many. Worked in the woods logging, worked tree planting while living in a tent in the winter rain, boat delivery, deck hand on a fish packer in the Aleutians. I did what I had to do to eat and get the boat ready for the coming season.