When I think of the East Coast the first thing that comes to mind is not a wild landscape. Yes, there are beautiful ocean beaches, historic lighthouses, protected national seashores, and a variety of other delights ashore. But the majority of shoreline is privately owned. I think of the east coast as the place I grew up. A good place to buy, fix, and practice seafaring aboard small sailboats. As a place you have to sail past to get to the islands. But never as a place to travel to. It is not the land in itself that interests me. It is the sea. It is being out of sight of land.
Coming back to shore here is merely a means to an end as my boat is a continuous work in progress, not quite ready to be at sea for longer than a few days. It is distant landfalls with far less population that intrigue me, not the coastal U.S. cities. Sometimes I wait weeks for a small passage window, anchored in some town I’d never chose to visit on purpose. Where there are few public landings and grocery stores are miles outside of town down four lane highways. Sometimes I get lucky and I can see a rail yard from the lawn of the public library and watch freight trains roll by while using the WiFi. Other times, there are mates around. I’ve been up and down this coast enough to have friends almost wherever I go, but not always.
From sea the coastline can look almost perverse. The abandoned Ferris wheels of the New Jersey Coast, the sky scraping condos of Miami Beach, accompanying tributaries marked endlessly by mansions, water towers, beach houses, second, third, and fourth homes. It’s as if the only reason they stopped building is because they ran out of land. They ran into the water. It like civilization is just perched precariously and ready to crumble into the ocean. Like an apocalyptic daydream.
Where do you find the heart of sailing? Is it witnessing both a sunset and a sunrise at sea? Is it in a boatyard with no fresh water, skin itchy with fiberglass? Is it in stepping ashore after a long passage, and drinking sparkling water with a lemon you foraged next to an abandoned dock? Is it in being wet, cold, and slightly frightened?
Or Is it found somewhere else? Is it found in yacht clubs and private marinas? Is it found in a fully enclosed cockpits with electric winches? Or in that moment you cash in your stocks and buy a boat to sail off into the promised sunset, cocktail in hand?
In the harbor right now there are three boats, including myself, that are all “basically engineless.” Meaning we all have some kind of auxiliary propulsion that only really work under totally calm wind, wave, and current conditions. Whether it be an extremely underpowered 2.3 HP outboard, or an outboard with a shaft that isn’t long enough, or a dinghy hip tied. That means in any and almost all conditions we are sailing, unless it’s for some short stretches of the ICW.
Is it because we are broke? Young? Idealists? Perhaps a combination of all three.
I’ve been a vagabond since I was 22 and bought my first boat at 26. I’m 31 now. I haven’t paid rent, except for the odd slip at a marina here and there for a few months at a time, in ten years, and have held various jobs. I happened upon sailing by chance on a yacht delivery in New Zealand and sailed across a literal sea a thousand miles over ten days, and I’ve just been trying to get back to that ever since, on my own boat.
But I never felt stuck in life, in a career, or in the throngs of capitalism that so many people feel that leads them to quitting their jobs and searching for boats. I’ve felt stuck with no money and very unseaworthy boats, but I didn’t do what most of my generation did; which is basically get real jobs. And now that they’re in their thirties and sick of the grind they’re like, let’s get a boat.
And they go buy some plastic boat from the eighties with a comfortable interior and no inherent seaworthiness in its design, but it’s safe enough. They focus on having a good engine, and then motor across the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas. They follow the “Thornless Path” and motor sail in the calms that can be found in between the prevailing opposing winds. Until they eventually reach the Caribbean and it’s all downwind from there. They have enough money, and enough confidence, even never having never sailed before, that they make it just fine.
Lots of people do this, especially with the advent of YouTube. People are like, “Yo, I can live on a boat and make a YouTube channel to pay for it?!”
But I can tell you this is not where you will find the heart of sailing. That is something you really have to look for. This is where you will find a departure from it. I’ve been trying to find it for years by now of living aboard and messing around with boats, and I still know nothing. “Remember you know nothing,” an old schooner captain told me. That’s what makes you a good sailor, he said. A good captain.
Famous sailor Nancy Griffith said, “know the limitations of your crew and your boat.” Crew, for the most part, has usually been only me. And I’ve scrutinized both myself and my boats heavily when weighing certain passages. I worked at marinas as a way into even learning about boats. My first boat I stuck to lake Champlain, my second I took down the Hudson River and to the Florida keys, only spending a little time offshore. The boat simply wasn’t prepared for passage making. Most of the offshore sailing I’d done before my current boat, was on boat deliveries. So I hold myself to that standard of seaworthiness, of what I’ve seen on the sea.
I spend more time fixing my shit to be at sea then I do actually at sea. I have to fix boats so often because I don’t have money, so I’m pretty DIY. The trouble is I really don’t trust my work. I rely on people with much more skill than I have to tell me if I’ve done something right. For me, the goal is to make my boat as safe and comfortable as possible on the sea. It’s been and continue to be arduous, refitting old boats to be sustainable in such an inhospitable environment, with little money and no formal training.
Sometimes I envy the other kinds of travelers. The backpackers. The ones who hoof it, bus it, ride planes and hop trains. But that’s not for me. Devoted to the sea. And if I can’t be there, damn it, I’ll be on land just trying to get there… because nothing else matters.
The first time I ever went to a sauna was in the mountains above the Napa Valley in California. With pools fed by higher elevation hot springs there was a steam room, and sauna. This broke the image in my mind of a sauna full of old white men at the New York sports club. This sauna was filled with yoga teachers, anarchists, hippies, black, indigenous, folks and people of all color and gender.
The next was on an island in an archipelago in the Salish Sea, camping alone I found connection with the people singing chants as we sweat out our demons in unison.
Then, in Vermont, a fire fed sauna with the people who took me in like an orphan when I bought my first boat on Lake Champlain.
Two years ago, my grandfather fulfilled a life long dream of his to have a sauna, and bought a tiny one-person sweatbox and put it in his laundry room. My best friend and I were there on the day before the New Year. Staying in far past the recommended time with my grandma worried sick we’d pass out, we attempted to sweat out all the unrequited love and acts of betrayal we’d endured. It didn’t work. We still went back to our lovers for a while, but it was about the ceremony.
While sailing in British Columbia with a drunk, abusive captain we dropped the hook on a remote island and were promptly invited by some locals to come for a sauna. I was beyond excited, but the captain wouldn’t let me go—and at the age of 25 I was naïve and afraid enough to listen.
Since then, it has been a dream of mine to sail to a sauna.
I got the invite this fall to tie up my boat to the dock of a rich democrat with a house that looks like a museum. As I tied up my boat and he walked down to meet me I said excitedly, “I heard this was the socialist dock!”
As he gave me a tour of the property that I basically had completely to myself, I spotted a sauna. My eyes widened.
‘Sail it ‘til it sinks.” Said Tom the brewer with the beautiful wooden boat from 1937. I’m more like sail it to the islands and abandon or sell it for really cheap somewhere else. He shrugs his shoulders and takes a sip of his beer before he walks away. He thinks I need to touch up the paint on the hull, but to make sure it matches otherwise I’m going to have to re paint the whole thing. That I need to scrub my teak with a green scrub pad. And he’s going to bring over some rust off spray to get the stains off my deck. He thinks it’s more important I clean my teak then fix the leaks.
“If it’s leaking on your head just move over,” he said.
I’m half rolling my eyes half listening intently. I plan to take his advice. On a boat, some day, but probably not this one. I was going to do a little cosmetic stuff anyway, I’m literally patching this thing together. This boat. I don’t know really what else to do at this point. I don’t want this to turn into a two year project with brand new awl grip paint on deck and topsides. Bright varnish. Perfectly pressed on tell tales. That’s not what this boat is. At least, not right now.
I like Tom. I figured he thought I was a degenerate making myself look bad with my sloppy finish work. But it was quite the opposite. “I’ve got something for you,” he said one day and handed me two picture books; one on the stars and the other on marlinspike craftsmanship (subtle, Tom).
“Wow, I’m honored,” I said. “I always thought you were ashamed of me.”
“Ashamed of you?” He said laughing in disbelief. “I admire you!”
Sometimes everything is such a chore. I feel like a pirate amongst the royal fleet. But then, I’m sitting on the dog house fiberglassing some free scrap plywood I got from the shop, drilling holes with borrowed drill bits, sitting under a makeshift sun shade, with the perfect afternoon sea breeze and the boats just tugging lightly at the pilings. And I’ve got the same view as the million dollar yachts.
There’s a tropical storm bearing down and it’s about to clip my anchorage. I wasn’t going to write this on the internet anywhere so my parents wouldn’t worry. But they found out about it on their own accord. I’ve got two anchors out and am protected from the wind direction in this harbor. It’s not expected to blow any worse than a winter gale, but still, it’s a bit early for this nonsense. I’m further south than I’d ought to be this time of year, but I thought I only had to worry about the heat and thunderstorms the further we marched into summer. This time last year I’d just barely arrived on the Chesapeake Bay by now. Tropical Storms were the furthest thing from my mind. Sean was still three weeks out from sailing north around Hatteras. This is the time of year people sail to Bermuda and cross the Atlantic. It’s not supposed to be like this. It kind of snuck up on me without warning. Whether it was fast moving or I simply wasn’t paying attention.
This changes everything. I was planning to cruise the sounds on my way north stopping at different islands for anchorages. Taking about a week to meet up with the inland waterway and then follow that into the Chesapeake Bay. Now I’m not so sure. With the potential for tropical storms and hurricanes to become threats in a matter of a day or two notice, I’m wondering if I should seek the protection of inland waters sooner. I don’t have a large diesel engine that I can just crank on two days before a storm to guarantee miles. I’m at the mercy of the winds.
Speaking of diesel engines, I ripped the one out of this boat and sold it in a quest for simplicity and to pay for my refit efforts. I’ve sold enough gear off this boat now that I got her for $1000. And let me tell you, it’s starting to feel like a thousand dollar boat. I’ve had to redo damn near everything. Through hulls, coamings, standing rigging, chain plates, etc… etc.. I find it troubling that the only thing really of “value,” on the boat, was the diesel engine. That’s what people consider essential. It didn’t matter that the rigging was precarious and all the wood in the cockpit was rotted, or that the through hulls were a terrifying corroded mess of antiquated parts…it mattered that it had an engine you could just fire up and “go.” How far have we come from what is considered essential, and seaworthy? When did it become engine first, then rigging? How many people if you ask, what is the heart and soul of their boat, would say their inboard engine?
Sean has moved off the boat and onto his trimaran. So, I’ve effectively had this boat on my own now for one month. I bought the boat through love colored glasses and we both had dreams to fix it up together and cross the Atlantic. With him I really thought it was possible. But it turns out love isn’t always enough. I realized that I stopped wearing my harness and life jacket when Sean came aboard. I stopped caring about a lot of shit.
He’s the kind of person who can manage to fucking circumnavigate on a boat that was basically derelict when he got it. With the right amount of luck, a great deal of intelligence, and an amygdala that doesn’t register fear and risk in the same way as neurotypical people—he fixed it in mostly all the right places and transitted the fucking planet. Not only is this a feat most sailors and people will never achieve, but he did it probably in one of the most uncomfortable ways.
No bunk. No sink. No standing head room. He told me roaches used to eat his toes at night on passages. I thought he was kidding. I always used to think he was kidding. His boat was a mix between some mad scientists lab and Davy Jones’ Locker. He just laid down on a bunch of wires to go sleep before I met him. All the way across the seven seas–passing the time alone contributing source code to open CPN, a navigation program used by world cruisers, and designing and manufacturing his own auto pilots.
I should have known better than to disturb this delicate creature. Because here we are now. It’s funny how someone can go from your hero to your ex that you have petty arguments with across the harbor.
It turns out the “Go North” and the “Go Offshore” are two entirely different lists. The former I’m almost done with and the latter I plan to finish on the Chesapeake.
There’s nothing left for me here.
I’m still not sure how that story ends, so it’s a good thing the submissions deadline for my anthology project Heartwreck: Romantic Disasters at Sea, has been pushed back. More info on submission guidelines here. New deadline is TBA.
I first met my friend Jake in a boatyard on Lake Champlain while I was sitting on the rocks taking apart a trolling motor that I never would end up getting to work. He cracked open a micro brew and shouted from the ground up to another mate on their boat. Quickly after we were introduced he said to me, “You remind me of my ex wife, and that’s a compliment.”
That summer was spent as a tight knit group of sailors rendezvousing in anchorages, sailing each other’s boats, and collaboratively engineering the shit out of repairs. I can easily be brought back to that time we nearly knocked down Jake’s boat in a squall. Or ate sausages in the cockpit next to the cliffs of Kingsland Bay with his partner. Or the time he offered to help me rebed my leaking deck hardware but I abruptly called it off after we did only a few bolts because the whole task just seemed so daunting. He used to call me, “kid,” which I found annoying and would say, “dude you know we’re only like ten years apart, right?”
Jake had a Columbia 26 at the time, which he’d completely restored. He still exists in my phone as “Jake Columbia 26.” From her damaged hull to the rotten core under the mast, new roller furling sails, glassing in the old big port lights to put in smaller, more seaworthy ones. His eventual plan with the boat, other than sailing the shit out of it on Lake Champlain, was to trailer it across the country and launch it in Washington state to sail the inside passage to Alaska. But life happened, and he sold the boat. I didn’t understand it at the time, but Jake always liked to tell me, “The adventure is not your life. Your life is the adventure.”
Jake has always been there for me. Like a therapist, a mentor, an older brother from another mother, or a spirit guide. He’s helped to see me through many of sailing life’s challenges and been there to celebrate the victories as well. He is my emergency contact if there is ever a problem at sea. He literally always answers my messages and calls to the point where I’ve wondered what the hell he even does all day. He even responded once from Belize. He has helped, like any good friend therapist, to create a secure attachment that feels safe and unwavering that I’ve been able to translate that into many other relationships in my life. He has led by example on how to be a good person, a good partner, a good friend, a good ally.
Before giving up a life of dirt bag foolery for the stability of a regular job he was a lot like me. Which I guess is why, in a sense, I’m his hero.
But really, he’s mine.
One time we were sitting on my boat with our other friend, Dale. Jake had just gotten a ukulele and had begun playing it incessantly. With his eye twitching and voice about to crack, Dale turned to him and said, “PLEASE, Jake, for the love of god, would you stop playing that thing?!”
Jake laid down his weapon, hands up with a sly grin.
He’s come a long way from that annoying, repetitive strumming and has written a song so dark, so traditional, and so poignant in response to the global corona virus pandemic that I couldn’t help myself but to do my own rendition. A rendition that deeply offended my mother (sorry, mom), but did help to lift the spirits of my worried old friend.
You know shit is getting real when the person who has always been a rock to you is starting to get scared, and you’re the one reminding them that everything is going to be okay.
It has to be.
In other news: I said I wouldn’t worry about cosmetics but… Feel free to donate to my paint fund!
A surveyor wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole (I know this because my friend’s a surveyor and said so), but that’s a legit home made 12-volt lithium battery for $300 vs. the $700-1000 you’ll pay for a “marine” one.
Each cell is about three volts and that little red box is a battery management system (BMS), which keeps it all distributed evenly. The wires off the BMS are soldered to the positive end of each cell . There’s even a fuse on the battery to limit risk of fire in case the battery shorts out. Plus, it’s lithium ion vs. lithium iron. Lithium iron is apparently the more dangerous one, and if one cell melts or gets too hot it can start to burn any cell that is next to it.
It’s the way of the future, and lithium 12-volt batteries are way more efficient and longer lasting than lead acid. But of course like anything it comes with risks and consequences.
Where did the lithium in my batteries come from? Probably some horrible mining practice. I’ll look into that. It seems we just can’t escape the environmental impacts that come with being a human and consumer.
In the meantime I’ll be getting lots of work done on my computer because I can finally plug it in on board. This is the first time ever I’m able to have sufficient power on a boat I’ve owned. I even have a food processor. Hummus anyone? Plenty of solar aboard to charge everything and this battery can easily be disconnected and brought to land to charge! They’re also so much lighter than lead acid, and if you’re really clever you can swap them back and forth with your electric bicycle which is all these cells are anyway. Electric bike batteries.
I am not that type of clever, however, so just leave me to some basic carpentry and fiberglassing. This addition to Sohund is definitely not my creation, but I’ll take it!
Hang in there folks. Spring is almost here. I came out of the boat and I didn’t see my shadow, so– I’m sure of it.
A short note: Please sign up for email updates below! My subscribers all got deleted! All that’s left are 13 randoms and one of them has already sent me hate mail saying I am deranged and to take him off the mailing list. Sorry, but I don’t even know how you got ON the mailing list let alone how to get off it . So I guess he’s out of luck.[email-subscribers-form id="1"]
Many boat and writing projects abound, but I’m stuck in a
windy anchorage on a hurricane devastated island.
A fellow engineless sailor is here who helped us get access to bikes, free laundry in a FEMA trailer, and some apples. He lost me, though, when he said he questioned the existence of sexism and asked if feminism was the same as chauvinism. He then seemed surprised when I answered no. And, in his grandest gesture of misogyny he said, “I need to get me one of those,” in reference to a girlfriend who would clean his boat for him. It’s sad because he’s the only other boat around these parts without an engine and he came off so helpful, but it’s 2020 not 1920.
I had no choice but to kick him off my boat even though he’d just shared a couple pounds of fresh shrimp with us.
Should be some wind to sail on out of here soon enough!
I want to express my gratitude for those of you that still
read this damn thing and for those who are just starting to. I hope you all get
a little further along in your journeys.
I just finished the worst bottom job I’ve ever done—because I don’t have the money or the time to scrape, grind, or sand blast off every last colossal, continent sized patch of old, thick antifouling paint down to bare fiberglass to make way for a proper barrier coat. There’s the right way, and then there’s the right now way. The bottom, I feel, is going to be an uphill battle because of this.
Fiber glassing in two through hulls turned into six because of a previous owners dodgy work. My personal favorite are the two holes (below the water line) that he chose to close up using nothing but a mixture of epoxy resin and sealant. Like most of his efforts on this boat, good intentioned but poorly executed. Such as the cockpit drain through hull that was installed with a bevel so large, the hull itself was ground down to where it was actually compromised structurally. I also must mention the defunct depth sounder right at the stem of the boat that was protected from popping out by a fiberglassed piece of wood on the inside of the hull, which I cracked within my first week of owning this vessel. Build it all back up has been the theme.
The mast has been stripped bare. All tangs replaced. Halyards rearranged and the standing rigging waits for its final bends…but first install the seacocks. Then launch. Being on anchor with no mast while we finish the rigging on land might suck, but not nearly as bad as being in a toxic boatyard for another day.
I used to want to earn respect at boatyards; now I just want to get out of them. When all this is said and done I’ll have a mere $180 left to my hand, but I beg anyone to name one great sailing adventure that wasn’t grossly underfunded.
If you enjoy this blog please consider a donation so I can share more stories with you!
What goes up must come down, they say, and while true of my mood for the majority of time the old adage best not apply to my mast. So, strong chainplates are most certainly in order! Eventually all chainplates, stays, and turnbuckles will be replaced, but I decided to start with the backstay chain plates because they were horrendously undersized, and attached to the hull with only one bolt and a screw.
The side stays are glassed in (whyyyyyyyyy) and the forestay is attached with a pretty strong stainless steel cranse iron. I think bronze is stronger and better than stainless for attaching the forestay and would never go to sea with glassed in chainplates from 1971, but the back stay chainplates were by far the sketchiest so they were first in line.
While the industry standard promotes stainless steel, bronze literally lasts forever. I guess that’s why yachting went in that direction, so the industry could make more money from us by flooding the market with something shiny that needs to be replaced every 10-15 years due to crevice corrosion. On top of that, stainless steel is much harder to work with. It requires a drill press to drill holes, proper tools to polish, and has an involved annealing process to the metal before and after making a bend. That’s why riggers charge upwards of $100 per chainplate for small sailboats. Plus, you can never know if the material is still good years later without a fucking x-ray machine. Again, bring in the rigger!
Stainless steel was not the right material for both long and short term self sufficiency.
We went with flat bar silicon bronze, a quarter of an inch by two inches. Overkill? Maybe. It was more than sufficient in size, especially when compared to its predecessor. We measured the angle of the bend using a wire and built a fire out of charcoal. We stuck the bronze into the fire until the end we intended to bend was glowing, then we cooled it down in a bucket of sea water and made our first bend which was very slight. We annealed again, cooled, and bent little by little until we reached the angle needed. The annealing process made the bending easier and strengthened the metal after we had literally stretched its innards.
Of course, something had to go wrong. Up until then the process had been relatively painless. Because the turnbuckles and rigging cable are also going to be replaced in the not so distant future, the chainplate had to be sized for a bigger turnbuckle. This meant the current turnbuckle wouldn’t fit, so we fastened the present turnbuckles to large shackles first, and then to the chainplates as a temporary solution.
On the mission to town to get another shackle we stopped by a used marine/antique store that’s only open one day per week for four hours. It was an hour past closing time but the doors were still open. That morning I’d lamented for hours wondering how I was going to get the larger, bronze turnbuckles I’d need for re rigging. The situation was seeming absolutely fruitless with astronomically expensive prices (both new and on Ebay) until we walked into this shop and bought these turnbuckles for three dollars a piece!
The owner of the shop recognized us from the creek we were anchored in where he happens to live. He complimented Sohund’s lines and was interested to hear about this Danish built sea dog. We didn’t have enough cash on us to pay but he let us take the turnbuckles anyway, and we rowed to his house later with the funds after we had finished installing our new backstay chainplates!
It’s light wind and the sun is setting on the Piankatank river as I embark on the maiden voyage of my new boat. It is my first time sailing the boat and I choose to do this at night, alone, with very little wind. My partner is not far behind on his boat. We take turns in the lead. It’s an hour before we reach the next green marker, one mile from where we started. For all intents and purposes, there is no engine. There is, physically, a very good functioning inboard diesel engine on the boat, but I haven’t started it. I have no desire to change the oil, change filters, bleed fuel lines, and replace impellers. Plus, the saltwater intake valve is so corroded that I have a potato at hand just in case it breaks until I can haul out to fix it.
But even if that were fixed, I’m done with engines and plan
to rip this one out and sell it (anyone want a sweet running little
diesel?). I’m done with schedules.
I’m done with being on other people’s timelines. I’m done motoring. I will wait
for the wind, even if that means I go at night, alone, at a speed of only one
I left my job on the tall ship when the heat index reached 128 degrees. Schooner life wasn’t for me. “You are definitely a free spirit,” my boss said in the end. “And that doesn’t always work on a tall ship.” I tried, really. A tall ship person I used to know referred to me as one of those, “small boat people.” I didn’t really know what he meant until I worked on a tall ship with those, “tall ship people.”
I am not one of them.
I met so many people who worked on tall ships that had such
a great passion for what they were doing that they did it for free, as
volunteers, in 100 degree heat with 100 percent humidity. I admire them, really, but the only boat
I’m willing to get heat exhaustion for is my own.
So, when I told my employers I couldn’t work during the heat
wave they ended my contract. I was so grateful. Thank you, I said, perhaps to
their surprise. I’d been planning my escape anyway. Whether I was going to give
proper notice or flee under the cover of darkness I hadn’t decided.
Had I not, in fact, left the job when I did I would have been working the day I bought my new vessel.
A week before my job ended I sold Vanu and was looking at
the very real fact that I was soon to be boat-less. With the termination of my
contract came the end of my living situation on the ship, so I was soon to be
homeless as well. It was decided that I’d move my stuff onto my boyfriend’s
27-foot boat in the meantime while we sailed in search of my next boat.
All of the boats for sale were too far or too expensive. The
Contessa 26, International Folkboat, and more were at the top of my list. There
was a Pacific Seacraft Orion 27 in my price range but it had been struck by
lightening. There were Albin Vega 27’s listed at ten to twenty thousand
dollars! It was clear that people had poured a great deal of money into some of
these old boats in hopes of “living the dream,” but never did. Now they were
imprisoning the boats in their slips or on the hard, for sometimes more than a
year, unwilling to come down in price.
Plus, they all had stupid names. All of the boats I’ve owned had come
with a good name and story along with finding the boat I’d have been remiss not
to keep its designation.
The search had been going on for weeks, and I needed to find
a boat now. So, naturally, I began to lose hope. But in my despair I decided to
search “all of craigslist,” (a process that does exactly what it says and is extremely
time consuming to search new boats listed everyday), just one more time.
That’s when I first saw the Sohund. A Great Dane 28. Transom hung rudder, excellent capsize and comfort ratings, built and designed in Denmark for one thing: going to sea.
I almost overlooked her, still suffering from boat finding
despair. She was only 40 miles away from where I was. I said to my partner,
“I’ll go see her once I’ve transferred Vanu to her new owner. If she’s still
available when we pass by there then maybe it’s meant to be.”
But the more we looked at the reputation of this boat,
considered the location, as well as the price and work it would need to be
refitted, it became clear that this was the boat.
I emailed the owner. Then I emailed him again. And again.
Then we talked on the phone. Before going to see the boat the next day I sent
him one final text.
“What does the boat name, Sohund, mean?”
“Sea Dog,” he replied.
The next day he picked us up, brought us to the boat and I
bought her right there, a mere 18 hours after the ad had been listed.
“Have you ever sold a boat this fast?” We asked the previous
owner, Dan, over lunch that he had bought for us.
“Never,” he said. “I think it was meant to be.”
Leaving my job, selling my boat and buying another, then
sailing a very crowded and over loaded 27-foot sailboat up to my new one wound up
being one of the most stressful escapades of my life…but I digress.
We arrived at the boat and stayed on Dan’s brother’s dock
for a few days cleaning up and making it inhabitable. My nerves were still shot from the week prior, and I was
staring into the beast of a six-month refit. But once that was completed I’d no
longer be trapped by the limitations of a vessel. I’d be truly free. So we
kedged our way off the dock and anchored in the creek, enjoyed a pile of
oysters with Dan and his brother, waited for the right wind (albeit light)
direction to sail out of the creek—and drifted off at one knot into a new