How did we become sailors?
Interestingly, it all began one Christmas 13 years ago.
For over 20 years our Christmas Day tradition consisted of doing absolutely nothing other than opening and playing with presents, eating lots of our favorite foods and snacks, almost all of which had been prepared the day before or brought by Santa, and napping. We cherished this day, that like no other, we lived entirely “in the moment”; without distraction of chores, work, or any outside influences.
As Christmas of 2007 approached, our younger daughter, Marilla voiced her feeling that Christmas was no longer fun. Our older daughter, Allison, and her husband Mike now had two families they shared Christmas traditions with. The truth is, neither George nor I had been enjoying the holiday as we once had.
We began looking for a vacation we could enjoy during the Christmas Holiday, excluding Christmas Day, itself. We knew we wanted to go somewhere in the tropics with warm turquoise waters and beautiful. beaches. Our search led us to a company in the Exumas that rented houseboats. George’s Mom and Dad had a large houseboat that had left us with indelible, pleasant memories of lazy summers on the Long Island Sound. We knew it would be a perfect vacation to share with them.
This three generation vacation included George’s Mom and Dad, our two daughters, our son-in-law, and George and myself. It remains one of the most enjoyable family vacations we have ever had and set us on a path we did not recognize at the time.
Several years later we decided it was time to take a another houseboat vacation. Sadly, we discovered that the Bahama houseboat business had folded. We could not find any other houseboat rentals on open water in the tropics. Our fruitless search for a perfect houseboat vacation DID lead us to advertisements to rent sailboats. Hmmm…
We felt certain we would love sailing. We appreciated the slow, almost silent manner in which canoes transported us across lakes and along rivers. Canoeing complemented our interest in observing nature without leaving footprints. Our son-in-law was becoming quite interested in sailing and was taking lessons.
We decided to get certified to bareboat charter a catamaran. The idea was not far fetched as George had grown up boating and was (is) very knowledgeable about boating and the sea. We completed a week-long Bareboat Chartering Course offered by Offshore Sailing School and, while I barely passed the exam, George got a perfect score and was pre-qualified to Captain a catamaran under a wide range of conditions / locations.
Our home in Pennsylvania was not close to any significant body of water and with our children’s busy schedules we had never considered owning a boat other than canoes and kayaks. However, with our younger daughter now in college, our weekends were our own. Soon-after we were proud owners of a pre-owned Flying Scot that we could trailer to the north end of the Chesapeake – just two hours away. We also got busy planning our next family vacation in the Virgin Islands on a catamaran.
Below are pictures from our bareboat charter trip in the Virgin Islands.
We no sooner completed our bareboat catamaran vacation than we decided this was the life for us and purchased a Seaward 32 sailing mono-hull that we enjoyed for the next 5 years on the Chesapeake, and following our retirement, the US Intercoastal Waterway (ICW), and the Bahamas. The ICW and Bahamas trip spanned almost 8 fabulous, life-changing months. On our way back up the ICW I suggested we consider a slightly larger boat and wistfully identified the Allures 39.9 as my dream boat. As for all my hopes and dreams, George soon concurred and made this dream reality.
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