For me the seed was planted years ago, on a cruise to Mexico. When Liska and I married, we went on our honeymoon to Southwest Colorado. We camped and archery hunted for deer. We were short of funds, and it was what we could afford, before you get too worked up about the unfairness of it all. It did register with me as well, so I am not completely impervious.
Austyn was born in the spring of 1994. Shortly after that, Cruise prices dropped significantly. I was in my Nurse Practitioner program at the University of Colorado at the time, and we could afford to go. Eleven years after our wedding and two children, we were going on our honeymoon. It was a great trip, if you exclude the older couple we dined with the first day. They were veteran cruisers, and seemed content to complain about the temperature of their cream, before adding it to their coffee.
Move ahead to Cabo San Lucas, walking the docks looking at boats. I have always enjoyed boats. Anyway there is a sailboat, with a number of large water bottles secured to the deck. My interest is raised. The fellow aboard, had just arrived from Hawaii. Really, on this little boat, he assured me he had made the journey. Ok, then.
Liska subscribed to her hometown paper from Idaho Springs, Colorado for years. There was a couple who began to share the story of their 5 year circumnavigation, on SV Lady Ann. Each week, we waited for the next installment in the adventure. It was not long, before we were talking, wouldn’t it be something if we could do the same.
I bought a McGregor 25 sailboat from the police chief in Mountain Home, Idaho. The first day I took it out, the wind was stiff, perhaps too stiff for my comfort. Anyway, I decided to rig the boat for practice and not go out. Once that was done, I decided to launch the boat while securely attached to the dock. Once that was done, I rationalized; I was full of knowledge from sailing books and would rig the jib only. If any problems arose, I’d return quickly to the dock. It was great, jibbing and tacking, I had the boat moving. A few stalls and back winded sails, but overall a lot of fun.
Sailing in a circle on inland reservoirs, is entertaining for a while, but I wanted to learn more. A friend of my sister’s, and she were visiting us in Boise. Somehow the conversation turned to sailing classes in the Caribbean. He countered I should consider the Pacific Northwest instead. That had not occurred to me, but the cost and ease of travel was appealing.
San Juan Sailing in Bellingham, WA turned out to be the choice. The first inquiry I made with a different sailing program, sounded like boot camp. This needed to be enjoyable, or Liska was not signing off on it. We had a wonderful week sailing on SV Snow Goose, with our instructor and another couple. Lucky for me the other couple was struggling to figure out navigation and rules of the road, while I focused on sailing the boat.
My good friend George in Denver, unbeknownst to me is taking a similar path. We check in with each other, to compare notes. During the conversation I learn he has bought the same motorcycle I own, and has been to the Caribbean to learn how to sail. No kidding. That led to us chartering a boat together in Marsh Harbor, Abaccos Islands. Kay, his wife indoctrinates our children in to the customs of the islands, by teaching them how to make rum punch and consume it every evening, as the sun is setting.
More charter trips under our belt, we are starting to believe we can do it ourselves. When you charter boats, the quality of the boats is not obvious; you have nothing to compare it to. Once you step aboard a quality boat, like we did at the Seattle Boat Show. It was an Oh My moment and it became obvious what we were looking for.
After a lot of experiences, and crawling on and off a number of boats, the opportunity arises. Austyn is shipping off to Oregon State University, and Liska has an offer to move with her job to Seattle. We did what any rational couple would do. We sold our big ass house in Boise, and moved to Seattle.
This is not a case of love at first sight, because you have to keep in mind how many boats we had looked at. I was in Alaska, with a lot of internet time. There were 3 sailboats I wanted to look at with Liska, when I got back to Seattle. The first was a Pacific Seacraft 32 foot pilot house. My concern was that it would be a bit small. The broker showing us the boat was a big guy like me. When he scurried inside and quickly sat down to the side, my concerns were confirmed. It was too small. The next boat was an Island Packet 35, SV Vagabon. We were early, and found her at the dock. She was an impressive boat. The inspection, once aboard was even more impressive. Liska’s words and I am trying to paraphrase, “this is the boat, buy it, and don’t over negotiate it”. I have been known to over negotiate in the past, and leave disgruntled sellers in my wake. I had my marching orders. Due diligence, I looked at the third boat, but in reality we had found the boat. Short time later, we closed the deal on SV Vagabon.