Boats - vessels of freedom. When I get out on any boat there is a freedom that I feel that I get nowhere else. I get a greater feeling of freedom when I can move along with just the wind as my power.
I have been boating for most of my 51 years. 40 of those involve sailing. I have been racing scows in the Wisconsin all of that time. In winter we get out on a DN ice boat. I love the feel of the winds power moving any boat. It has always been fun to learn how to handle the different boats and how they respond to differing conditions.
The past 10 years we have been chartering. Lake Superior a few times and 3 times to the BVI. To be able to sail to beautiful places and just hang out is priceless. After our first BVI trip, it took me over a week to get my head back into work. I was hooked on finding a way to get back there, maybe full time.
This fall we bought our first cruising boat. Prior to this I have owned sailboats from 12' to 28' which were purely sailboats. No batteries, no motor, no "gadgets". Just a hull with spars and sails. The new boat to us is a 1986 Baba 40, the SV/ Mezzaluna. What a change. We now have a cabin below deck, a motor on board, batteries, heat and hot water, air conditioning (for now) and "gadgets". When we bought her the fuel
tank had a hole in it. I am handy with tools and have been doing all of the work myself. As I went through this project over this past winter I found many things that needed attention. Many I couldn't do in one off season. We are getting the main mechanical things straightened out, getting the rig
strong and ready and getting it cleaned up so we can use it this summer. She won't be pretty this summer but she will sail. I am having the time of my life. If I am not at my job, I am working on Mezzaluna.
My wife has been behind me on this project from the day we first looked at it. She has just started helping with the work in the past few weeks. She wants to be able to sail on her too. I am a lucky man. Katie has been my crew the past 20 years racing at home. She has loved the charters. In fact she gave me the business for not taking her to the BVI again this spring when instead I stayed home and spent the entire spring break working on Mezzaluna so we can sail on our own cruiser. She started working on the boat that week.
We are hoping that in the next 5-7 years we can sell our lake home and have enough invested that we can spend 5 - 10 years cruising and maybe circumnavigating. We are taking it one step at a time. We will spend our time for now cruising Lake Michigan and see how we like it. If all is good we will take the next step, what ever we decide that is. (vessels of freedom)
At the end of the day, these are still all sailboats. The gadgets don't sail the boat, people do. The basics of sailing on any of them from 12' to 40' is the same. However, they each are different as each person is different one from the other. You need to learn how they handle, what they feel like moving in the water. How to tune it, what makes it happy versus the boat fighting with you. It is all a learning experience, and that is what is so fun about it. Figuring it all out. Feeling that power and using it to go somewhere.
The "gadgets", they are just extra toys to play with if you are so inclined. Personal preference. We'll have some not all. Do you think the mariners of long ago gave the first guys to use a sextant a hard time for having that "gadget" on board? I see them as a tool that can help make the trip a little easier, sometimes safer and something to enjoy learning. Again, it is personal preference if one should have anything other than a hull, spars and sails. It is not right or wrong.
Here's to another sailing season begining. Our scow racing starts Tuesday. I still own 2 c scows. When I bought my current one, I kept the previous one and let my son sail it. We brought those home and will rig
them this weekend. Today I finish sanding and tomorrow the bottom paint
goes on Mezzaluna. Choices choices!
Boats - vessels of freedom.
SVs'/Mezzaluna, fafakitahi, Hodag