Join Date: Jul 2006
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Share your "Story"
I love reading people's stories regarding how they got into sailing, why they love it, what keeps them in it, etc... . I'm starting this thread so we can share our stories.
So, here's mine:
I grew up in a place called Menlo Park, CA very close to the San Francisco Bay. In my early teens, while in the Boy Scouts, I was introduced to sailing while at scout camp. I spent many hours sailing a Sunfish all over a P.G.& E. lake just south of Lake Tahoe (I was the oddball taking out the sailboat every day while everyone else was fighting for the powerboats). I was in love. Around that same time, my best friend’s father purchased a Columbia 28 and many weekends in my early high school years were spent on that boat (I wish I could recall her name; and I can still smell the Kentucky Fried Chicken we’d take along). A couple years into it, he sold the boat and purchased an Islander 36. Many more weekends on the Bay, much more chicken. By my senior year, he had moved to New York, and I no longer had an outlet to sail. However, it was now in my blood, and I didn’t even know it! I found other friends with fathers who had boats and intermittently sailed for a couple summers on “Footloose” a vintage ‘70’s 42’ Tartan (I think), and a 40’ Tartan whose name I cannot recall (both hailed from Sausalito Y.C.). Then, it was off to school in Utah where my passion for skiing helped me forget about sailing. That was good bye to sailing, but I never thought about it as my passion for skiing had taken root and took over.
Years later, I returned to the Bay Area and met my wife. She was part of a group of women involved with “WOW” (Women On Water) out of Alameda, CA. They were studying for certification, and sailing regularly out the “Gate”. My blood was churning again. Soon thereafter, I was back on a boat, even if only for day sails once in a blue moon. Then we moved. There is not a lot of sailing in Arizona. Besides, I was now in my mid 20’s and trying to make a life for myself. Two years later we moved to the Sierra Mountain Foothills half way between Lake Tahoe and Sacramento and began raising a family. Looking back now, I don’t think I really thought seriously about going sailing at anytime during the past 15 or so years. It was simply way too far out of reach, very expensive, a rich man’s sport, and I didn’t know anyone with a boat. I was in no way that rich man.
Fast forward to the present. In August 2004 we were provided a 10 day Caribbean Cruise aboard Holland America line for a family reunion (highly recommended by the way). We went on that cruise with our 2 teenage children and 20 other family members. BAM! A passion from an earlier life came flooding back once we were at sea. Early in the morning on day 2, I found myself up at the bow, staring out at the sea with tears streaming down my face. My love for the ocean had returned, and I missed it terribly. However, the cruise was no where near enough. You just are not a part of it when on one of those big behemoths. However, it was plenty to re-ignite a fire that was long ago left to smolder: I recalled at that time (more like, felt in the core of my soul) that sailing gave me that feeling I yearn for.
Hurricane Frances brought me back to disaster assistance work for the Federal Gov't (I did this from 1992-1994 too). Working on a particular file for a licensced captain who lost his 42' yawl opened my eyes to the sailing world (“You mean there are actually businesses making money that revolve around this?” I had no idea.). I cannot begin to extol the thoughts and dreams that began filling my head and heart.
By August of this year, I could stand it no more and purchased my first boat: A 1977 Catalina 27. She’s sound, in great condition, but was tired and somewhat neglected. I am in the process of refitting her myself and looking forward to her re-launching late this fall or early next spring as a “new” old boat. Additionally, this process has brought back another passion of mine: restoring/refurbishing/remodeling old things. I love carpentry for this same reason.
I had been feeling a bit like Homer chained to the mast and hearing the Siren’s calls with my boat just outside the front door. But oh, so close. 8 months later I could stand it no more (we had recently returned from another floating city cruise to Alaska) and purchased a 16' Hobie Cat under the auspices of teaching our teenage children how to sail. We're loving the Hobie Cat and I keep working on the keel boat... if I only had more than 4-8 hours a week (often in the dark) to work on it.
The Florida Hurricanes of 2004 dealt a horrific blow to many people’s lives (as have Katrina, Rita and Wilma). They also helped to bring me back to "life".
Presently, our dream is to someday go out under the Golden Gate Bridge and never looking back. No specific plan nor destination, just heading out cruising till we're no longer enjoying it. No, it would not be on the C-27, unless of course the plan includes entering the food chain somewhere in the middle. LOL.