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  #1  
Old 08-24-2006
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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.
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Old 08-24-2006
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knothead has a spectacular aura about knothead has a spectacular aura about knothead has a spectacular aura about
Without getting too longwinded, here's the short version. I was ten when dad came and kidnapped me and my four year older brother from a foster home that he had dropped us off at five years earlier. On the ride from Garden Grove to Monterey he hinted that we would be living real close to the beach. I had no idea that he meant we would be living on a boat. He had a boat a long time ago, I remembered, but at ten I wasn't putting two and two together that well.
The boat turned out to be the "Oscar Tybring". I think she was 43' and weighed a million lbs. She was designed by Colin Archer and built in his yard in 1895. My father was fond of telling people how the "Oscar" held a record for lives saved in service of the Norweigan coast guard.
In the next few years that dad owned her we sailed up and down the coast of Ca. a bunch of times. I remember rounding Pt. Conception on dark and stormy night, (it really was), I was busy getting as small as I could get in my berth in the foc'sle, listening to the boat creak and groan like a living being when I heard what sounded like a cannon blast. The jib had blown out. I heard my brother's voice raised above the shrieking of the wind as he tried to communicate with dad at the helm. The helm by the way was a real big tiller. Anyway I can remember being just about as scared as a ten year old kid could be in that berth that night and I can remember other times when I felt just about as content and happy as anyone could hope to be.
Bottom line, I fell in love with a boat, I fell in love with the sea, I fell in love with sailing.
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Old 08-25-2006
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Thanks Steve. Yea, I got real long winded there. Not looking for anyone to do likewise. Are you still on the west coast? I'm finding most on this site are "right" coasters.
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Old 08-25-2006
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knothead has a spectacular aura about knothead has a spectacular aura about knothead has a spectacular aura about
You wern't long winded at all. I'm just aware of my own propensity.

We are on the west coast of Florida now. My wife and I sailed our Nor'Sea 27' from the San Joaquin delta (east of San Francisco) to Saint Pete in 92'. We currently live in Gulfport and still have the Boat. Haven't done much crusing on my own boat since we've been here but have sailed and delivered other peoples boats. Took a Bavaria 30 something to Holland a few years ago. Don't think I will ever go to sea on a fin keel boat again.
Still have hopes of cruising again someday. Not sure my better half will want to join me now that she has her house, but I like single handing and the Nor'Sea is a perfect boat for that.
Incidently, our first big boat was a CT 41', very similar to Surf's.
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Old 08-25-2006
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Wow, Stockton to St. Petersburgh in 27'. How long did that take (I'm assuming you went thru the canal rather than round the "corner" (Cayard's word for Cape Horn)? We love the Caribbean and I've been trying to figure out how to get my boat there. Something in me needs to go around the Horn. However, the more I read of accounts, the more I think a cruise ship might be the way.
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Old 08-25-2006
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knothead has a spectacular aura about knothead has a spectacular aura about knothead has a spectacular aura about
The trip took nine months total, but thats because we screwed around so much on the west coast. By the time we entered the Atlantic we were getting close to hurricane season and only made five stops before arriving in Fl.
We transited the Canal. (A memorable experience in itself)
While I haven't the slightest doubt in the Nor'Sea's ability to round the horn, the jurys still out on mine.

PS: I think this is a great idea for a thread, I wish some others would share.
I hope we can all just be sailors on this one, and when we are feeling rowdy we can jump over to the Fight Club.(Which is a lot of fun too)

Last edited by knothead; 08-25-2006 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 08-25-2006
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We have a few years left before heading out on our journey (son/daughter still in H.S.). I love hearing others that have done it. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-25-2006
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I had been out on powerboats a few times as a kid, but a few years ago my wife and I were invited to sail out of Toronto on her cousin's 36' wooden yawl. A beautiful boat that his father designed and built. I remember the first day standing on the bow with a beer and a grin that didn't quit. I kept thinking that I would love to do this if I could afford it.

We sailed from Toronto to Prinyers Cove, about halfway to the Thousand Islands. That was probably the best vacation we'd ever had.

A few months after we got back I crewed in a local weekend race and bought a 1980 Chrysler 26' a month later. Now I can't imagine a life without sailing. I have learned a lot, but I am planning to do ASA 101 & 103 next year in California. Can't wait to get out in the salt water.

Great idea on this thread.
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Old 08-25-2006
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Astraeus,

Where in AZ are you and what lake are you sailing? I lived in Scottsdale for a couple years and did some water skiing on both Rosevelt Dam, Suargo (sp?), and Lake Pleasant. I remember looking at the rock walls at Lake Pleasant and thinking "how cool it would be to spend some time cruising and exploring around here". Incredible scenery.
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Parley

I bought the boat at Pleasant and pulled out for maintanence. I was going to drop back into Pleasant, but two years ago we had a wet winter and Roosevelt filled to 100%, after being down to about 15%. I've been there ever since, great people at Roosevelt. It's a little more off the beaten path. The only problem with Pleasant is that it gets very crowded with powerboats. I got tired of sailing defensively.

I like sailing the lakes here, the wind changes are about the only constant though. Good practice for sail trim.

I will post some pics of the lake next week, I agree it is beautiful.

I still dream of being where the wind is somewhat constant and the water is a bit more salty.
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