Here we sit, 6 inches of snow on the ground, no boat prospects in sight, a call for jury duty for Jack, and not much to do all day but read and look for boats. We never imagined after being shot like a cannonball from our house in Pittsburgh that we would be stuck in limbo for so long. Some days it’s a challenge to keep the dream alive.
I went back through some sailing photos yesterday to remind us of our goal. I never got around to scanning the photos of our earlier sailing adventures so all we have with us are from the digital camera era.
Back in 2002 some sailing friends were itching to do some night sailing, so we decided to sail south from Annapolis in the afternoon and see where we ended up by morning. We made it to Tangier Island.
The islanders have their own ideas about tourism.
It wasn’t much of a trip, but we did get to sit out in the rain for a couple of days.
One of our coolest sailing adventures was crewing for a friend taking his boat from New York City to Annapolis. I’d sailed into New York harbor back in 1969 and I remember the thrill I felt seeing the Statue of Liberty from the deck of an ocean liner, especially surrounded by people who were coming to America for the first time.
We did this sail in 2003 when security was still very tight around New York Harbor. There was a Coast Guard cutter circling Liberty Island as we passed.
Looking back at Manhattan, the green in the foreground is Governor’s Island, where my grandfather was born in 1875 while his father was stationed there in the Army.
It’s nice to look back but we’re champing at the bit to move forward. I think we’ll be heading south again soon for another lap around the Gulf. Wish us luck.
Just as Mecca is to the Muslim, a Guernsey will face Wisconsin at dusk, a sailor will inevitably make a pilgrimage to Newport. Oh, I’ve been close before. We grabbed a mooring late one night running from a hurricane that was coming up the eastern seaboard as we were headed down, skipped out early enough to avoid the collection boat and stashed the boat in Wickford. The only problem was our car was left in Annapolis. That was one long trek home to Pittsburgh.
This place reeks of sailing and money; it’s no wonder the America’s Cup was held here all those years. John Cox Stevens, J. Pierpont Morgan, Vanderbilt, Turner, Conner, et al. Their palaces are up on the cliff above the ocean. The confluence of skill and money are necessary to make a Mecca for sailing, but I wonder about all the people who were abused to acumulate that kind of wealth.
Well we don’t expect much out of this boat show but you have to try. It’s about contacts and some research on new electronics.
I wonder if there’s an appropriate chant or tradition to observe here in sailor Mecca. Have any ideas?
While sitting in the Sears Auto Center, trying to tune out The View on the TV, my phone started to vibrate. I immediately was filled with dread. I had already had two “I’m sorry, Mr Schulz, but there has been a complication concerning your car” calls. Yes, the Humble Hyundai had started to make ominous noises from the rear while coming back up north. I tend to ignore this type of thing but wiser heads prevailed and with the long ride to New Orleans planned, I found myself in the Sears waiting room spending a full boat unit (1 BU = $1,000) so the car would stop making that waump-waump noise everywhere we went, with the phone in my pocket vibrating.
Satisfied that it wasn’t restless leg syndrome, I fished the phone out of my pocket and saw that it was an email from the shadow couple informing me that their friend no longer wants to sell his boat.
I know. It’s hard to sell your boat. But really, seriously? I thought the finding a boat part would be the easiest, most enjoyable part of the plan.
I’m not having fun. This is worrisome. I’m not kidding folks, there aren’t anymore boats to look at. So you start to go back over the rejects and I see nothing but projects, workarounds, and just plain bad compromises.
So I guess the plan is to redouble my patience and wait. This is not my strong suit. This escape velocity business is tricker than it looks.
So much for keeping a positive attitude. I fell in love with an American made Catamaran, called a Manta 40, just enough out of reach that we had to swallow hard and knew it was time for a reality check. Can we really low ball an offer that far below her asking price? We really liked the owners. Would it just serve to piss them off?
While we were gut checking somebody bought the yacht and the first email of 2012 informed us that she would not be ours. I have to admit it hit me quite hard. Tough way to start the new year. Instant karma? I don’t know, I’ve had a good feeling about this new year and I’ve said so many times but this could only be interpreted as a crushing blow. Not only because this boat was as close to perfect as we’re likely to see but there seems to be a paucity of blue water catamarans this year and we’d seen virtually all of them.
That’s when I remembered something the shadow couple said about a friend that has a boat he might be willing to sell in New Orleans. It’s a boat that I’m particularly partial to. I like New Orleans. It’s beginning to get really cold up here in the Hudson River Valley.
So let’s see… If we pick up 81S, then 59S…yeah that’s what, 1500 miles?
I can hear The Blind Owl start to croon.
So much has happened in the past year that it’s hard to remember our state of mind one year ago. I do know that we marked one more year of owning a boat that wouldn’t take us where we wanted to go, and one more year of seeing from our windows only the house across the street and not exotic, ever-changing ports of call. There were family situations, too, that tempered the usual optimism a new year brings. Our son and daughter-in-law were unintentionally separated by distance because of work, our niece was in a legal holding pattern with no resolution in sight, and a dear friend was holding on to life and gradually losing her will to fight.
Today, the first day of 2012, we are boatless, houseless, and with a different view out our windows, even if it isn’t from the back deck of a new boat. Our son and daughter-in-law are happily now in the same place and our niece’s situation has resolved and she’s looking forward to a better 2012. Sadly, our sick friend departed early in 2011 and left a big hole in our lives, one that our fondest memories can’t quite fill.
Now, for the first time in many years, we face the new year without the agonizing reappraisal that usually marks January 1st. There may be uncertainty still, but we’re looking to the future with hope, excitement and peace.
We’re on the right track.