“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery (taken from Ellen MacArthur’s book, ‘Full Circle’)
This is a bit longer than my usual quips and quotes, but thought it poetic justifiable:
Yesterday, February 24, 2017, started as a semi-normal day when you consider we had to leave the house at 7:30 am to get Ron to his scheduled out patient hernia surgery. As you know, he times everything to the precise second. Because I might have to drive him home we chose to take my brand new VW bug. Being smart enough to always let him drive to avoid having two drivers in the car, I handed Ron the keys after he slid into the driver’s seat. “Remember to put your foot on the brake in order for the car to start,” I whispered.
The gear shift was in Park and his right foot was on the brake. Methodically he looked at the slot where the key goes in, then proceeded to slide it in. The expression on his face told me something didn’t work. “Is your foot pressing on the brake all the way down?” I cautiously asked. No reply.
After two or three attempts at getting the key to turn the ignition on, I feared I may have gotten something on the key. Frustrated I said, “Hold on a sec, while I go back in the house to get the extra key!” As fast I could scrounge the house key to unlock the door I then ran upstairs grabbed the extra key, relocked the door to the house and jumped back in the car. All to no avail.
Ron tossed the keys on the dashboard. “Let’s just take the truck,” he exclaimed. Knowing there is no way I would drive his beast of a truck he continued, “If they ask if you are driving me home from the hospital you say YES.” In no time we were truckin’ off to the Naples Hospital.
The surgery went fine. While he was under anesthesia I called roadside assistance. They would send someone after 5 pm to be sure we were back home. At 6 pm I called road side assistance to make sure they were on their way. Lo and behold the Naples car fixers decided they didn’t want to come the 50 miles to Everglades City. So, the wise roadside people called a service in Miami, a mere 108 miles away. It was well after dark when I had drifted off to sleep in the middle of some weird shoot –em up movie we were watching, when the car guy shows up.
I am so disappointed I missed this show. Not the movie but rather the show in which Ron gets in the bug to show the mechanic that the key won’t allow the ignition to rotate to the on position. “Turn the wheel,” bellowed the astute mechanic. Word has it that Ron turned the steering wheel but an inch and walla, kajalla, the ignition ignited.
Ron apologized for our lack of creativity in solving the problem. The gracious mechanic smiled as he got in his tow truck for his return journey of 108 miles back across the Tamiami Trail.
You gotta’ know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
as song by Kenny Rogers
In poker they say you have to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em. In my life quitting has been absent. During one particular 45 mile race the wind died and before reaching the ten mile mark most of the sailors got towed to the finish line. My crew was not happy as I continually waved on the power boats offering to tow us. At 11 pm we crossed the finish line. The committee boat was long gone. When we reached the beach where the food had been served and the band had the crowd dancing to their favorite tunes, only two people were on the beach. It is nice to have these two friends greet us after twelve hours of listening to my crew whine about how ridiculous my decision was. For me, it was a win despite losing her as a crew for future races.
With my own aging and the death of my husband there has been a progression toward quitting. Why stress? To learn to set up a website as part of my choice to provide a service to my community I leaped at the chance to create their monthly newsletter. Then, they added the job of distribution. I have not enjoyed that part. Typing e-mails with a system that my internet service provides a constant challenge, then having to drive 40 miles to the Staples for copies, with a final task of sticking address labels and stamps on envelopes gets in my way. I wanted a job that could be done at home at my leisure, as producing the newsletter is.
Stupidly, I also offered to learn how to update their website. Talk about stress. Again I blame my poor internet service. ENOUGH! By the end of this month I will detach myself from that job. This will come after last night’s decision to no longer distribute the newsletter. I will continue to write and produce the newsletter until December 2017. Call me a quitter.
Compounding my stress is my choice to quit cruising. As I write this blog entry SPRAY’s new owner sits about 3 feet to my left. While he surfs the FCC regulations to transfer the Ham Radio and Single Side Band license from my clutches, I wonder how I ever came to this decision. The decision to to quit cruising? To become the mate of a tall, handsome gentleman who, like me, is not perfect? To become an unwed housewife?
Wow, what am I doing? Why am I doing this? Oh, never mind, I know why I quit cruising. Although until this moment I didn’t realize it was the same reason to quit spending so much time on the museum newsletter tasks. I quit because of the self imposed stress these situations caused.
Kenny Rogers would be proud that I learned the lesson he so eloquently sings. Yipe, I have finally learned when to fold ’em.
It isn’t everyday one meets an adventurous, cost conscious woman who chooses the life of a modern day vagabound. Unlike those classified as homeless, RV women own their own home and live in. They don’t sleep under bridges, in cardboard boxes of even homeless shelters. The RV women have income, sometimes work, and are self sufficient.
One woman who I recently met drives a big Toyota Tundra pick up. A truck of this size allows her to tow her 5th wheel mobile home where ever she dares to go. The national and state parks have become popular retreats for couples who want a free site. In exchange for the free site these folks are called camp hosts. Their responsibilities include collecting fees, moderating conflicts such as noise compliance and pet annoyances. They also keep the restrooms clean.
Private campgrounds also work out an exchange of work for rent free living. Such is the arrangement of my new found acquaintance. For more information about RV Women, the adventures of this particular gal, and the world in which she lives check out her blog:
ineffable – The essence of his voice at its best is an ineffable mix of prosaic practical advice and metaphysical exaltation.
prosaic – The essence of his voice at its best is an ineffable mix of prosaic practical advice and metaphysical exaltation.
exaltation – The essence of his voice at its best is an ineffable mix of prosaic practical advice and metaphysical exaltation.
inchoate – We see it inchoate in the incredible energy he displays.
corvette – Two months after the wreck, the British corvette Loch Glendhu dropped me at the island of Mauritius.
francs – Somewhere around five or six thousand francs for all I should need.
incommoded – The artificial lung could thus be lowered slightly below the keel of the boat and the divers could move horizontally and vertically without their work being incommoded.
conjugal holidays – Why would she die, not undersanding the importance of ‘conjugal holidays’ something I am beginning to appreciate.
boccas – The anchor was stowed on deck, the sails hoisted and Marie-Therese II set out towards the ‘boccas’ which open out into the sea opposite, Grenada.
fathoms – I dropped anchor in three fathomas.
Maxiton – Why had I never decided to keep a tin of Maxiton in the medicine chest on board?
draught – The draught will be as small as possible.
With overcast skies, a 10 knot southeasterly breeze was conveniently blocked by the mangroves bordering the northeast and southwestern shores of the Barron River here in Everglades City. This was nature’s blessing as we launched our first joint financial investment; yipe we recently purchases a Windrider 17. After selling each of our offshore cruising boats we vowed to find a boat capable and inexpensively able to be kept out of the water. No more bottom paint and no more river scum was our primary criteria. Despite my longing to continue offshore cruising, I can live with the goal to sail solo into the many harbors that beckon me to remain a goal. There are no guarantees in life. If I learned one thing, I learned that when the sun rises each morning a new day of opportunity arises.
Similar to our cruising boats, the Windrider is a trimaran; some say tris are basically a monohull with training wheels. The amas provide enough bouyancy to make the boat nearly impossible to capsize. If you have never sailed a tri, do yourself a favor and heed the call. Because only the mainhull of a tri performs like a monohull tacking is smooth. Whereas catamarans, both large and small take a bit of finesse to get two hulls to cross the eye of the wind, the tri, only has to get the center hull through the eye.
Today, we challenged ourselves. From launching against the tide, to motoring along the five mile channel from Panther Creek to Indian Key, to anchoring, to sailing upwind then downwind, to motor sailing back home, we couldn’t shake the feeling that we had done something right. That all our woes, worries, and fears about our relationship with ourselves, with each other and with the sea melted with the setting sun.
There is something to cherish each and every day. Regardless of how tragic a situation is, regardless of how lonely our hearts get, and regardless of the fear of the unknown, if we can just keep our eyes on the horizon, let the tears fall, and force a smile, nature will take it from there. That is the beauty of sailing. Just the wind, the water, and the simplicity of a life fullfilled.
And so it is on this Christmas Day, the 25th of December, the second day of Hanakah, in the year 2016 that my beau and I celebrated the goodness we are fortunate to embrace. With thoughts of Danny, I am especially grateful for all he brought to me. His love for me and my love and respect for him endures. I saw him in every wave, every ripple, and every breeze on my cheek as our Windrider 17 ever so smoothly sailed the waters of my new hometown, here in southwest Florida.
From my Corsair F28, with my Marples 35 in between, to Ron’s homebuilt F31-9A to our newly purchased Windrider 17, we are tri ing again. Why not? Although for me it has been an intuitive, beauty in the eyes of the beholder, a trimaran is the way to sail. For those technies that need/want to understand their seafaring attributes from an expert, listen to Jim Brown’s podcasts. You can access them on ‘outrig.com’ Or simply google them.
Pictured above on the left is “Chiquita” Ron’s F-31, 9A that he built, sailed extensively around the mid Bahamas and round trip from Everglades City to Orr’s Island, Maine.
Pictured above on the right is Pete Kissel’s original Windrider 17 that he purchased in 2002. Now, the proud owner is me, the sassea sailor…. Actually, ownership is shared with me mate, Ron. We named her LC, ‘lil’ Chiquita.’ After all, compared to his former F9A she looks like a baby banana.