Sassea Sails


Am I Confident

While staying at the house of my sailing friend, Dorie, I picked up a two year old copy of one of her professional journals.  A picture of a handsome bearded man caught my attention.  Apparently he was a journalist turned screenwriter. His name is Mark Boal and like me he asked himself a rhetorical question, “Am I confident?”

Unlike Mark’s answer to this question, which was ‘no,’ I am at least somewhat confident. Mark asked himself this question during an interview with Vanessa M. Gerari for a Fall/Winter 2016 article in the Columbia Journalism Review. Mark explained his position in these words. “You hit your thirties and you go fuck it. It’s now or never.”

Considering that I am 70, I had to laugh at his youthful spirit. If an interviewer asks me if I am confident about continuing my quest to sail alone to faraway places, my honest answer is ‘well sort of.’ My confidence is a mixture of yes and no.  I am certain I can afford to purchase a seaworthy sailboat. I am certain I can leave my house for a few years. I am certain I can sail.

Sailing and seamanship are different. I can make a boat go upwind, trim for speed, tack, jibe and drop an anchor.  Seasmanship requires much more than that. Am I smart enough to predict counter currents, weather and foreign aids to navigation? Sure, I safely entered and exited harbors alone while I transitted the Bahamas, Turks and Dominican Republic. My GPS was dependable.  What if it breaks and I have to rely strictly on visual navigation? Just writing about my seamanship insecurities is causing stress.

Pardon me while I take 5 deep breaths. 

In through my mouth, hold a second or two, exhale slowly. 

Again and again then two more iterations.

Wow, now in a more relaxed state I remember what John Marples, designer of my previously owned trimaran advised. Unhesitatingly he said, “Buy 2 or 3 portable hand held GPS units for back up.” Sounds like a simple solution (as long as the batteries stay charged).

Speculation about the myriad of wrongful possibilities leads to prevention planning. What better place to plan than here inside my 24-foot land yacht, outfitted by my beloved Ronald O, which his family generously left for me. So it is that my indomitable spirit proclaims it is now or never.

(PS, that is BEAR in the picture. He is my land yacht companion gifted to me from Colorado friend, Norine. He certainly looks better than a selfie of me at this hour of the morning).


Update October 14, 2018

About 15 days have passed since I ventured into this journey from my comfy country cabin in southern Colorado to the world’s best humidifier (Florida). Boat shopping and hanging with girlfriends and family has been a whirlwind. Regardless of how my days are being planned the norm is driving a minimum of 100 miles.

This journey’s purpose transformed from a vision into reality on September 28. After two days of drive/rest/drive/east in an iterative relaxing rotation, Bear, Teddy and I safely arrived at the Blue Water Bay Marina Complex in Niceville, Florida. Spending the night in their parking lot provided a welcome respite. I have all the essentials in my 24 foot long Mercedes sprinter van. The twelve day preparation period for this journey, as you may have read on my previous blogs, was an emotional nightmare.

From the daily trauma of waking up each morning in widowhood to budgeting for a preferred future, to appreciating family and friends, the journey reminds me I am a lucky gal. Those who I believe are my friends, are acting like friends. These woman live intriguing lives. From my sister who has become my best friend, to my sailing/dinner making friends Pat, Linda n Maryanne, to my ladies coffee and wine Wednesday crew, to my teaching colleagues and to my newest, most musically inclined cowgirls n hiking buds, Debbie, C. Phyllis, Marsha, Polly Judy, Mary, and Deb G.,,,,I am blessed. —oh yea and my cousins Ann, Necee and Nori are the best!

Just so everyone knows here is the immediate plan.

Nov. 4- 7 dentist and friends

Nov. 8- 11 sailing conference

No. 15 – 18 sailing conference

Between dates I am shopping for the next legendary sailing craft and visiting folks not yet on the schedule.

Also so you know this is the minimum boat criteria:

35 to 45 feet in length

cutter rig

bluewater, structurally sound

ready to sail,,,NO fixer upper

1stchoice – trimaran    2nc choice – catamaran                                                                           3rdchoice – solomaran….:-)



1 Day til Departure

Well, it’s too late, now, baby it’s too late to post anything with 1 day til Departure because I already left,,,

Here are some words to live by:

                 It’s not about the place, it is about the people.

                 You can return to the place and the people you cannot return to the time.

                From a young poet, Liam, “stay put and keep going.”

              There is no cure for love, Leonard Cohen

             Quarrels amplify misunderstandings.

            Men and women can discover new shores when they garner the courage to let go

            sight of the shore they have been clinging to.

At the Wonderful World of Chinese where I had my last lunch in SOCO with my hiking friend Polly, here is the fortune that was tucked inside my crispy dessert cookie:

If it is meant to be, who are you to change that?

The pix below is where I am at the Luv’s Fuel and Sleep Over somewhere between OK City and the infamous Dallas, TX.    Happy Trails,,,



2 Days til Departure    September 26, 2018

With less than 48 hours until departure the sentiment I have for our cozy comfy cabin is welling up. Locking the door behind me when I venture out to the van Thursday night will be packed with emotion. Seeing this house was love at first sight. Like the first time my eyes met Ron’s, a flow of adrenal ran rapidly through my veins. “Look,” I squealed, “a salt box house.”

ISqtfhreaslahe1000000000Ron stopped the van alongside the ditch on the right side of the road. Slowly he backed up to the driveway. A realtor sign was shadowed next to the wooded lot. Without hesitation we bolted out of the truck. Immediately I ran to the back door then all four sides of the house. I cupped my hands around my eyes to glimpse at the interior of the house.

Knotty pine planks lined the walls and ceiling. Stairs led to a loft. On the front side of the house two rectangular shaped windows adorned the upper level. “Ron, Ron, where are you?” I called out. I took a few steps back away from the front porch.  There he was checking the planks and nails on the metal roof. I continued to sneak peeks inside. The fireplace was centered in the living room. There were two bedrooms downstairs and the kitchen was plenty big for the two of us.

Climbing back down the ladder Ron suggested we leave before we get in trouble for trespassing. Quickly I dialed the phone # of the realtor. “Wynell?” I asked when a voice answered. “Hi, um, we are interested in the house you have listed. I’m not sure exactly where we are. The house is grey with a loft and a slanted roof.” She said to wait there and she would meet us in about an hour.

From that day on Ron and I did all we could to make life in southern Colorado the best place we ever lived. Now, in about 16 hours I will lock the door behind me and drive back to whence I came, maybe forever, maybe for just a visit.

3 Days til Departure

Only 3 days and two nights until I depart for my other home, Florida Today’s entry is going to be a speed blog. Besides this statement I am posting that make me happy. I have a gazillion more but in ten minutes I have to meet with someone who will help take care of my comfy cabin while I am gone.So, here is the list, Chanakah with family. My fav lifetime companions: Toodles, Teddy & Sassea, Friends from Everglades City, and Polly my hiking mate. A super fav pix of you know who during one of our marathon sleeping bag chronicles. Lastly, a model couple, Philip and Lisa who just completed their round trip Alaska excursion.



4 Days til Departure

Leonard Cohen, singer/songwriter, professes there is no cure for love. My question is: Is there a cure for a chaotic mind, loneliness, hyperactivity, grief, and desire. I don’t mean taking a pill to help focus on one thought at a time. I don’t mean doing something kind for someone less fortunate. I don’t mean meditation to slow one’s body down or  crying when the urge comes on doesn’t solve the grief process. And by golly why would want to get rid of desire. Each of these ideas have their merit. My challenge is to discover a one stop solution to all these ailments immediately.

Last night I became so overwhelmed I think I had my first anxiety attack. My hands were shaking while I paced from the kitchen. It was a mess with dishes, and newspapers, and pictures scattered on every space of every counter. Like a bull in a china shop I switched directions and stomped  to the other side of the house. Raging into the guest room where my clothes were piled so high the vibration caused a landslide.

Reminding myself to send some writings to my coach I ran upstairs to my office. After the 3rd iteration I noticed I still left out a whole section. With that awareness I forcefully pushed my harmless lap top up against the window at the back of my desk.  I practically knocked the wooden chair over while rushing to get out of it. Without a thought I pounced downstairs and made a cup of coffee; not just my typical morning joe when I pour boiled water over a paper filter filled with the cheapest store brand coffee I can find. i Nope. Last night I got on a stool and carefully removed my 3 cup French Press off the tippy top shelf. Delicately I rinsed it out. Then, using my hair dryer I made sure the glass decanter was bone dry. I then used my spritzer bottle of vinegar diluted with water to coat the container. Using a clean Brawny paper towel I again dried it. Lastly, I gave it a cool water rinse.

Slowly I transferred six heaping tablespoons of my favorite Dunkin Donuts Columbian coffee into the decanter. By this time the whistling tea pot was calling. Steamy, bubbly water streamed from the spout into the decanter.  The indescribable sound of the water stirring up the coffee grinds softened my mood. Finally, just watching the coffee and water mix while the steam penetrated my sinuses soothed my mind.

I forgot about the repeated e-mails to my coach. I sent my sister a text. Then, subconsciously I wondered into my bedroom, locked the door, and plopped on the bed without undressing. While my eyelids were closing I covered myself in my sentimental green Marmot sleeping bag that Ron bought me in Idaho while on our first cross country tent camping trip. Next thing I knew it was 5 am.




5 Days til Departure   September 23, 2018

        It is still dark, pitch dark. The only lights are distant headlights traveling along US Hwy 160, the southern route across Colorado from Walsenburg on the east, (a town few have her of), to its polar opposite in the west, Durango. A  caveat for living in this rural community is its thundering silence. At this hour, 4:20 am even the rabbits, deer, and occasional bobcat are lying dormant. Only the swish of a fastly moving car breaks through the muted air.  ISaxrs5f0b35ie1000000000

Stars are so faint it makes me think my cataracts have grown back. A house light across the valley twinkles from the gently swaying trees. Our yard is abundant with pinion, juniper and cedar trees. Hundreds of live trees as tall as our two story house decorate the landscape. There are many dead trees waiting to become firewood.

Ay, FIREWOOD, I better quit writing and get the already chopped firewood in the lean to I had built. With only five days til departure, I gotts a lot to do. See you tomorrow. Thanks for reading,,,

6 Days til Departure

September 22, 2018

Today’s entry is in honor of a great man, a real gentleman, Bill Haberland who is pictured here with his daughter Nancy. 

Yesterday started with a morning workout. I followed along with Beach Body’s Insanity Cardio Power and Resistance. Just going through the motions is a great way to get moving; it is never my expectation to keep pace with Shaun T, the leader of this series. After two weeks of falling off my healthy eating regime, this 45 minute regime got me energized.

A quick shower got my mood ready to wear my favorite jeans, tight fitting surfer’s rash guard and a baggy shirt to kind of hide my big bosom. My soak and wet squeaky clean hair was left to air dry on the drive to Trinidad. Yea, I was heading to Trinidad. Well, not the famous island. I was on my way to Trinidad, Colorado. The revitalizing town in the southeastern corner of this wild western country singing, dry desert in landlocked USA. Why leave my cozy home on this first day of cool 50F windy weather?  B e c a u s e,,,

Each Friday for a month now I have been taking ukulele lessons with Ike at his Music Shop. Each uke lesson is followed by a piano lesson with Addie. My progress is slow. Sometimes we talk about music theory, other times we do a 4-measure duet of a popular song. Other times Ike and Addie present me with a technique for skill improvement. Changing fingers as I descend and ascend the fret board is an a needed skill for playing the uke. The same principle applies to the piano, although your hands and fingers are obviously placed in a different orientation.

After my lessons I meet my friend Polly for lunch. Polly is my hiking partner. Due to work constraints and my limited days til departure, our hiking days have diminished. Yet our determination to meet again on the trail motivates our individual week day workouts.

I returned home from my music lessons. My strength was weakening. Not just my body, but my mind as well. I laid on the couch to watch the blue birds and doves flit about our yard. The phone rang. it was a friend inviting me to a free concert. Without hesitation I got up and readied myself for an outdoor Celtic music festival.

After listening to the ear piercing bag pipes, fiddle playing and Scottish brogue singer I retreated to my van. I checked my phone to see the time. On my iphone screen was a message. I clicked on the icon. Tears welled up, it was a message from Gail, Bill’s other daughter, not the one pictured.  Bill was my sunfish sailing coach, dance partner and dear friend who passed away several years ago. Gail was inviting me to stop and visit on my Florida trip. Tears immediately flowed.  I just sat in the driver’s seat and cried and cried. Her dad was a special man, a kind, gentle man who embraced me on an emotional level when my Danny died. He understood the pain of widowhood. He was a true friend, admired by everyone.

The fortune of having so many friends welcome me back to Florida is overwhelming. It is turning my fear into what could be the biggest crying jag of my life. Why do we cry? I don’t know, I just know Gail’s message touched my heart in the most endearing reminder of the bittersweet world in which we live.

And, now as I end today’s blog another friend, Alice, just now interrupted my thought with a message, “When are you coming to Florida?”


7 Days til Departure

7b79e9fec06c4665f03abdce693460d7With an uncertain future, as it always is, coupled with aging I had to include a plan to see my sister and brother to celebrate all we are thankful for. Doing so on the proclaimed day the pilgrims and Indians had their infamous turkey dinner creates problems. This is especially true for my brother who would be taking a commercial airline to attend our little rendezvous in Florida. He lives in Poughkeepsie, NY. A compromise between him, my sister and me was easily reached

With 7 days til departure stressing me to get done all I need to do to have a more stressless time away from my home, I at least have a date for ending my Florida adventure. December 1 I will begin the 5, or 6 or 7 day drive back to SOCO. That is unless I get picked up by a pterodactyl bird who carries me away to a far away land.



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