Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sailed Away

Don't look back
A new day is breakin'
It's been too long since I felt this way
I don't mind where I get taken
The road is callin'
Today is the day

No more dreaming. This seat is now available.
A sincere thank you to all our family, friends, acquaintances and all you internet people for all the years of support for our "crazy" adventure. Listening and reading about our dreams had to be a bit too much at times, but you all had a hand in this, so if it all goes to hell you can feel just a little bit responsible ;)

Thank You

Paul and Debra
S/V Kelly Nicole

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Any day now..

With just some minor details to work out, we are pretty much good to go for the start of our cruising life. For those readers not up on the lingo, cruising is what old sailors do when they don't race anymore. Actually cruising is hard to define as many different people cruise in many different ways. You can cruise in an RV, motorcycle, bicycle, powerboat, horse and buggy, car, roller blades, plane, train, kayak, shopping cart or sailboat. You could also board a giant floating hotel filled with thousands of people motoring to distant shores, usually puking for various reasons from food virus, sea state or liquor. Cruising is a way for people to get out and about; to leave the mundane; to break away from the TV, the internet and working for the man. To get out there for some fun and adventure meeting new people in new places.

We are not strangers to cruising. We have sailed south from New York to Florida, but that was a five week delivery. I'm referring to our Lake Ontario days.
We have cruised to the Thousand Islands on the East end of the lake and to Toronto on the west end. Some times with the kids and sometimes without.
We have had twelve to fourteen hour days at sea. Yes, the great lakes are inland seas. Just ask Ted Turner*. The family has experienced nine footers off the bow in our Hunter 34 for a whole day and Debra and I have been in ten foot seas coming back from Toronto in the M44. This was a day when the Coast Guard said we must be the only people out on the entire lake today. I thank him for not saying idiots. The video does not show the wave height very well and we were not even halfway into the day of terror at this point, but it was the only time I could let go of the wheel. By the time we got near Sodus Bay the waves had doubled. Debra and I have both handled boats for hours at a time in heavy weather without autopilot. We still do this.

I have been racing in a gale with twelve foot seas holding onto the stays of a C&C 35 to remain aboard. The girls and I have even cruised down the Connecticut River in a Sunfish for forty miles, camping along the way. Actually it was a series of races for two days. We took second place one year, losing first by a crash jibe that flipped the boat in thirty knots of wind. As fast as I've ever gone in a Sunfish.

So, we are not without experience, but I must tell you that this upcoming adventure is making us a little nervous. We know when we untie these lines that we are officially leaving our previous existence, which for the last few years has basically been living in a floating house tied to a dock. We are boat people no doubt, but we have been static. Moving brings decisions, planning, weather watching, boat handling skills, and patience. We have had it easy for too long and change will come quickly. Are we ready? I think so. If we stay static any longer we might as well just get jobs and become the old couple on D dock. Ain't gonna happen! We will just have to force ourselves away from the dock and go with it. The longer we are out there, the more comfortable and confident we will become.

I am excited and itchy to get going, yet jittery. Deb feels the same way but perhaps a bit wary of what's in her immediate future. She knows it will be different without deadlines and commitments. A nice relaxed pace will be completely new to us. Sure weather will impact us but we will have time to plan for it and not get caught in a bad place. I think it's knowing that everything we have is encased in this fiberglass hull which is subject to mother nature's indifference, is what makes Debra a bit concerned. That and the fact that we are out of practice in our boat handling and sailing skills.

It's kind of a freak out knowing one bad decision could leave you homeless. Nice thoughts eh? On a positive note, there are so many cruisers out there with way less experience than we have and they are doing great. I think I would be worried if we weren't nervous. No one gets slapped harder than a cocky sailor.

We will let our kids know when we leave but I'm not sure we will post anything until we stop somewhere along the way south. To me it's bad luck to announce your departure but I am a little quirky.
Yes, we are going south while everyone else is going north. Why not? We hate crowds and I don't see the point in venturing into the cold evenings when it's the best time of year in Florida for boating. So we will take our time.
We are not riding out hurricane season down here. We plan on being in the Chesapeake for the summer, sailing our asses off while avoiding crab pots. Hopefully we will run into a few of you while we are up there. Not literally of course but I will tack to starboard just to piss you off so stay alert.

Because it is a new chapter in our lives I was toying with the idea of changing the blog title. Latitude 43 does not make much sense any more, but I guess it has some history and it is where we started from, so I'm really not sure I want to change it. If anyone out there has any suggestions for a new blog title let me know. A really good one might make me change my mind. Feel free to express yourselves :)

See you on the water!

*But it is Turner who is perhaps most famous for underestimating the race. Having never sailed the Mac before, Turner was warned that Lake Michigan can dish up some particularly challenging conditions at times. Having thousands of ocean miles under his belt, Turner’s reply was akin to a guffaw: “Yeah, I’m really scared.” Later, with his 12-Meter American Eagle and his crew bruised and battered in a fearsome northerly gale, Turner famously proclaimed, “I hereby publicly retract anything and everything I have ever said about inland sailing.”