To Be On the Water

I almost forgot how it feels.  I was standing in our saloon yesterday afternoon, looking out through the cockpit, and I saw the backdrop move.  The water, the buildings, a bird squatting on a piling─they all moved about an inch to the right and it caught me off-guard.  Imagine if you looked out the window of your house and everything you saw shifted over a few inches.  It would make you pause, right?  I had to do a double take.

Then I realized the backdrop didn’t move.  The boat did!  In the water, she moves!  Three months on the hard in the shipyard and I had forgot how that feels.  While she seems so unwieldy, so monstrous up on the jacks, in the water our boat is fluid.  She glides and bobs and sways, and I love that she does.  The fact that my future home is an agile sea traveler excites me.  Because she moves, she can take us to so many places.  I knew that this entire time we’ve been at the yard, but it was like I needed the boat to remind me.  And, she did.  With just a swift glide in the water.  It was like a playful nudge.  Look what I can do.  I stopped what I was doing and smiled.  Standing there (on our floorboards!) in the saloon, looking out on the water behind her stern, I let it all soak in.  Our boat is back in the water kids.  Oh the places we’ll go!

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And, she’s got new rigging.

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Oh, oh AND floorboards!  (What are those?)  No more bilge!

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We’re kind of (a little too) excited about it.

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Sooooo much more to come!

Thanks to all my Patrons who help me share this journey and help more people realize this awesome dream─to live, travel and be on the water.


#58: Corrosion You Cannot See

Not if it’s hidden behind the rigging.  Lesson learned here: If you’re going to re-rig, pull and inspect all of the pieces.  You’ll be shocked at what we found.  Bonus lesson: Lookout for that hammer.  He packs a mean punch.  Thanks to the boys at Perdido Sailor, Inc. as always, for sharing their time, tools and boat repair smarts.  Enjoy!

All goes well (knock on teak) we are set to splash tomorrow.  That’s right.  “Tomorrow, tomorrow!”  Sing it with me … you know you want to.

My next goal after that is to get my next Gift of Cruising prize lined up and announced on the website.  You can be a part of it!  If you’re enjoying the show, please give a little.  It helps us keep sharing our journey and help more people who want to cruise.  Thank you!

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#57: When Re-Torquing Keel Bolts: 250 = 180

At least that’s the decision we made after we broke the torque wrench hammering these guys down.  It was a bit of a project all told but we got ‘er done and were glad we did because we ended up discovering and righting some hardware wrongs once we’d dug into the project.  Note to viewers: Check your keel bolts every 3-5 years.  Thanks to the boys at Perdido Sailor, Inc. for coaching us DIY’ers along.  Enjoy!

Hope everyone has been enjoying the content.  I’m excited to get the next Gift of Cruising posted.  It’s been a crazy busy week at the yard.  But, look what I got some badassery footage of for you yesterday …

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Yep, our stick is back in the air.  I’m so happy I could just about get my own erection!  Ha.  I had to.  (You’re welcome Brandon.)  If you’re enjoying the show, get inspired and get on board and I’ll get my next Gift up soon.  Thank you!!


I Don’t Want Children, But I Want My Child

I once had a good friend tell me this.  She was a single mom who had her daughter at a very early age (eighteen) and raised her on her own through college and law school.  By the time she and I came to be friends, she was an established, reputable lawyer and her daughter was about to start high school, and she told me this statement over lunch one day.  


Sporting our “super serious” lawyer faces.  Love you Dottie!

I was actually talking to her about my impending divorce and all the things that entails─moving to a new house, dating, finding someone new and a re-assessment of my life goals─and I disclosed to her that I didn’t think I wanted to have children.  

“Oh, I don’t want children either,” she surprised me by saying, “but I want my child.”  


It’s a funny thing.  Once you bond with someone and they become ‘family,’ you can’t really undo the connection.  Why am I telling you all of this?  Because I’ve had several folks ask me since Phillip and I began sharing our re-fit with you all whether we wish we had bought a new boat.  More specifically, a good friend recently asked me over dinner: “Do you ever think about selling your boat and just buying a new one?”  I was actually taken aback by the question because my immediate, knee-jerk reaction was: “Never, absolutely not.”

Honestly, the thought has never crossed neither mine nor Phillip’s mind.  And, in trying to explain why that was my long-ago conversation with a wise single mother and her the seemingly-oxymoron statement about children came to mind.  Phillip and I can’t just “sell our boat” and buy a new one.  She’s family.  I had to laugh because the friend I was having dinner with had actually just been telling me about some troubles she was having with her teenage son and his─as she put it─”I have no clue what I want to do with my life, but I know everything and I hate you” phase.  So, I put it to her this way: “Do you ever think about trading your child in and just getting a new one?”

Like Phillip and I, she was taken aback.  It was a thought she had never possibly considered because you just can’t.  That’s how Phillip and I feel about our Niagara.  When you find “your boat” that’s exactly what she becomes: your child.  No matter how much she may irritate you, worry you, cost you, you never fathom the possibility of just giving up on her.  You can’t.  She’s family.  


It may sound cheesy, but it’s really the best way I feel I can put it.  Although much of what we are doing during these “times on the hard” are just necessary, every-so-often major things you have to do to a boat, it seems these projects seem a little frightening to those of you who are new to boat ownership.  Even if I were to couch it in those terms, purely for the sake of argument─i.e., that what we’re dealing with is a costly, project boat─if someone were to ask me why we hadn’t considered selling this “problem child” and buying a new one, my answer would be:

We don’t want a costly project boat, but we want our boat.  

Does that make sense?  Whether you have an old, 1960’s wooden schooner or a brand new Beneteau, she’s going to need maintenance.  She’s going to cost you time and money to keep her healthy and safe and she’s going to irritate you at times, make you want to curse and slap her.  


But other times she will bring you joy you could have never fathomed was possible without her.  Well-behaved or wild child, she is yours.  And for that reason, you want her.  


I don’t mean to belittle the question of whether we would prefer to hang up the towel and buy a new boat.  It is an honest response and inquiry from someone who has not yet found “their boat.”  But I thought─as many more of you likely have children as opposed to “your boat”─this could perhaps help you understand.  Phillip and I don’t want to spend our days in the shipyard.  We don’t want to spend more money than makes us comfortable on boat projects.  We don’t want to find a new potential problem area or another repair that needs to be done next month, next season or next year.  But, we want our boat.

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On a side note, in real time today is STEP DAY.  All goes well, we’ll be putting the mast back up this afternoon.  Can’t wait to see our little boat with her stick back in the air!  Cross your fingers all goes well.  “You better get to stepping!” Captain says.


#56: What Should You Reasonably Expect a Surveyor to Find?

“Why weren’t the rotten stringers uncovered in your survey?”  Many of you have asked this question so I thought it would be good to talk about this and pose the question to my followers as I am not sure the rot in our stringers could have been or should have been discovered in our survey, but I pose the question to you all so we can all benefit from the shared experience of fellow cruisers: What should you reasonably expect a surveyor to find?  Please let me know your thoughts on this, and I hope you all find the dialogue helpful.

Wow.  First Gift of Cruising Goal reached.  That’s exciting.  A big thanks to all who donated.  I will announce the next Gift of Cruising and put it up on the website soon!  You never know.  The next winner could be YOU!   (I’m kind of on a “Santa high” here.)  Get on board!


#55: First Gift of Cruising Winners!

This is it!  Our first Give the Gift of Cruising Giveaway and I’m so excited I could almost fart!  Almost …  Congratulations to Lance and Shelly Hopson, winners of our first Gift of Cruising: Pam Wall Cruising Consultant’s “Find Your Boat” Package!  I have unleashed Pam on Lance and Shelly and will be providing an update soon on their boat-shopping journey!  And a big thanks to Lance and Shelly for being such good sports about their video contribution.  (You’re going to die laughing!)  Enjoy!

I am super pumped now about giving my next gift.  Get inspired, get on board and let me know in the comments below what you think it should be!

I’ll pick a new gift soon and put it up on the website so you all can watch the new countdown.  THANK YOU to all who supported this awesome cause.  Plenty more gifts to come!


Boat Shopping Should Be Fun

“It should!  It should be a fun experience,” she said.  “Not a frustrating one.”  

Pam Wall told me this, just recently when I was speaking to her over the phone to get her contribution for the Gift of Cruising announcement video.  We’re getting so close I knew I had to get my ducks in order!  And, Pam said this sort of off-the-cuff, but it stuck with me:

“Boat shopping should be fun.”


Many of you out there may be boat shopping now or will be soon and maybe you’ve found the whole experience stressful, overwhelming, aggravating.  I’m here to say: “Don’t!”  The shopping is a fundamental part of the whole cruising experience.  You are finding your boat, your vessel, your ticket to world travel.  She will carry you, protect you, enlighten you.   Once you begin to sail her, learn her finicky ways, crack open her chest, her ribs and start working on all the tiny little wires and hoses inside, you will see she has a soul.  She will become the most integral part of your cruising plan.  If it takes time to find her, then it takes time.  Don’t rush it.  Savor every bit of the journey.  


Looking back on mine and Phillip’s initial boat-shopping days, I realize it’s a good thing I was so blissfully ignorant about the whole cruising experience then.  It freed me from over-analyzing the boats we stepped aboard and worrying too much about whether I would want a drop-down table or a permanent one, whether a separate shower stall was “a must” or whether we simply had to have a generator.  Because it was all so new to me and because I really didn’t know what life on a boat was going to be like, I just went with the flow and soaked it all in.  Phillip was saddled with the task of worrying about everything, but he really didn’t.  He had a few key features he knew he wanted.  Aside from that, all that was required was an affordable, well-maintained seaworthy yet fun-to-sail boat that “felt right” when he stepped aboard.  Those were his very words.  So, that was my only indicator: which boat “felt right” to me.  It eliminated all stress from the equation.  


This one certainly “felt right” to me.  The interior of our Niagara 35 before she was gutted at the yard.

With that factor gone, our boat-shopping experience turned into an adventure.  In fact, it was so much fun, the story that came out of the first boat we looked at─you may recall the tale of my very first sail, HookMouth and “I’m buried to port!”─still stands as my first post on this blog: February 16, 2013 ─ My First Sail.  It was also my first article published in Cruising Outpost and even made its way into my first Amazon best-selling book, Salt of a Sailor.  If a story that good can come out of it, surely it’s an experience worth savoring.  

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Pam Wall inspired me to write this post as I worried many of you who are boat-shopping now may be cursing the whole endeavor.  Maybe you’re finding it frustrating, irritating, stressful and my goal is to turn that around.  “Boat-shopping should be fun,” she said.  Try to treat each new boat you look at as worthy of being “The One,” assuming it─as it must─”feels right” when you step aboard.  If it doesn’t, give it the opportunity to at least become a great story to tell some day:

“Remember that boat we looked at in Tarpon Springs?”  

“Oh Lord …  and the owner.  What was his name?”

“Oh yeah.  Sammy the self-proclaimed snake-handling expert.”

You never know what can come out of it.  Savor it all.  Your boat is out there waiting for you.  I can assure you.  And, you want to find her, not a “she’ll-do” filler because you grew weary of looking.  Be patient.  

You can’t hurry love.


WHOA.  Only $10 more to go.  This is happening kids!  Who wants the last opportunity to say you were part of it when it all started?


#54: In Other News … Our Keel’s Falling Off

It kind of was.  And, I kind of weeped about it.  First follower to catch and comment on the “torch” snafu (trust me, you’ll know it when you see it) wins a shout-out in the next video.  And, question of the day: WHAT BROKE?  Enjoy!

Also, many of you asked, so shall you receive!  I have added a one-time donation option (right side-bar) to our Give the Gift of Cruising campaign on Patreon.  I will convert all one-time donations into weekly contributions toward our campaign goal.  Only $18 to go.  I have a feeling we’re going to meet our first mark this week.  Who’s excited?!  Me!  Me!

Get inspired.  Get on board.


#53: Buttered Up and Built Back Anew

Here we go kids!  From hot glue sticks to a plywood template to no-sh&* Coosa stringers buttered up and good as new!  Thanks as always to the hard-working crew at Perdido Sailor who allowed us DIY’ers to work beside them so we could learn the process.  Hope you all enjoy seeing our boat’s bones brought back to life!

WOW.  Only $30 to go to Give the Gift of Cruising!  You could be the donor that gets me there and then YOU could be the winner!  Shut up!  I’m serious.  GET ON BOARD!


I Don’t Miss the Office

They say you just have to write what you’re feeling, so this is what’s coming out.  Some days this whole HaveWindWillTravel gig is exhausting.  I am a one-woman film/write/edit production team.  I am my own camera crew.  GoPro goes everywhere with me, along with my mega-grip selfie stick.  I always have my laptop at hand to scribble down some musings or chapter intros.  I publish two videos per week, one blog.  I have two self-published books on Amazon that I promote and market.  I’m trying to get started on my third, but it never seems like there are enough hours in the day.  But you know what?

I don’t miss the office.

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Seriously, that was my cell, with the little path to my chair picked out between boxes upon boxes of records, depositions, transcripts and files.  The sheer volume of my obligations was literally stacking up and threatening to topple over onto me.  Some days I wake now and I feel a little pressed for time to review footage, complete a video, write a blog post or get any number of the other things I need to get done in between the time we are currently spending at the yard trying to get our little boat back in the water, but the “stress” from those obligations can never compare to the gut-wrenching, sweat-inducing pressure I used to put on myself while in the practice.

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I harbored such vivid fears of screwing up, disappointing my partners or blowing a case that it often made me feel sick and woozy.  I knew if a certain number popped up on my phone, it would be one of my partners asking me questions I probably could not answer.  If my assistant came into my office and said “We need to talk,” I believed it might be because I had made some major mistake in a filing that might severely impair my client’s case.  I sometimes flung myself awake at night worried I had missed an irreversible filing deadline or failed to ask the one singular most important question in a deposition.  I’m surprised I got much done I was so busy worrying.

Why am I sharing all of this?  I had a good friend say to me the other day, while I was buried down in the engine compartment of our boat, greased up, uncomfortable, contorted in pain trying to thread the tiniest nut on the end of a steering cable clamp:

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“I’ll bet you wish you were back sitting in an office right now.”

I stopped fiddling with the nut, I let my arms rest and I had to look at him and tell him: “No.  There’s not a day that goes by.”

I’m sure it surprised him a little.  But, while I still work incredibly hard to create and produce consistent, quality content to promote my books, my YouTube channel and my Patreon campaign, I no longer experience that gut-wrenching, stomach-convulsing fear and stress that I often experienced while “at the office.”  I am now in the driver’s seat of my career and I am now the only person I must answer to when assessing my work performance, progress and goals.  While I am very tough on myself, I no longer fear disappointing a partner, losing a client’s case or costing the firm millions.  The only thing I fear is disappointing myself which I have yet to do.  Even when the return on investment on my productions isn’t as impressive as I would like it to be, I am proud of what I created and garner immense pleasure from those who write to me and tell me they’ve enjoyed a video or one of my books or an article that I have written.  That is my true measure of success.

I hope you all have been enjoying the content!  If so, please support my Give the Gift of Cruising campaign on Patreon to help me create more and share the cruising lifestyle with more people.  Thank you!