Hey kids! I’ve got so many exciting things going on and so much to share with you, I’m kind of stretching at the seams. Life is so full for this little sailor right now. While I do have big news I will be sharing soon, I have some almost-as-big news that I will be sharing NOW:
I’ve got my next book in the works!
It’s going to be a fun, quick read covering our colorful passage with the infamous Mr. “While You’re Down There” from Salt of a Sailor when we helped him bring his 30′ Nonsuch back home across the Gulf in June of last year. As a little treat for you all and continued thanks for your support through the blog, Amazon, YouTube and Patreon, I thought I would share with you a sneak peek of the working title, Prologue and photos I’m considering for the cover. I give you …
NONE SUCH LIKE HIM:
Mr. “While You’re Down There” Buys a Boat
Anyone else I could understand, but this was Mitch, Mr. “While You’re Down There.” There are just some people you know─and they can be very close friends, hearts of gold, good, salt of the earth people─but you just know, they should not own a boat. It’s just not a good fit.
Mitch can’t sit still for five minutes. He cannot not ask questions any time you do anything. “What’s that?” “Where does it go?” “Why are you turning it?” He’s got the best of intentions but he’s also got some sort of halo filter around his head that makes him perceive only his surroundings, only his emergencies. “Patience is a … “ you can start to say, but he’ll cut you off before you finish with a “Hang on,” a “Hold this,” or “Move.”
I know all of this because Mitch was the third member of our rookie crew during the shakedown of all shakedowns, when Phillip and I sailed our recently-purchased 1985 Niagara 35 back from Punta Gorda, Florida across the Gulf of Mexico to Pensacola in 2013. I say “rookie” because there were so many things the three of us had not done, or had not done together, which would have better prepared us for the passage. I, for one, had never sailed. Aside from a one-hour romp on another boat Phillip and I had looked at before settling on the Niagara, this would be the second sail of my entire life. That meant I had no sailing experience, no offshore experience, no experience to speak of at all. Everything was new to me. Sometimes I still have to wonder why Phillip let me come along. Maybe to clean and cook?
While Mitch had some sailing experience, he had never been on an offshore passage and he and Phillip had never sailed together, nor had he sailed a boat like ours. While Phillip was the most experienced of the three of us in handling a boat like ours, he had never captained a boat on an offshore passage and had never been on a passage this long before. And, as Phillip repeatedly stressed: “Every boat is different.” Meaning, no matter how much experience you may have, each time you step aboard a boat you’ve never sailed before, there is a learning curve. So, the three of us─Phillip, Mitch and I─were sailing a boat we had never sailed before, with a crew that had never sailed together before on a passage none of us had undertaken before. Nothing could go wrong, right? Wrong.
Plenty did and, while I’m not sure I would want it to all play out the same way again, it did make for one hell of a story. And, at the beating heart of it was him: Mr. “While You’re Down There.” He was easily the most colorful character on that trip, the loudest too. And while Phillip and I both will be forever grateful for his help in bringing our boat back home in mostly one piece, to be honest, the thought of Mitch with his own boat kind of frightened us. It’s just such a huge commitment. It’s a huge money pit. Plus, it’s huge! The image of Mitch barreling up to our boat in some thirty-plus foot tank shouting and trying to raft up gave me nightmares. “Hang on!” “Hold this!” “Move!” Then I woke to the sound of crunching fiberglass.
But it did not matter how many times we tried to tell him we just didn’t think it would be the right move for him. “Try a charter for the weekend,” we told him. “Don’t jump right into this,” we warned. It did not work. Mitch set his sights on a boat down in Ft. Myers, put in an offer sight unseen, hit the road and just went ahead and bought a boat while he was down there. Only Mitch.
But Phillip and I knew we had a debt to pay. Mitch had stepped up when no one else had or could to help us bring our beautiful Niagara back from south Florida, so he knew we would step up and do the same for him when it came time to bring his own boat home across the Gulf. While I was a little worried, I was mostly intrigued, entertained by the idea of making this passage again, this time with Mitch as the Captain. I knew one thing for sure. It would probably make for one hell of a story.
How about it? You ready to turn the page? I’m excited to hear what you think!
Cover Photos: Here are the cover photos I am considering as well. I have numbered them for easy voting, so please let me know in a comment below which one you like the best! Writing books … such fun! Happy to have you all along for the ride.
Eenie Meenie Miney Moe. Which do you like best? Let me know!