#44: The Gift of Cruising

Big news kids!  I’m going to give an invaluable gift of cruising to one of my Patrons.  If you all help just a little, I can give something very BIG to one of YOU.  I believe this is the best way to use my Patreon funds to give back.  Get inspired.  Get on board.  And GIVE!

I hope you’re excited about this idea because Phillip and I sure are.  We kept beating our heads against the wall trying to think of a better way to use Patreon, which is an awesome platform, in a new, creative way to really help people.  I wanted to set up some rewards for my supporters and, to be honest, I felt guilty saying “Help us get to $100 so we can get a drone,” “Help us get to $200 so we can go to Cuba,” etc.  Why?  Because, it’s not about us and our needs.  It’s about you.

Many of you may agree and many of you will find when you begin cruising that cruisers are some of the most helpful people you will ever meet.  I will continue to share our journey and progress through blog posts and videos, because I love doing it and I believe in it.  The free sharing of helpful information is one of the best aspects we have found about the cruising community.  Hundreds have helped us and we want to give back.  We want your dollars to enable us to help others not just help ourselves.  

Phillip and I made the decision a long time ago to cruise and we are working very hard to do that because we have found it to be an incredibly rewarding lifestyle.  Life on the boat is smaller, more meaningful.  In my view, it is an infinitely better way to spend the only commodity I believe we really haveour time.  I have had many people who read Keys to the Kingdom and wrote to me expressing the same sentiment.  They also want to change their lifestyle, focus on living with less while enjoying more and finding a more meaningful way to spend their time.  In short, they too want to cruise, so I have decided to use Patreon to help them.

I am going to give the Gift of Cruising to one of you.

My ultimate goal in all of this, the videos, the books, the blogs, is to share cruising with others, make folks understand the ups and downs and realities and rewards of it and get more people out on boats exploring the world.  We each have our own hurdles and obstacles holding us back and I want to give one of you that little nudge that makes this year the year you make the shift to really do it─go cruising.

So, what’s the first step?  We need to find you a boat!  I have many followers ask me what kind of boat I think they should get or what I think of certain models and layouts.  While I appreciate the credence they are giving me, I have to admit I feel like such a novice when it comes to this because I am truly only familiar with one type of boat─our Niagara 35.  For this reason, coming soon in the videos I plan to take you all on tours and show you the different types of boats we see out on the water and talk to their owners a bit for you so you can learn why they chose the boat they chose, how they use it or how they would improve it.  Learning about the different features and systems on different boats is key to helping you choose the right boat for you.  But, while learning about boats is key, it’s not enough.  What I really want to do is see one of you find your boat this year.  Hell, maybe you’ll be rigging and readying your boat to toss the lines when Phillip and I do this October.  I would love to see that happen.  With your help, I can.  

Here’s what I plan to do.  One of the first things I always recommend to anyone looking for a boat is to contact Pam Wall.  

Pam Wall and Jaime Wall sailing onboard Kandarik in Biscayne Bay, FL.
Pam Wall and Jaime Wall sailing onboard Kandarik in Biscayne Bay, FL.


For those of you who do not yet know Pam, she is a seasoned forty-year sailor, a circumnavigator, a speaker at all of the big time sailboat shows and the most knowledgeable boat owner I have ever met.  She was the cruising consultant for West Marine for years and she now offers her highly specialized skills in finding the right boat to folks just like you who are getting ready to go cruising.  Her “Find Your Boat” package is $1,000 and well worth every penny.  

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Pam will help you determine what types of boats will be right for your cruising needs.  She will scour boat listings, review and provide her opinion on any boat you want to consider. If you want to bring her out to the boat, she will inspect the vessel from bow to stern and provide you with her detailed thoughts and opinions.  Pam will also help you line up a surveyor and vendors whom she knows and trusts to perform repairs if necessary.  She will essentially be with you─an expert sitting on your shoulder─through every step of the boat buying process.  I mean, really?!  While we had a fantastic broker when we found our beloved Niagara, I know we would have benefited from Pam’s input as well.  Heck, she might have lifted the floorboards and found our rotten stringer.  Ha!

I want to give the gift of Pam’s knowledge and cruising skills to one of you to help you find your boat and follow your dream.  I want to see one of you in a boat this year accomplishing your cruising dreams, be it dropping the hook with your family for weekend outings or small trips or shoving off like Phillip and I for southern climates this coming season.  That is my goal, and I can do it with your help.  I’m going to do my part by donating toward Pam’s “Find Your Boat” package, Pam is going to do her part by stepping in to help one of you find your boat.  Now all we need is you, just a small donation from each of you to help support the cause.  Once my Patreon level reaches $200, your contribution will be enough to match my donation to get Pam working with one of you to help you find your boat.  Thousands of folks are watching these videos.  If you’re watching because you, too, have the desire to cruise, then I’m talking to you.  If only a fraction of my viewers give just a few dollars a week, I can do this.  What an awesome thing to be a part of!  

And, we will follow the lucky Patron as Pam connects with him or her and starts working her boat-finding magic!  We all will get to see the different boats they consider and watch as they inspect certain vessels, reject others and ultimately decide on and purchase a boat.  You will get to watch the entire journey develop.

And, I won’t stop there.  After the first gift, I’m going to give more.  I will set another goal and seek out other cruising “gifts” to give.  If you have any ideas or want to donate something for me to give one of my Patrons, I’m all ears and open arms.  This is about getting everyone “inspired and on board.”  I hope, at the next benchmark, perhaps I can send one of you to an on-the-water sailing seminar at one of the big boat shows, or give you a free ASA certification course or perhaps send you on one of Andy Schell’s offshore passages.  How effin cool would that be?!  It just takes a small donation on your part to help me give a very big gift to one of you.  You never know, it could be you!  Get inspired.  Get on board.  



“You’re Famous”

So, Phillip heads out one day to grab us some fish at Joe Patti’s here in Pensacola.  If you have not been to this place … My God!  It is like the fish mecca of the southeast.  I’m serious, there are at least 30 different types of fish splayed out.  Many I have never heard of and some I can’t properly pronounce (although that doesn’t really stretch things), but they also have oysters, lobster, crab, scallops, squid, lizards eyeballs (probably, if you asked them), and the whole process of getting a number, being called in order, often by Frank Patti himself (and often with a little quip about your appearance that rhymes with your number: “Seventy-Four for the gal by the door” and which get more inappropriate the ‘purdier’ you are) is mesmerizing.  There are so many walks of life milling about, polished businessmen, bumbling little old ladies, loudmouthed redneck couples, big jovial black folks.  There are about as many different types of people as seafood.  The workers all tromp around in big white rain boots and if you peek in the back you’ll see an army of skilled Vietnamese women hacking up huge seventy-pound tunas like they were conducting an orchestra.  Honestly, you just never know what exactly you’re going to see when you walk in the door.  Lucky for you, I had GoPro with me one day.  Here’s a glimpse:

So this is the melting pot of people that Phillip dove into one fine day to pick us up some salmon to cook for dinner.  He’s milling about in what I call the “pantry” area, where they keep an impressive stock of spices, seasonings, sauces and such to doctor up all those fish, and he gets a tap on the shoulder.  Phillip turns around to face a total stranger, seemingly harmless but a stranger all the same.  He looks to be about mid-fifties, curling his hat in his hand and looking curiously at Phillip.

“‘Scuse me, are … are you a lawyer?” the man asks Phillip.

Phillip laughingly told me when he relayed this story back to me at home that he was in no way wearing “lawyer clothes” (whatever those are) so he wasn’t sure what tipped this guy off other than perhaps the bag he was carrying.  Phillip is an attorney and, in an effort to help locals shop a little greener, his firm had some insulated re-usable grocery bags made up that we often use when we’re out shopping.  Phillip thought maybe the law firm logo on his bag made the guy guess at his occupation.

“Yes,” he said, wondering where this was going.

“Do you have a sailboat?” the man asks.

Now Phillip is really intrigued.  While his lawyer bag may have been a clue as to his occupation, what on his person screamed “I have a sailboat” he really could not say.  That I’m buying fish?, Phillip thought.  But so is everyone else here, his mind bantered back to him.

“Yes, I have a sailboat,” Phillip answered slowly, debating whether to ask “Why?” or just to let this play out.

“Is it called Plaintiff’s Rest?” the man asks, offering yet no explanation for how he knows Phillip has a sailboat and now how he knows it’s called Plaintiff’s Rest.

“Yes,” Phillip replied, leaving a bit of an awkward silence between the two men.

“Well,” the man starts in, a slow grin finally starting the melt through, “you’re famous!”  His hand lands firmly on Phillip’s shoulder as he tells him he’s been following my blog and now the videos for a while and that he recognized Phillip the minute he walked through Joe Patti’s door as the esteemed Captain of s/v Plaintiff’s Rest and he just couldn’t let him leave without telling Phillip how much he’s been enjoying our adventures.  “That Annie.  She’s a hoot,” he says.  Phillip and I got a hearty laugh out of the exchange when he came home and told me about it.  Turns out, I’m not the famous one.  Phillip is.

But, while that story is fun, I share it to tell you this: fame is not at all what we’re after.  However, because it seems we have, by sharing our journey, built an audience, we want to use it to help bring more people into the simpler, more meaningful lifestyle of cruising.  That’s right.  We want to help people who want to cruise toss the lines and get out there, and we have BIG PLANS we will be announcing soon on the videos to do just that.

One of the things we have found most rewarding about cruising, writing and sharing our adventures is the connections we have made and continue to make with other cruisers.  It is the sharing of knowledge, similar experiences and lessons learned that has really enriched this adventure for us and has motivated us to continue to share our journey.  We have had so many fellow cruisers help us, by lending a tool at the anchorage, referring us to a trusted marine vendor, sharing a learned-the-hard-way work-around when we’re facing a difficult boat project, or even just inviting us over for sundowners and sea stories.  Phillip and I have found the cruising community to be one of the most welcoming, helpful, rich bodies of people we have ever met and we want to use those connections and our audience to help more people follow their dream of cruising, even if it’s just one person at a time.  To all those who have lent us a dinghy pump, referred us to a great marine repair guy, shared a hard-learned modification, had us over for cocktails and the hundreds of others who have helped us along the way, know that we are incredibly grateful and that we plan to pay it forward.  For those of you dreaming of cruising, get ready.

Big news will be splashing soon kids.  Stay tuned!


Thanks to my Patrons who help me share the journey.  Get inspired.  Get on board.