A HUGE thanks to my many pre-release readers for taking the time to review my little rock (which has since been polished to a gem!), provide substantive feedback, help me pinpoint and correct some errors and help shape this story into the enlightening, funny, entertaining piece it is today. I couldn’t have done it without you all. Plus, it was fun to welcome you all into my world (busy, ain’t it?) and share this writing process with you. I hope to write TWO books while I’m crossing the Atlantic!
Now, for the fun TRIVIA. A free signed hard copy (proof above — I’ve got ’em in hand) goes to the first HaveWind follower to answer correctly in a comment on the blog below:
What was the dish we made during this hapless crew’s first passage together on our Niagara back in 2013 that gave our good buddy Mitch such tummy troubles?
I hope you enjoy this story. I definitely saw myself in Mitch many, many times. We’ve all been there! Boats (particularly old but new-to-you ones) can give you plenty of grief!
Enjoy the salty sequel! I now have three! How cool is that?
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!
There she is! My first (but certainly not my last) real, live published book about sailing.
Available in hard copy on Amazon HERE or Kindle HERE.
I can’t believe it was only two meager years ago, in February of 2013, that I first set foot on a sailboat and headed out for My First Sail. Now, here we are, February, 2015, and not only have Phillip and I found the pretty-much-perfect boat for us, but we sailed it all the way down to the Keys and back. While we have closed the chapter on our first Keys trip, we still have many adventures, boat projects, refits, upgrades and future trips planned to share with you. This blog has served as such a source of inspiration, support and motivation for me. Having followers like you thank me for giving them the opportunity to live vicariously has encouraged me to keep traveling, keep collecting stories and keep pursuing this challenging but rewarding craft of writing.
If you have found yourself, even just once, chuckling to yourself while reading this blog (because, let’s face it, in truth, LOL’ing is really quite rare), I, without any hesitation, guarantee you will enjoy this book. It’s not a shameless plug if it’s an accurate one. While the blog is a great platform for me to recount our numerous tall (and small) tales, it doesn’t allow me to tell you the full story, with all the necessary details and smells (those are important) that will really put you there, on that salty, swaying boat with us. You may recall parts of the main story–our first harrowing passage across the Gulf of Mexico in the boat–but you didn’t get the critical back stories–the tobacco wad and the maxi pad, the piss and the pom-poms, the Malt-o-Meal in New Mexico, not to mention Runt and the sunken truck. My God! You need these to truly understand what it feels like to be out there and what it takes to make a sailor truly “salty.” Many a fine book began as merely a fine blog, so you might have seen this coming. But, I guess you can say, in that regard, that I’ve been sweating and laboring over this for years and I hope it shows. If you’re inclined, don’t wait. Buy it. Read it. If you like it, write a review and tell others whom you think would enjoy it to pick up a copy, too. Know that I’m thrilled you enjoyed it, grateful and humbled by your support and that I’m working hard writing the next one for you.
While I still have the stage (I know, I know – thank your parents, your spouse, the Almighty and get off – I’ll be quick, I promise), a big thanks to fellow Amazon publisher and author of many a-riveting sail tale, Ed Robinson, for giving my book an early review, offering some critical editorial insights and providing an endorsement for the back cover:
“If you’re thinking about buying your first sailboat and making it your own, you need to read this refreshingly honest tale.”
I highly recommend Ed’s “Poop” book, along with a roll of toilet paper to dab at the laugh-till-you-cry tears. Much gratitude to loyal follower, Casey, as well for the thorough manuscript scouring and insightful edits. And, finally a heartfelt thanks to Amazon for giving budding little doe-eyed authors like myself the opportunity to self-publish. Anyone can write anything and put it out there for anyone in the world to read. What a fantastic concept.
Without further adieu–imagine this with some great Hollywood score playing in the background and dramatic, captivating sail footage, like a kickass movie trailer …
“Had I ever sailed? No. Did I think that mattered? No. I had endured enough uncomfortable and arguably dire situations that I felt I had whatever grit and guile I needed to handle this silly sailing stuff. I parachuted with a sheet, drove a car that started with a screwdriver, swished with hydrogen peroxide. I rode horses, climbed rocks, leapt off cliffs. I spent summers in the sleeper of a big rig. I ate Malt-o-Meal. Surely these were excellent traits of a sailor. Surely I was salty enough. I fancied I was. Either way, we were going to find out. The time to go was now. All we needed was a boat.”