This photo is of our last time on a mooring ball with our sailboat this past January. After three trips home since September and the past two seasons getting only as far as the Bahamas, we realized our sailing area had diminished substantially. It was time for the gorgeous Antares 44i we’ve called home for 6 years to carry new owners to far away seas. We sold Alberta Crewed quickly in February, and while the time was right for us to begin new adventures, selling the boat proved to be as daunting a decision as buying one. A boat is more than just a home. It is a cocoon of safety against the elements, a means to go to places rarely seen by humans, a magnet for meeting kind and generous people, and a relentless test of one’s mental and physical dexterity. Over time, one learns to recognize minute sounds and movements indicating all is well, or conversely that something is amiss.
We bought Alberta Crewed to stay on our toes and to travel. What could give us the same gift of adventure we received from her? Another boat. While preparing Alberta Crewed for listing, we stayed at our broker’s dock, next to a 34 foot PDQ power catamaran.
This boat has the same DNA as our sailboat from world-class designer Ted Clements, and was built in Canada. I had stepped on one while at the Miami sailboat show in 2007 and was impressed by its use of space and quality of construction. It is not a sailboat but will take us to quiet and shallow anchorages comfortably and in a fuel-efficient manner. Because she is 10 feet shorter and 5 feet narrower, everything becomes hopefully simpler; maintenance, maneuvering, and hauling out. The process to leave her for long or short periods of time is less complicated. We won't be going offshore but will instead explore shallower North American inland waters and more remote areas in the Bahamas.
Two kind and savvy sailors from Texas now own our sailboat and to our delight, changed the name to “Texas Crewed”. We transferred the name “Alberta Crewed” to our new boat and moved just down the dock.
I looked back on my first posting of this blog exactly 6 years ago entitled, “Displacement”. I used a quote from Robert Pirsig about a couple who had spent four years preparing to move on to their sailboat, and subsequently moved off within 6 weeks. They could not cope with the challenges and unpredictability of living aboard and I completely understand their decision. I think we did all right. We sailed close to 10,000 nautical miles and visited over 15 countries. We had neither illness nor injury and managed to keep everyone who came aboard safe and entertained. We always felt safe. I have a new found reverence for the kindness of the human spirit. Those with much less than we have helped us, gave us provisions, and made sure we were taken care of. Given our pathetic state of uni-linguality our only communication was often through smiles and gestures. I remember while we were in central Brazil and how Craig let me know that his friend, Eduardo, was coming over for a visit. How could they visit when neither spoke the other’s language? Smiles and gestures, for three hours. And they were just fine.
I’ll finish my brief sailing reflections by returning to Robert Persig’s article, written in 1977. It is difficult to summarize how much we have learned. I’ll be pondering that for the rest of my life. Persig gives a glimpse into how sailing “displaces” us:
“…those who see sailing as an escape from reality have got their understanding of both sailing and reality completely backwards. Sailing is not an escape but a return to and a confrontation of a reality from which modern civilization is itself an escape. For centuries, man suffered from the reality of an earth that was too dark or too hot or too cold for his comfort, and to escape this he invented complex systems of lighting, heating and air conditioning. Sailing rejects these and returns to the old realities of dark and heat and cold. Modern civilization has found radio, TV, movies, nightclubs and a huge variety of mechanized entertainment to titillate our senses and help us escape from the apparent boredom of the earth and the sun and wind and stars. Sailing returns to these ancient realities. “
We endeavor to stay displaced on our new boat as we head up the US coast this spring and finally into Canadian waters where we will explore the canal systems and waterways. We may not have sails but the winds, clouds, seas, stars, and dolphins still matter.