Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of this blog. Just over one year ago, August 23, 2012, Cindy and I signed the dotted line making Beatitude ours. September 21, 2012, we brought her into her slip at Regatta Pointe. December 28, 2012, we closed on our home, having sold most of what we possessed and began to live full-time on a sailboat. We purchased Beatitude with dreams of sailing off into the sunset and exploring the world (Perhaps, Cindy’s plans were not quite as large, but they have grown larger). How do we feel about our decision now? The other day, after spending most of the day working on the starboard heads (toilets), gagging and vomiting, not really solving any problems while creating a few more, Jim (my trusty boat repair person) asked, “So, how do you like living on a boat now?”
And the answer is… I’m as excited as ever. While knowing that living and cruising on a sailboat provides so much beauty and relaxation, I never suffered under any delusions that it would not present its own challenges and its share of hard work. I’ve spent a few hours over the last couple of days pouring over Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising Routes and World Cruising Destinations planning and dreaming of all the wonderful places to visit. I was thinking how we might take three years or so to explore the Pacific, crossing the Panama Canal, making our way to the Galapagos Islands, the many Islands of the South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia, perhaps Japan, the islands of the North Pacific, Hawaii, and finally making our way to Alaska from which we will work our way south along the U.S. west coast. Then, perhaps, we’ll take three or more years to cruise the Atlantic. We may make our way up the east coast of the U.S., head to Bermuda, the Azores, the Mediterranean countries rich with history (Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Egypt), perhaps even the North Atlantic before making our way back through the Canary islands and on to the Caribbean. Visits to South Africa and South America are also possibilities.
Discounting some unforeseen circumstance, God willing, this dream awaits us. Waiting is a difficult thing. On one hand, the past year has flown by, on the other we still have sixteen plus months left before Beatitude becomes a ship without a home port. In the meantime, we live on a sailboat in a marina. I drive an hour to and from work four days a week, which is not ideal, but certainly not all that uncommon. And, I am quite happy with this lifestyle. I love living on the water surrounded with beautiful scenery, serenaded by beautiful sunsets almost daily. I love being able to welcome family and friends on board and take them on brief sailing adventures. I love spending time with my wife. In our former home, in order to speak with each other, the easiest thing was to call on the cell phone, because we couldn’t find each other or couldn’t hear each other in our house. While some couples may not fare well being confined to smaller spaces with their spouse, I find it quite enjoyable. I still feel “supremely blessed.”
I’ve also become quite a bit more comfortable with the nuts and bolts of living on, maintaining, and sailing Beatitude. Despite reading all I could prior to buying Beatitude, I was quite overwhelmed with it all at first. I still have an awful long way to go, but my knowledge base has increased considerably over the past year. We have a number of repairs and upgrades we need to carry out over the next sixteen months. Some we have already accomplished, such as the acquisition and installation of new trampolines. As time moves on, an increasing sense of urgency compels us to plan more earnestly and work more deliberately.
One year into this adventure, I am happy with our boat choice. Cindy and I both love the space and openness of the catamaran. It would have been nice to have bought a new one, but, given our budget, we both think it was the right thing to do to buy a 42′ 2007 model instead of a brand new 38′-39′ model. We’ve discovered a few things that needed repaired that we didn’t know about when we bought the boat, but I think that would be the case with the purchase of any used boat. Most importantly, Beatitude feels like home. I miss her and am not comfortable when I sleep elsewhere.
I also feel good about our choice to live out the two years before cruising at Regatta Pointe. We had looked at several in the Tampa Bay area. For cost, location, amenities, and convenience, we felt Regatta Pointe to be a wise choice. We still feel that way. We’ve made a number of friends, some of which have already left on cruising adventures of their own, some soon to do so, others dreaming of doing so. Perhaps, we’ll meet up with all of them someday in some exotic place.
“Ships are the nearest things to dreams that hands have ever made.” – Robert N. Rose