One year ago today (Dec 28), Cindy, our daughter, Mariah, and I arose early to finish cleaning our home, finish packing the moving truck, and finish lining the street with oversized bags of trash. We then made our way to the realtor’s office to close on the sale of our home. Afterwards, we drove the truck to Palmetto, rented a storage unit, placed the bulk of our few remaining possessions in storage, drove to Regatta Pointe Marina, unloaded the rest of the truck into Beatitude, and began living aboard a sailboat. This all happened on our youngest daughters 19th birthday (By the way, Happy Birthday, Mariah!)
One year later and Beatitude feels like home. Fortunately, I love being with my wife because we have a lot less space than we did in our old home. But, the boat is plenty big enough for the two of us. Our bed is very comfortable (in fact, as comfortable as our old bed and more comfortable than any hotel room). Would I want to live on this boat for years without cruising? No. Part of the allure of living on a sailboat is the ability to move your home wherever you want and explore all sorts of interesting places. We are now halfway through our two year wait before we begin our existence without a location which we call home. Home will be where Beatitude floats. Patience! Patience!
I’m rather pleased with our success in making long term plans and working to see those plans brought into being. From all the reading and education, to taking sailing lessons, to selling our home and one of our two cars, to buying a sailboat, to living aboard for a year, to making progress on becoming debt free, to all the other things which we’ve accomplished over the past year or two, we’ve come a long way.
Today, we decided to take Beatitude out for an anniversary sail. It had been six weeks since we last had the opportunity to leave our slip. Shortly after ten o’clock this morning, we eased out of our slip, made the one hour journey down the Manatee River, crossed Tampa Bay, and made our way out the southwest passage and into the Gulf. After journeying five or six miles out into the gulf we turned her around and returned home.
No busy agenda or stresses, but just a relaxing sail to shake the rust off. It was a pleasant sailing day with highs in the upper 70s and overcast skies. Winds ranged from 9-14 knots generally from the southeast. We had the sails up and the engines off for several hours of smooth sailing at mostly four to five knots. Our only real problem all day occurred when I saw a line swinging wildly from the top of the mast with a shackle attached to the bottom. It took me a couple of minutes to realize what had happened before seeing that it was the topping lift which had become unattached to the rear of the boom (The topping lift is a line which leads from the cockpit, up the mast and then angles to the back of the boom to support the boom. Without it the boom goes boom! When the mainsail is up, it holds up the boom and the topping lift is not needed… fortunately.)
I did have another fish on. It was big, of course, although I can’t tell you how big. It got away. I am still a novice at fishing by trolling off the back of a sailboat. It is a logistical puzzle to figure out how to bring a boat to a stop under full sail, while trying to bring in a fish. Today’s (almost) catch just kept taking more and more line. I was worried he would take all of it, but, before that happened, sad to say, he broke my wire leader. The sharp teeth I’ve seen on many of these salt-water fish are crazy sharp, but, the loss may have been due to an older wire leader which was a little rusty. Oh well, live and learn!
The following is a short video of a cool bell-ringing buoy. The first we’ve encountered. It doubled as a sunning station for a group of Anhinga, also known as “snake-birds.”