I had never been sailing when Geoff and I married. He had raced extensively in his youth, so when I mentioned one of my life goals was to be on a sailboat with a cabin, he offered to take me sailing one afternoon. He finally got around to it the weekend after we married. We pulled his old sunfish out of the garage, cleaned it up, and put it in the Atlantic Ocean. Dolphins swam along with us and we surfed the waves back to the beach. Geoff started to teach me the basics of sailing until, a few weekends later, I finally returned us to the dock on the lake.
We purchased a Victoria 18 which we took down to sail in Marathon and up to the Chesapeake Bay and everywhere in between. The boat was in good condition, simple to throw the sails up and down on, but the cabin was essentially storage for food, sails, and occasionally used to get out of the weather. Not good for longer than day sails.
We traded up to a Cal 21 which had a vberth, a port-a-potty, and a little more storage, traveled the SC coast, and then crossed the Everglades several times. The swing keel on the Cal meant we could get through the shallow paths in the Everglades and then out into the ocean to swim the reefs.
While we were traveling around with the Cal, we purchased a Catalina 30 which we fixed up and moved onto while living on the lake. We lived on the Catalina for five years, sailing several times a week on the lake and entertaining regularly. The Catalina had been my dream boat while studying for law school exams, which just goes to show how little I knew about sailboats!
We did a year traveling the coast on a Cape Dory 25-D, but that boat had bad feng shui and when it was struck by lightening and sustained major damage, among other mishaps, we threw our hands up on it.
In the spring of 2016, we decided that maintaining both a home boat and a vacation boat was difficult, so we sold all our boats and bought a Com Pac 27. Less space than the Catalina, but a much nicer layout and significantly more storage. We moved Brave Dragon to the coast and have been working our way around the Great Loop (very slowly). Since we’re both still working, we are largely at marinas during the week and then move on the weekend, but we both enjoy staying in a place long enough to get to know it, so we’re often a month or more at a favorite stop.
When the weather changes and it is no longer beautiful where we’re sailing, we try to escape to explore other areas of the country, generally inland where the boat cannot reach. In addition to sailing, we camp, fly, canoe/kayak, RV, and more (basically if it’s a fun way to go, we like to go). We work hard to balance the desire to explore the world with the advantages of building a community and getting to know people and places in a deeper, meaningful way.
Lawyer, scientist, sailor. Geoff had the racing experience, knows how to fix up the boats, and maintain the engine (and seems to enjoy doing so since he keeps buying us fixer-uppers). He’s the social one, the cook, and the one who still can’t quite believe that he has achieved his high school dream of “having a boat with a bunch of women.”
Our home-loving well-trained Brittany, a perfect show dog until her adult K-9s came in backwards, Elli joined us over eight years ago when we lived on Lake Murray. She got caught in a thunderstorm on the ocean with us shortly thereafter and hasn’t been a huge fan of sailing since. Motoring is fine, but if we put the sails up, she looks at us like we’re crazy and goes below. She’s also always the first off the boat when we dock somewhere.
Reader, daydreamer, world traveler. While I may not have the sailing experience, I was a world-schooled, Montessori kid, traveling around with my parents via plane, train, and boat. I’m comfortable exploring a new area and am the organized one who makes sure all the details are in place.
Our newest crew member is currently a tractor-driving ballerina. She’s a monkey who climbed the companionway ladder well before she turned one and currently really, really wants to get on and off the boat by herself. She’s grown up living primarily on the boat and exploring with us and is incredibly comfortable in a variety of situations as a result. She’s also an avid kayak-rider, dolphin-watcher, and plane-spotter. She swims well and loves the beach and we are looking forward to mixing traditional education, homeschooling, and exploring the world with her.