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Sailing Journey in the Making

Sailing Blog Index:

Preface
The making of...

Southbound

Lake Ontario
New York State
New Jersey
Chesapeake
Virginia
Carolinas
Florida
The Bahamas
Cuba

Northbound

Sailing Back
Miami Bound
Miami Beach
Key Largo
Gulf Stream
Beaufort, NC
Oriental, NC
The Squall
Dismal Swamp
Elizabeth City
Cruising Norfolk
Ocean City
Sailing to NYC
4th of July
Sailing Hudson
Grounding
Canals
Sweet Home

 
Toronto

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sailing journey

The beginnings are exciting and scary at the same time. My prior sailing experience consisted of two weeks of sailing with a friend and his dad when I was a teenager. If I remember it well, all I was allowed to do was to hold mooring lines while the boat was docking and do the dishes after dinner. But it was a beautiful summer venture nevertheless.

Years and years later I was up to my eyeballs in computer tech support job in Toronto and was about to go mad from daylight depravation and few other cubicle calamities when I stumbled upon a web site describing around the world sailing trip by a young (and loaded) couple from California. I was mesmerized and followed their adventures religiously. I also started attending boat shows - a bad idea when you are a poor immigrant.

How I came about this old 25 foot sailboat is a different story (click here), but as soon as I got my little 25 foot Hughes, I convinced my friend to plan together the trip around North America via Panama Canal to Vancouver, BC on the West Coast. It was nave idea, but got me seriously thinking of what it would take to go sailing. I was already hooked.

Over next few months I worked furiously on my boat replacing through holes, valves and anything that might possibly leak. The boat was gutted, no water tank, no engine and no electric panel of any sort, just a few berths and lockers. In the evenings I nursed a plastic globe figuring out where to sail and how long would it take. Dinner fork come really handy in those planning sessions marking a distance of one week between its teeth. By the time I figured out where I wanted to go my friend fell in love with a girl and soon was out of the picture; however I am pleased to report they are engaged, so my loss wasn't entirely in vain.

I was set on going nevertheless. While looking for a crazy enough friend to go with I researched what I could about canals, locks and ICW. I was emailing everybody I could and chatting up every guy in the marina who sailed anywhere outside of Lake Ontario. The reality was hitting hard by then and I was becoming painfully aware of my lack of experience and inadequacies of my boat for such a journey. Thankfully Johannes, my newly recruited German friend knew even less about sailing than I did and was blindly excited about the adventure. We both didn't have a clue what we were getting into. It was beautiful. I was so scared.

We held a goodbye party at a nearby pub. Everyone was told already that we were leaving so we were sort of at the point of no return. My stomach was in knots, but everybody else had a blast of a party which concluded on my boat with guys trying to rock it as much as possible and girls in high heels climbing all over it like hungry raccoons. I needed them all very much and I was glad they all came. Martin even brought his sister, Tobi, with him. This won't be the last time you hear about her, but for now it's a German and a Polak frantically making last minute repairs and taking off without any further delay.

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