In the beginning, there were ripping tides, J boats rides, a beautiful bay front, a watchful lighthouse, full moon cruises, a roaring inlet, oh so much Bush beer, and these guys….
It all started in St. Augustine when a co-worker asked me if I’d ever been sailing.
“No” I told him,
“We should go sometime, I could teach you” he said
“Yeah?! let’s go!”
“I’m serious.” he said
“So am I!”
That was that, by the end of the week I found myself at the helm of a J-24, my life forever changed. It’s hard to explain, the experience I had when I first felt the sails fill, the boat tune in, slicing forward through the water only the sounds of birds and the wind in my ears. I can’t tell you why it was so much more than just sailing a boat. It was a great AAH Ha moment, a real stars aligning, treasure finding, mind melting realization of a moment. I think it may have been the single most insanely clarifying moment of my life; I didn’t know the first thing about sailing or sailboats, but in that instant I knew it was for me.
The year that followed was full of sailing and I couldn’t get enough. I was extremely lucky to have a group of friends who always wanted to get out, one of which had regular access to a J-24, a Catalina 30 and a Cape Dory 22. We started racing the J-24 in the yacht clubs Wednesday night “Beer Can” races. We took night cruises on the Catalina whenever the moon was full, we sailed to our hearts content, in the river, out the inlet, offshore, whatever the weather was good for. I learned a lot rapidly, and at the end of the summer 4 of us who had all been learning together took a basic keel boat certification course. The biggest benefit of the course? I could now talk the talk. I had already acquired most of my basic skills from my time on the water, but I was lacking in my vocabulary, I wasn’t fluent in sailor speak. Suddenly I was able to communicate about this new passion and I started tearing through sailing literature with new understanding. The books inspired me further, growing my love, all I wanted to do was get on a sailboat and be able to keep going, no turning back!
Awe the frustrations of being a dreamer. Life of course was still happening all around me and as much as wanted to just cast off all ties and sail away I had things to take care of before I could make that happen. I finished college and hung around St. Augustine awhile longer. I had an amazing summer teaching kids how to sail on Opti’s and Sunfish . Then the hunt for the “real job” began, but while I hunted a “real job,” I also started hunting sailboats. I didn’t know were my job hunt would lead, but I knew that a coastal city was as mandatory as finding the job. I had a plan to get my hands on a sailboat just as fast as I possibly could.