"...on a boat, way far away from the dock...with wind and the wind and the sky and everything!"
And THIS (click here) is exactly what I felt like!
As most things begin, it all started with a simple idea. The idea that we could sail off into the sunset. Lo and behold, people actually DO that! An innocent mention to a friend in Nantucket and we suddenly found ourselves at the Unites States Sailboat Show in Annapolis, MD. Three years later, our dream is, incrementally, becoming feasible. In that window of time, we've become boat stalkers. Cruiser chasers. Arm chair sailors. Magazine subscribers. Knowledge seekers. Information gatherers. All this with the intent desire to cast off lines, leave the pier behind and thumb our nose at the landlubber life. Yesterday, we finally got to do just that...although it was only for a few hours. But who's watching the clock?
Truth be told, we don't own a boat. Not even a trailer. A few surfboards, a Jeep that is in the sand at the beach more often than is probably good for the undercarriage, a mid-life Chrysler Challenger, 2 kids, 2 dogs, and a mortgage payment for our 7 acres of solitude along the Outer Banks of North Carolina...that's what we own. But that's not about to stop me from getting my feet wet and so the hunt was on. I needed to find some way to learn to sail and sooner rather than later. Russ, being dutifully dedicated to his job with the U.S. Coast Guard, had less time than I did to figure things out. Being that I'm self employed, I really had the majority of freedom to make things happen. And so, I networked. I read, I watched documentaries, I scoured the internet, I joined forums, I asked questions and I looked at more boat porn than any one woman should have on her iMac. (Disgusting habit, I know...)
After a lazy conversation with a Tartan & Hanse broker I happened to befriend, he mentioned Spin Sheet Magazine (one of the few I don't have on my coffee table) and beer can racing in Norfolk. That tripped the light bulb moment that had me happily meeting the wind in the Norfolk Harbor yesterday evening. An internet search later, I was staring at the website for Sail Nauticus, a community sailing program in downtown Norfolk, VA. I absorbed everything I could from their wonderfully sailboat laden website, threw my family in the car yesterday afternoon and exactly one hour and fifteen minutes later (as the movie goes) they "...had me at Hello."
Sail Nauticus is a non-profit organization that exists solely because of generous grants, funding and donations. As their mission statement reads, they are committed to positively inspiring, instructing and impacting Hampton Roads kids through the use of sailing and maritime sciences. Luckily, this spills over for adults as well and makes learning to sail and immersing yourself in the sailing culture an accessible and affordable opportunity. They have daily Sail Abouts, membership programs with a ton of perks, and corporate outings.
The end result of this is that we finally got our membership to a sailing club. We got our first real and genuine sail aboard a Harbor 20. I got to steer AND handle the mainsail. I'm finally a real sailor!
Tomorrow, I go back for a Women's Social Sail and get to learn even more. We are finally involved with a group of like minded people. People willing to teach, to mentor, to instruct and work alongside of you, no matter your experience level.
And so our journey begins. How very sweet and salty it is...