S/V Freewind

You may have noticed a different photo at the top of the page. That is s/v Freewind, and she is MINE!!! It seems that 2014 really is Adventure Time.

After realizing in early December that I needed to be living on the water, I began searching Craigslist for a boat. I knew I wanted a boat around 30 feet, and I did not want a “project boat.” While I knew that my budget would mean buying an older boat that would need some work, I wanted one that was structurally sound, and able to take out sailing now. I’d read an ad for a boat that seemed to be close to what I wanted, then begin researching that particular model online.

In mid-December I looked at one, and the minute I saw her, I knew it would be more work than I wanted to put in on the front end. It did give me a chance to get onboard, really look around at the layout, poke around the systems, and ask a lot of questions.

Just after Christmas I looked at boat #2. This one had much more potential; in fact, I went back on New Year’s Eve for a 2nd look, and took along someone who has worked as a boat surveyor. This boat was in much better shape than the first one, yet still needed a lot of work. On the way home I realized that it was not the right boat for me.

Then a funny thing happened. I stopped looking. I spent the next 10 days getting ahead on my work and making plans for restructuring my business. I was happy and enjoying walks on the beach.

And then I felt it was time to look again. I saw an ad on Craigslist, called, and set up a time to look at her.


Freewind on the hard

My big must haves – structurally and mechanically sound – were met. She needs some interior work, but it is cosmetic and be done along the way. My biggest concern was her center cockpit, which is very unusual for a 30 foot boat. It was a different layout from any other boat I had been on and you have to stoop down to walk to the aft cabin. I wasn’t sure she was what I wanted.

What a lovely view from the cockpit!

What a lovely view from the cockpit!

For the next two days, I thought and debated and weight the pros and cons. I read information online about center cockpit boats. (Seems people either love them or hate them.) I realized that if she had an aft cockpit, I wouldn’t be hesitating. I would be getting another look and probably buying her.

Then I had my moment of clarity. I needed to be clear about why I wanted a boat. Did I want a boat I could live aboard and learn to sail and cruise up and down the east coast and take to the Bahamas? Did I want a blue-water boat that would take me all through the Caribbean and on longer offshore passages? Or did I want a boat designed for crossing oceans?

While I’m not sure how far I want to sail, I had always thought it best to buy a boat that could go anywhere just to keep my options open. I worried about buying a boat that would limit me, and not being able to sell it and buy another one if I wanted to. If that was truly what I wanted – a boat that could go anywhere – then I had to be prepared to wait longer to find one, spend more money, or buy one that would require a lot more work on the front end. That would also keep me living on land and not sailing.

And with that realization I had my answer. I want to be living aboard and sailing. Once I am doing that, I will know what my next step is, and if I need a different boat, I trust that one will be there for me.

I made a second trip to see her and took friends who have circumnavigated and who would give me an honest opinion. When they repeatedly said “this is the perfect boat for you now” I paid attention!

The seller and I had a handshake agreement at the end of that visit. A couple of days later I returned to pay for her and complete the paperwork. After that was finished I went back aboard and began cleaning and sorting through everything onboard. And spending a few minutes enjoying the sun from the cockpit of MY BOAT!

She is keeping her name

She is keeping her name

Her name is Freewind. She is mine. We will go far and we will have fun!!

Gaining Clarity

Peace on the WaterSometimes I am presented with an option, usually multiple times, and continue to reject it. Sometimes, I am being stubborn. And sometimes, I realize that while the option is a good one, it doesn’t get me where I want to be.

The idea of buying my own boat has floated through my mind for at least a couple of years. At times I have seriously considered it. Even while living in Memphis, I thought of buying a “project boat”, putting it at Pickwick Lake, and driving over on weekends. I could work on it if weather was bad, and sail if it wasn’t. Then the thought was “how do I get it to Florida when I move?” Sure, I could sail it down, but that would be quite a long trip, one I wasn’t sure I would be ready to make.

Always in the back of my head, though, was a further thought. “Does this get me where I want to be?” And where do I want to be? Cruising through the warm blue water, and sharing the adventure with someone. Buying my own boat simply felt like I was giving up on ever meeting someone I wanted to be with, who also wanted to be with me.

Even after I moved and began looking for an apartment, friends asked “why not look for your own boat?” And always, the answer from deep inside me was, “I’m not sure that is going to get me what I want.”

And then something shifted. It was a warm, sunny Saturday just after Thanksgiving. I planned to stay home and do a bit of cleaning and reading but was too antsy to settle in with a book. I felt like I needed to be outside and doing “something.” A call from a friend who lives aboard with her husband resulted in me spending the afternoon on their boat. And suddenly, I was quite happy to just sit around and visit.

It didn’t occur to me until the following day just how much I relaxed once I was sitting on their boat. On the water. I was perfectly happy to just BE. Sure, if there had been chores to do, I would have done them. Grabbing a book and sitting in the cockpit reading seemed like a perfect way to spend a few hours – more appealing than sitting on my porch in the sun reading. Interesting.

Apparently, my head and my heart processed all this overnight, because Monday morning I woke with the thought “I need to be living on the water. And to do that, I need to buy my own boat.” Just like that, I had clarity as to my next step.

Buying a boat and living aboard gets me what I want – to be on the water. Additionally, it gives me a chance to learn to live aboard, to learn about caring for a boat, and a chance to go sailing whenever I want (weather permitting, of course!). No longer am I scrambling to find opportunities, begging friends (and mere acquaintances) to let me help them do repairs or go out.

No, I’m not giving up on my dream of sharing adventures with someone right. But that is still out there somewhere. In the meantime, I’m taking my one next step. I’m buying a boat and living aboard. I’m going to be on the water.