The Call to Adventure

We have always dreamed of going sailing. When we were young, and just starting out in our naval careers after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy, we read sailing magazines and considered buying a boat to put in charter. We almost bought a friend’s boat to liveaboard while stationed in Virginia Beach, VA. Then life got busy. We moved for work often. Too often. I attribute that now to my wanderlust (and the fact that I am a Sagittarius), and I admit that I jumped at any opportunity to move—especially if it was overseas.

IMG_0474Through a twist—or rather a clove hitch—of fate, we found ourselves stuck in Annapolis, Maryland. For a year we cursed our fate… we were supposed to be here temporarily, and then off to another exotic overseas locale. That fell through. We waited patiently for the possibility of a new-improved adventure, all the while cursing the fact that we were in Annapolis.

Yes… the sailing capital of the U.S.—THAT Annapolis.

It took us a year to realize that the Universe was telling us something, but we were too engrossed in the noise of our bad fortune to listen at the time.

Well, we finally heard the call of the sea. We started looking at sailboats seriously. We decided that we would stay, settle down here for a little while, and plan our eventual escape.

Over the last several years, we have attended the Annapolis Sailboat Show in October, whenever we were living in the U.S. We looked at boats, and dreamed of being able to afford a Hylas 46. Then we realized that we really preferred catamarans, and dreamed of buying an Antares 44i.

Then we thought we should actually get realistic (price-wise) when we started seriously looking. Then we set our sights on the standard fare of used Lagoons and Leopards, which would be in our price range.

Well, after the last several years, I am sure like many others in the country, our investments went Tango Uniform (“tits up”). And like so many others, the nest egg on which we were banking our sailing dream was now empty. We couldn’t even make an omelette out of it.

So, we thought that we would be more practical. We started looking at older boats, and found a beautiful 1996 Prout Escale that we knew we could afford.  Our monthly take-home pay is quite “better than average.” However, the banks thought otherwise about giving us a boat loan in this current economy (liquidity… it’s all about liquidity when applying for a boat loan- no pun intended).

So, we lamented that our dream was now dead, and sat depressed in front of the computer, looking at all of those boats on Yacht World that were out of our reach; crying in our beers, as we watched our dream sailing over the horizon on a starboard tack.

Then 007 found it: Dos Equis.  A 1984 Prout Snowgoose 37.

It was 12 years older than the Escale we had our eyes on, two feet shorter and 2 feet narrower.

But the best part of all…. It was a fraction of the price (a very low fraction), and the owner was willing to finance us for a few years to pay him for it.

We drove to Connecticut to look at the boat, on a whim. Neither of us thought that it would be anything we were interested in. But for the price, we had to at least look at it. And if nothing else, it would give us the reality check we needed. If we were going to actually do this, we needed to be looking in this more “modest” price range. And if this boat was unappealing to us, then we should find a new dream.

Well, we fell in love with the boat almost at first sight. “Warts and all.”

It would be a compromise; but as we have come to learn after years of researching boats, talking to boat owners, and scouring sailing blogs, getting a boat is all about compromise. You have to compromise on everything; the availability of fresh water, hot water, and power; closet space, refrigerator space, pantry space, and personal space. No more Big Box Store shopping at low-low prices (where does one store 18 rolls of paper towels, even on a catamaran?). Every shopping evolution has to begin with the conversation, “If I purchase item ‘X,’ what am I going to take off the boat in order to make space for it?”

Exhausted after almost two weeks of stress, hard work, and paperwork (much more on that to follow), we sat in our living room and laughed. We realized that the Universe really HAD been trying to tell us something over the past year, and we were happy that we finally were starting to listen.

We live on Compromise St. in Annapolis, and have lived here for almost one year since our other glamorous overseas gig fell through. Life really is about compromise, but many are unwilling to do it. As a result, maybe they never follow their true calling in life because they think they need to drive a certain car, wear a certain brand, or live in a certain neighborhood. Worse yet, they never follow their dreams. Well, we are here on Compromise St. for at least the next several months, until we can get the boat ready to live aboard.

And in the end, while some things are all about compromise, we are unwilling to compromise our dream.

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