Approximately 4 months to go before taking delivery of our Pajot Fontaine Helia Evolution. Writing this post today I am full of mixed emotions, excited, anxious and nervous. So many questions go through my mind. What if my girlfriend Jennifer, who is giving up her career as a successful Real Estate agent has second thoughts? This is, for her a huge sacrifice, leaving her family and close friends behind. She assures me that she looks forward to the challenge and the adventure. We have been together for almost 9 years and our relationship is strong and close. She has very little experience on sailboats, but I know her well, she has a sharp mind and from the little time we have been on the water together she has grasped the fundamentals of sailing quickly. She is athletic and strong so I know that she will be the best crewmate I could wish for. I too, will miss my friends and especially my 3 wonderful and beautiful daughters. Of course they promise to visit and sail with us. In May next year my 2nd eldest will get married in Italy so it is my hope that all three will join us in our travels.
Although having spent several months 40 years ago living on a sailboat and some 50 years of sailing experience I am not sure what to expect. I spend countless hours imagining what life will be like living on my new home on the water. The thought of travelling to places never before visited, excites and exhilarates me. The challenges of running and maintaining a 44’ catamaran are daunting. I am not afraid. I love working with my hands especially on boats. Fortunately I have had some experience with small diesel engines, having had one on a sailboat that I owned several years ago. I look forward to learning about and running all the systems, electrical, electronics, generator etc. Presently I am doing RYA Yachtmaster Theory online; this is a very comprehensive course requiring many hours of study. This course teaches how to navigate safely along the coast especially where there are large tides using nautical almanacs to determine strength and direction of tidal streams. Knowledge of tidal stream and strengths is important in plotting a course to steer especially on the Atlantic coast of France, Spain and Portugal. Yes, we will have electronic navigation systems on board but what if we lose them? I understand this is unlikely but it is good seamanship to be able to navigate using paper charts and compasses. (It’s really hard to go back to school at my age).
There is so much to do in the months ahead. Preparing our house for sale, the past few months we have been working with contractors replacing old tile and carpet with new updated modern flooring. The master and 2nd bathrooms updated and finally a total kitchen remodel. Everyday we go through our closets and storage and put aside what we will keep, give away and eventually sell at our upcoming yard sale. We also have to figure out what will be put in storage and what we will ship to La Rochelle.
Tomorrow Jennifer and I are off to San Diego where we will meet up with my daughters Alexandra and Catherine who will be part of our crew for the “Around the Coronados Race”. I’m delighted they have decided to join us for the 8-hour offshore race, which will be good experience for them. Sadly this will probably be my last sail on Jelani as I have placed the boat for sale. It has been a great racing boat and we’ve participated in many exciting regattas, especially the ones where we placed first.
I have dreamt about this adventure for so long and I can’t believe it is right around the corner. The reality of the journey we are about to embark on has now manifested itself and we are both getting impatient to take possession of our boat.
I quote Henry David Thoreau “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
I want to make the change from living an ordinary life to an extraordinary life. I want to feel connected with The Ocean, with nature and I elect to choose a different path for myself.