Something quite amazing has happened to me recently. Someone I have known a very long time, quite possibly 25 years decided it was time to let his beloved ship go. I first learned about his boat possibly 10 years ago. It’s really tough to say because I never had a long discussion about it. All I knew was he is a sailor and has always had a sailboat. He might be who inspired me to want to sail but even then it’s tough to say.
Recently I’ve been really considering why I am living in a cottage rental with chickens, a dog and a garden in Seattle. I’ve put my time in as a software engineer and to be quite honest, I feel that I’ve come a long way. I knew that it was a natural strength of mine about 10 years ago but the real honest time I’ve invested has only really been in the last 7 years and the real pursuit has only been 5 years. 5 years of working hard to learn what it’s like to be a modern software engineer. I’ve climbed the ranks from basically a website maker, designer and hacker to what now my most recent title has given rank as an architect. Am I a real architect? Well, that’s tough to say. It doesn’t matter really. Right now I feel like a real software guy who solves big problems and is deep in the community in Seattle. I’ve come a long way.
Getting back to sailing now…. I have been thinking about my dream. My stepdad once told me that there is a difference between a dream and a plan. A dream is ambition with no means to getting there. A plan is ambition with all of the hard work to accomplish your dream. My dream has always been to sail across the Pacific, perhaps around the world. There is something very related to both climbing and exploring mountains and sailing. Perhaps it’s fear of the unknown, the freedom and solitude or maybe it’s the simplicity of it. Yvon Chouinard once said it’s easy to live a complicated life but difficult to live simply. I think this is true as a software engineer in Seattle. Maybe the appeal is getting back to living simply and letting go of that fear.
Tomorrow morning I’m driving north to meet with my long time friend of the family to talk about buying his boat. It’s a 32′ Westsail that he’s been living in since 2001 and although it probably needs some modernizations, I imagine that it’s been taken good care of and could potentially be the one I choose to realize this dream. I know, putting together a blog and writing posts is kind of jumping the gun. Well, so is spending every second of every day researching Westsail 32s and passage making since I learned about this boat becoming available to me. I just wanted to be prepared for tomorrow. I want to have a plan to realize this dream and this is my first chance of making it a reality. I’m not worried about affording the boat. It may take a year to pay off the purchase but somehow I doubt it. If I really want to live on this thing and sail the oceans I need more than just the boat. I will need to save for the time while I’m away and start doing all of the upgrades. I’ll need to live simply.
The funny thing about this whole thing is that I remember hoping that I could buy his boat a couple of years ago. I knew he started thinking about the idea of selling it but I had no idea when or even how much. They are still usually around $50k used and that’s way more than I can afford. I had an email conversation about Satori a while back because I remembered that name in sailing lore. Satori was known as the boat that survived the perfect storm and she apparently washed up on a beach in New Jersey but the owner did the repairs and she’s still sailing to this day. This Satori has only been around the Pacific but up and down the coast from Alaska to the South Pacific. Several other Westsails are still out in the deep blue making some passages and enabling folks to live in a 32′ boat without worrying about how she handles it. Apparently they do just fine with their massive displacement and well designed hull. After all of the research I’ve done, I’m confident that Satori would do just fine as long as I make sure she’s damn ready before I try.
Okay, off to bed. I have a big day tomorrow and with any luck, a plan to bring her back to Seattle this summer and start working on getting her ready for the great voyage.