The Seeds of a Sailing Dream

December 4, 2020 in Books, Sailing yarns - 1 Comment

I recently read a story about a young woman living in 1930s Alabama whose world view was cracked wide open when she went to Birmingham for the first time. She marveled at the buildings and the sidewalks and the plumbing. And it struck me that pre-Internet (and for those who still don’t have connectivity in this world), that was the reality. A person could go years, and possibly a lifetime and never see a different way of being. Unless… they were readers (and, of course, had access to books). And it got me thinking about how a farm kid from Southern Indiana (me!) got it into her head that she could sail across oceans.

It did not hurt that my dad bought a Cal 20 and put it on the Chesapeake Bay when I was about 24. That gave me exposure to sailing beyond my days at summer camp poking around on Sunfish. It also didn’t hurt that while I grew up in a town with only 12,000 people, my parents and grandmother packed my sister and me into cars and airplanes throughout our childhoods to make sure we knew there was more to the world than Southern Indiana.

But it wasn’t until I read Tania Aebi‘s book Maiden Voyage in 2002 that I really understood that I could actually–like no kidding–get on a boat and get myself around the world. Her story was captivating and so well told. She was young and smart and vulnerable–and she did it. She sailed solo around the world. I poured through it while on a late summer sailing trip with my dad on that Cal and by the last page, a seed was planted.

But, I was newly married (to a good guy who did not care much about sailing), starting a career, and saddled with thousands of dollars in student loan debt. That seed was planted, but it was going to be years before it made it to the surface. The dream just did not fit with the trajectory on which my life seemed to be.

Fast forward twelve years to 2014. My marriage had ended, I’d started a company and paid down a lot of that debt. I curled up during a cold Chicago winter with John Kretschmer’s Sailing a Serious Ocean and holy moly, that seed that Tania Aebi had planted took root and blossomed! Halfway through the book, I’d emailed John and had signed up for a training passage in the Caribbean leaving the dock in December of 2016 (his waiting list is really long…).

And here we are, four years later. I’ve married my sailing partner, we’ve put some miles under our keel, the boat is bought and paid for, and preparations are underway for our journey to begin. And it’s almost all because of the possibilities that became so clear though the pages of these two books. Thanks to the Universe for the power of story.


All posts

1 Comment

  • Bridget December 4, 2020 at 5:59 am

    I could not love this more! Talk about inspiration!! This would make a great children’s book about sailing into your dreams!

  • Leave a Reply

    Updates straight to your inbox

    Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts.

    Meet Gretchen & Tim

    Meanwhile, over on Instagram

    Our adventure with a broken windlass continues in this episode. This has been a saga. Holy smokes! 🔹LINK IN BIO 🔹#sailing #sailingcouple #catalina42mkii #maxwellwindlass #anchoring #sail #welovetosail #sailinglife
    We spent our first nights on anchor of this season Bahía Salinas on Isla Carmen. This anchorage features an abandoned salt mine and existing hunting lodge. It was very cool to explore and nice to stretch our legs with our buddies on s/v Salt Whistle. 🔹 And, I got our Christmas lights up. 🎄#sailing #sailinglife #sailingcouple #bajacalifornia #sailmexico
    In this episode, we experience our worst breakdown and it wasn’t pretty! 🔹 LINK IN BIO 🔹 Like 👍 Comment 💬 Subscribe 🔹 #yacht #yachting #bluewatersailing #offshore #oceanlife #offshoresailing #sailingadventure #gntsailing #boatlife #sailinglife #sailinginstagram #oceanlover #oceanlife #sailing #liveaboard #sail #catalina42 #mexico #pacificocean
    We had a spectacular first sail from San Carlos to the Eastern side of Isla Carmen | Bahia Salinas. It took us 22 hours and we sailed all but four hours. And two of the motoring hours were motor sailing because we needed to make water. (We need the engine to power the high pressure pump.)🔹 We were greeted by a sea turtle as we came into the anchorage and our buddy boat, Salt Whistle, was here waiting to welcome us to the Baja. 🔹 We were treated to this cotton candy sky as we started our first morning on anchor. Here’s to season two!🔹 #sailing #sailingcouple #catalina42 #bajapeninsula #sailmexico
    This is Vicente. He’s a supporter to all sailors who pass through Acapulco. He manage(s/d) the mooring balls. His wife, son, and grandchild perished when their boat sunk in Hurricane Otis. Please share and give what you can to this friend to all sailors. The @panamapossee and @the.ocean.posse is organizing.🔹 LINK IN BIO 🔹
    Adios, #sancarlossonora 🌈 We’re Baja bound. We can’t wait to be on the water! #sailing #panamaposse #catalina42mkii #sailmexico #seaofcortez #sailingbaja #sailinglife