Leibster Award for Sailing Blogs: Time to start blogging again!

liebster4As we begin our trip south for the winter, I have felt so uninspired to update our blog, mostly because it feels like a big repeat of what we did a year ago!  Having said that, since we left Nantucket almost two months ago, we spent some time in NYC, which was both great and sort of not, we overnighted up the Delaware Bay (not for the faint of heart!), and we spent a month in Annapolis getting Elsie and Bessie all tuned up for the next adventure.

Then Tasha from Turf to Surf said “tag, you’re it!” and nominated us for the Leibster award!  We are honored to be nominated, and it did give me the kick in the ass to get to writing.  As we move south this time, I’ll be trying to update the blog more often, but more when something exceptional happens, not so much as a pure travelogue.

What the heck is the Leibster Award, you ask?  From the link I’ve just shared, I see that “it is said that the Liebster award was created to recognize and/or discover new bloggers and welcome them to the blogosphere.”  I’ll buy that!

So, without further ado, here are my answers to our dear friend Tasha’s questions:

1. Where are you now and where are you headed?

As I write this, we are sitting at the dock in Coinjock, NC, home of the best prime rib we’ve ever eaten! We have just spent a month at the dock in Annapolis getting our engines, Elsie and Bessie, a much needed “spa treatment” (servicing), and now we are hightailing it south as fast as we can.  We are back on the ICW at least until Beaufort, NC, after which we hope to make outside hops to Florida, then the Bahamas.

2. What’s the feature you love most about your boat?

Separate hulls so that Brian and I have our personal space 😉 Joking (sort of!)  But we do love the roominess of our Lagoon 410 catamaran, and we love that when we sail, we don’t have to sit/stand at an angle (no heeling like on a monohull).  The other thing I personally love about catamarans is the maneuverability – having two engines makes docking really easy, you can “walk” yourself into a slip or on to a dock purely under engine power.

3. What things are broken on your boat right now that urgently need fixing/replacing?

We are pretty well set right now, but the whole reason we spent the past month in Annapolis was to have our engines tuned up. They are 13 years old and have 4200+ hours on them, and they were in desperate need of TLC.  We are grateful for Larry from CressTech Power Systems for getting Elsie and Bessie back in fighting shape, although there is one lingering oil leak concern we’ll have to have looked at once we get to Florida in a few weeks.  Also, let’s not think about what could break…

4. What’s the most scared you’ve ever been on a journey and what happened?

We have been very fortunate that we have rarely been in harm’s way when out sailing, but we chalk that up to being exceptionally cautious when planning passages – if the forecast looks less than ideal, we stay in port!

I think the scariest moments came when we initially bought the boat and knew so little about sailing, and both happened with our instructor and friend Bruce MacBain, namely when the genniker sheet snapped in a squall and when we did our first overnight/offshore passage with him. After nearly two years and thousands of miles under the hulls, we are often amazed at our confidence level now!

5. What do you wish you were more skilled in and why?

I (Rebecca) wish I was more comfortable with sail trim, but I tend to leave that to Brian…I still find it so intimidating! I think Brian would say he wishes he knew how to fix more stuff, but I am so in awe of how much he has taught himself to do and am so proud of him.

6. What adventures other than sailing across oceans would you consider taking on?

That’s an interesting question for us – dropping out of the “real world” and adopting the cruising lifestyle was so outside our comfort zone to begin with, that I’m not sure what kind of adventure we’d be brave enough to tackle, or have an appetite for! I think going back to land life, if and when it happens, will be an amazing challenge/adventure for us.

7. Who taught you to sail and was it love at first experience?

For those of you who are new to the blog, we had just about zero experience sailing before we embarked on this crazy ride. Our first taste was through the Colgate school in Ft. Myers, FL, with our instructor Will.  It was most definitely NOT love at first sight – it was scary and challenging, and we looked at each other more than once as if to say, “what the f*ck are we doing?”  But, at the end of the day, we absolutely felt like if sailing was the way we could travel the world, then it was worth the challenges.

8. What is the most important thing your sailing experiences have taught you about life?

It’s taught us that we don’t need to live conventional lives, and we don’t need so much stuff. This was something that never occurred to either of us prior to hatching the plan – we were content enough to work the 40-50 hour week at jobs that allowed us to pay for the mortgage and the TV and fancy restaurant meals and random tchotchkes.  This isn’t to say that we are living a completely austere lifestyle – we will choose to have a dinner out in a port or tie up to a dock now and again, even if it means it’s one less day of cruising, whereas many cruisers are better budgeters than we are.  But this is a simpler lifestyle, and that is a wonderful thing!

9. If you were left alone in your favorite anchorage for a week, what would you do with your time?

Read, sleep, swim, paddleboard/kayak, cook…rinse, repeat 😉 When you’re out on the hook, in a beautiful anchorage with crystal clear, warm water…what else is there to do?

10. What’s next on your list of things to achieve? (Sailing or non-sailing related)

We are thinking relatively short term. This season, we will hang out in the Bahamas until sometime in March, when we’ll rustle up some crew and do a straight shot to Puerto Rico / USVI.  We’ll leave the boat in PR for hurricane season, fly back to Nantucket with the kitties, and stay with Brian’s dad on land.  We loved our two summers on our mooring ball in Nantucket, but it is so much wear and tear on the boat and the crew to bring it back and forth from points south.  We also are curious to see what land life might be like, after over two years aboard.   And we’ll be trying to find jobs!  So it’ll be a season of figuring out how and if we can balance a lifestyle of working for 6 months, and playing for 6, and not going broke.  We’re excited to change it up!

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Ok, now that that’s out of the way, it’s my turn to nominate a few folks!  Since most of the blogs that I follow most avidly have already been nominated,  here are a few new blogs I’ve recently found, generally written by folks that have just begun their cruising lives or are about to sail off, thus, my questions are geared towards them accordingly!  Oh, and FYI – I just realized that ALL of these folks are on catamarans 😉

Bonjour Pelita – Pearly and Francois were at the docks with us last June in Annapolis, and set out in the heart of hurricane season for the Bahamas and points south!  We are hoping to catch up with them again in the spring, if they haven’t raced all the way down to Grenada by then!

Suburbs to Sailing – newbie cruisers that are making their first trip down the East Coast, on a Lagoon 410 just like us!

Out Chasing Stars – the proud new owners of a gorgeous, brand spanking new Fontaine Pajot!  I’ve enjoyed reading about them moving aboard a new boat, since most of us have old ones 😉

Finding Paradise – we haven’t been in very close contact with them, but it seems that they are just about to pull the trigger on a boat…and we wish them luck!

And here are your questions, kids!

  1. What/Who inspired you to set sail?
  2. What was your biggest concern before you moved aboard?
  3. What is your biggest concern now that you’re already living aboard?
  4. Is there anything that would entice you to give up the cruising lifestyle?
  5. What is the most challenging thing you’ve had to figure out how to fix on your own, and how did you go about doing it?
  6. What is the most ridiculous/annoying/obnoxious/absurd question someone has asked you about the cruising lifestyle?
  7. Where are you most looking forward to going and why?
  8. What are you most worried about?
  9. What was the hardest thing to give up when moving aboard (or what do you think will be the hardest)?
  10. Do you think there will be an end to your cruising days, and what do you want to do if and when that day comes?

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