From the start, how did this dream of sailing around the world come to fruition? Well for that I’d have to go back to my parents and Sunday evenings, where we would watch Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, Jacques Cousteau, Nature of Things, and any other nature shows that were on television at the time. In addition we did a lot of camping for vacation, even before it was fashionable to go camping. Here, from my parents, and my brother Paul I learn some skills, bush craft; how to make things work with what I had on hand, from my mom; and I still remember my dad teaching me how to tie my first reef not at Sauble Beach Provincial Park. So I guess my buried drive for adventure was created by my parents with some help from family. Thanks Mom and dad!
As life progressed I found myself enjoying the outdoors, and adventure in wilderness camping, I took some bush craft and survival courses and I enjoyed testing myself in wilderness situations. When I got married, my wife Sonia and I would take our family camping. Not real wilderness camping but tent camping anyway. We tried to encourage “nature awareness” in our kids. Our favourite way to do this was to spend time at the Pinery Provincial Park. Here they had interpretive programs for kids. We also did nature walks and other outdoor activities, both organized by the park and on our own.
Moving further ahead, I started going further North in Ontario, on wilderness expeditions, testing my metal. Again as our family progressed through life, and changes happen. My mom passed away and left me about $12,000. While she was sick I tried to convince her to take a trip to Ireland as she always wanted to go, but that was to no avail. So when the estate was settled, my wife and I and our 4 kids took the trip for her. Here is where I found a love for travel, a very important step in the evolution of my decision to sail around the world, but still unknown to me at the time. Again thanks mom! BTW, we did kiss the blarney stone for you!
Then a co-worker started building a sailboat. I found this interesting. However, I never sailed before, nor had I had an interest. When he was almost complete the company started to down size do to economic down turns, just ahead of the recession of 2008 ish. He retired and set sail in October/ November I think and he did something unique at the time for me, he put everything on the net for people to follow. Which is exactly what I did. I found myself wanting to go to work just so I could see the new posts and pictures. Have a look for yourself. SV falcon GT you can also find some videos on Youtube. A couple of those videos give some of the best that I have seen on the sea state caught on video.
So here is where my buried passion for travel, adventure, and learning came to culminate into my dream of circumnavigation. I found, that John G. was able to sail to Australia relatively cheap, not counting the expense of the boat, of course. That was 10 years ago.
Remember, I knew nothing about sailing, boats, or the sea. So I sought out people who did it. This advice was given back in high school. Where I was lucky enough to be exposed to Mo- ology. Mo Targosz was one of many high school teachers that helped keep me on the right track by giving solid advice.
So I found people such as John G., Gerry K., Mikey H., and Kenny K., at work and discussed sailing, travel and such. I also found the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron. Here I set a goal to take every course they offered. I am very close to doing that. I think this was one of the most important steps I took. Even though it was a little stressful at home, but again with my wife’s support it was manageable.
Why was it important? It was important not because I was learning more about how to sail, boating, electronics, navigation, but it put me in touch with more people who sailed. Taking courses, helped strengthen my dream, it kept me hungry for more information. It also gave me more leads to follow, such as the Toronto Boat Show. This is where I signed up for as many courses I could. I would pour over the posted schedule to find out how I could maximize my time there and get in as many free seminars and later paid courses as possible. This had moved me from strengthening my dream to solidifying it.
The Toronto Boat Show, had many speakers from: Lynn and Larry Pardey, John Neal and Amanda Neal Swan, Derek Hatfield, Nigel Calder and many more in-between, and I enjoyed them all. I collected materials, business cards and of course any freebees that I could get. My wife and I would go and look at new boats and dream… well I did, I am not sure what she was thinking.
Again not knowing about boats or what was the best fit for me. I would often talk with people I knew and listen to opinions, not always agreeing with them but listen. I used mahina.com as a bench mark on boats. I was careful to use there recommendations as a bench mark, but not let it be the be all end all of my selection process. I was surprised to find out that a famous Youtuber used them as well to pick out his boat SV Delos. I think Brian said he picked his boat out because it was at the top of the list, his boat is an Amel Super Maramu and started with an ‘A’.
The one thing I did learn is that, “Sailboats are by definition a compromise”. This is a very true statement. Speed, stability, size, comfort, layout are all compromise. So I started out with the Keel. I wanted either a full keel, stability and protection of the rudder / prop, or a modified skegged rudder. Then the layout was the next consideration for me. I felt if people visited, I felt that I would still need my own space which lead me to an aft cabin layout. This in turn brought me to a ketch or yawl rigged boat. Next was cost, this was a challenge. However, again with the support of my wife, we stopped window shopping which I had been doing for about 7 years at this time.
We started driving all around looking at boats, and utilized my friends to assist. Kenny K. advised me when I was getting frustrated “to enjoy the boat search… it is free and make it as fun and informative as you can make it”. I traveled all over Ontario looking at boats. From the Quebec boarder to Wiarton and many places in between. I was narrowing the gap with regards to which boat. I liked the Whitby 42 as well as the Corbin 39. However, the 2 major issues I had with the Corbin was the lack of head room below and small cockpit. The Whitby on the other hand had ample head room and fair sized cockpit. My logic was that the cockpit is extra living space and would be uncomfortable if too small. As for the head room, I know that every time I knock my head or the neck ache from being hunched over would eventually take its toll and develop into frustration and regret.
We continued to look a boats, found a couple that I was interested in, one we had surveyed, but were unable to come to an agreement with the owners. Here I learned a new lesson. Sailboat owners are insanely attached to their boats, and are a bit distant from reality when it comes to their boat and the shape it is in. At any rate, due to water intrusion on the mizzen mast we let that Whitby 42 go.
Again eyeing the internet for leads, and with the wife’s urging, we found another Whitby 42 in Georgian Bay. This one we went and looked at, and went for a sea trial in it. Had it surveyed and found a few issues. We adjusted the price but the owner didn’t want to budge on the price. In rebuttal to the new offer, he said he would do the repairs that were required. I said no, I wanted them done by someone who would guarantee the job. It was a tense time however, we came to an agreement and purchased the boat. That was almost a year ago.
Stay tuned for how we got the boat from Georgian Bay to Hamilton.