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The first time I saw a spinnaker I was only a few years old. It was flying on the bow of a 35ft foot cruiser off the coast of Maine. A few years later, my father agreed to set the kite on our 50ft Hinckley, a rare concession.
During the summer sailing season I had kept Radiant Beam close to my favorite cruising grounds near Pamlico Sound in North Carolina. As November approached, however, it was time to bring the boat back to her homeport in Wilmington.
Surely everyone who has sailed offshore has experienced that same elevation of the spirit, an upwelling of the life force, or whatever you choose to call it; you’d have to be dead inside not to.
It all started with losing my job. Like many people in recent years, I found myself unemployed, and the lack of activity made for restless hands. I figured since I couldn’t find work, I might as well build a boat.

Reader Feedback: No More Vagabonds, Please

by Sail Staff, Posted July 12, 2012
In our June 2012 issue we published a letter on our feedback page in response to "Fish on," an article printed in our April issue. We receieved an outpouring of response to the feedback letter, and were unable to publish them all in our magazine. The conversation continues here.
For dreamers of all ages, the idea of cruising has an inescapable allure. But the question always remains: “When should I go? When can I realistically trade my current life for the freedom of cruising?”
On Saturday, April 14, I was enjoying a perfect sailing day at the Strictly Sail Pacific boat show in Oakland, California. More accurately, I was watching a steady stream of boats heading out to enjoy a perfect sailing day—racing, cruising, or just messing about—while wishing I was among them. I had no idea that just 30-some miles away, a tragedy was unfolding in a sailboat race.

Gear Lust

by Peter Nielsen, Posted June 18, 2012
After writing last month’s note about minimalist cruisers Thies Matzen and Kicki Ericson and their exploits in the much-traveled 30-foot sloop Wanderer III, I was overcome by some uncharacteristic soul-searching.
My dad came from a long line of sailors and seafarers, but he didn’t start boating himself until he was nearly 50. I was 12 years old when he bought a 14ft Rhodes Bantam. Together, with some trials and errors, we set about learning to sail it.
In the early 1990s, my husband, Monty, and I took early retirement, stepped aboard our Gulfstar 39, Salsa, and didn’t come back to our home in Marblehead, Massachusetts, for five years.
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