Cruising: Boat Wanted

Author:
Publish date:
Kerstin-109

We need a boat. Like, really need a boat. Not just, “Oh a boat would be fun.” But an aching, core-wrenching desire for a piece of water. We don’t find sailing just a pastime or a boat a status symbol. A boat is a part of the family; without one, we’re incomplete.

We have always been drawn to the water. I met my husband, Danny, in Santa Monica, California. I was renting a converted basement, steps from the sand. It was expensive, damp and claustrophobic, but I could roll to the water; it was as close to a boat as I could get. Danny was living on a 34ft trawler. With two berths and two heads, his home was bigger than mine. It was love at first float.

We spent our honeymoon on a Catalina 36 in the BVI. We became sailboat snobs; the physicality, the wind, the absence of diesel fumes... When we got home, we sold his boat and moved north for a job. It was the wrong thing to do.

I don’t believe in regrets, but this part of the story is what we would change. I thought we needed to be grownups, to live in a house with a foundation, but why? We were young and childless, and a floating home would have been perfect in the seaside town of Monterey where we settled.

We quickly moved again, this time inland, although we resisted. My parents took us to Fiji on a 43ft Halberg-Rassy. We vacationed as far west as we could get. Jobs morphed, and we ended up back south in San Diego. We bought a cottage, had babies and spent every free moment on our parents’ boats. You’d find us with our children in a slip down in Mexico on a 45ft Ocean Alexander. The tiny resort harbor less than two hours from home became our favorite place. Our children grew up with a sense of balance like Olympic gymnasts. They adapted to small spaces and slept peacefully in the constant movement. When asked where the sun went to sleep, they always replied, in developing English and Spanish, “in the aqua.” They learned to respect the ocean, nature and different cultures.

Then life took us east. Our parents said goodbye to their boats, and we mourned those vessels as much as our relatives. When we watched the sunset from our covered porch outside Philadelphia our toddlers still said goodnight to the sun, but they could no longer see the water. It hurt my heart.

Despite cold and snow, we bathed our home in anchors and sails. We took ferries and cruises and charters in the BVIs whenever we could. We spent weeks in Cape Cod and Nantucket on a Boston Whaler that took us island hopping and clamming and made us realize there is a blissful life beyond palm trees. We started to dream of a Northeast beach house, but quickly decided a boat would better give us the year-round water view we craved.

One day.

I got a paddleboard. The kids got kayaks. We spent time on the lakes in Pennsylvania and canoed down rivers. We put in a pool. It helped, but it wasn’t the same. The water was near. But it wasn’t a boat.

A third child and age were eventually enough to bring our families east. That beach house we dreamed of became a reality, times two: a summer cottage on the bay for one set of snowbird parents and a home on a deserted Delaware Beach for the others. Beautiful. Raw. Breathtaking. But no boat.

We struggled with our feelings. Beach homes were enough! They were everything! They had to be. But they weren’t. We still dreamed of being on the water. Watching the fishing boats pull out early each morning, we longed to follow.

We have never been a fair-weather family. Despite our San Diego roots, we have learned to accept what nature brings. The water heals us, whether bathed in sunshine or drenched in squalls. It calms, it teaches, it unifies. We are also a family that longs to be united. From the outside our life may look like a constant vacation, but what it really reflects is a commitment to the coast. Twenty-four hours off is enough time to take a road trip to the water and recharge despite the harsh reality of winter. Cold and wind can be tamed with clothing. You don’t just love based on behavior. If you really love, its unconditional. And we truly love the water.

So, every free minute is devoted to seeking the sea, because it’s how we find ourselves.

A boat may be hard. Oh, come on, it will be hard. Toddlers and careers and boats? What are we thinking?

But...

We need a boat. Not a huge boat, not to begin with. We’re not picky. In fact, bring on the weathered, the relocated, the overworked. It will feel at home in our family. A family missing one member. A family afloat, without our boat. A family meant to be at sea. 

Kerstin Lindquist is a writer and broadcaster

Related

SF3300-Jean-Marie_LIOT

Boat Review: Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300

Though best known for its cruising boats, Jeanneau has long kept a hand in competitive racing with its Sun Fast line. The newest of these French-built speedsters is the Sun Fast 3300, which takes the place of the long-lived 3200. Design & Construction A collaboration between ...read more

03-200123_PM_MIAMI_31326_3065

U.S. Team Strikes Miami Gold

If there was ever a time for the U.S. Sailing Team, which has been experiencing a serious medal drought of late, to start peaking it would be now, with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics set to begin in July. Luckily, it appears the team, which has won only three Olympic medals since 2004, ...read more

shutterstock_1466239997

Charter: the Greek Isles

If there’s one charter destination that’s impossible to tire of, it’s Greece. This Mediterranean jewel is simply so large, so varied and so special it’s impossible to relegate it to just a single checkbox on a list. This past year a group of friends and I chartered from Navigare ...read more

IDECsport_180919_106-2048

IDEC Tri Breaks Tea Route Record

Francis Joyon and his crew aboard the maxi-tri IDEC Sport have set a new record for the “tea route” from Hong Kong to London of just 31 days, 23 hours, 36 minutes. In doing so they bested the previous record set by Italian skipper, Giovanni Soldini aboard the trimaran Maserati ...read more

DawnRileyforSAILmagazine

An Interview with Sailor Dawn Riley

The 2019 sailing documentary Maiden received rave reviews as a human-interest story that featured excellent racing footage and the heartfelt recollections of an all-female team led by then 25-year-old Briton Tracy Edwards. During the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World race, ...read more

IMG_9978

Charter: More for Your Money

Though summer may not be when you typically think of escaping to a tropical island, it could, in fact, be the perfect time for a charter holiday. Despite popular perception, the Caribbean isn’t hot as Hades during summer. In fact, the highs vary by only about 8 degrees F ...read more

Riley-and-Elayna,-Sailing-La-Vagabonde

Sailing in the YouTube Era

At the risk of both dating myself and being accused of gross hyperbole, I will say this: it was a bit like 1964 when the Beatles first landed in New York. What I’m referring to is last fall’s U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis. Playing the role of the Beatles were not one, but two ...read more

Bill-Hatfield-copy-1024x665

Cruising: Solo Circumnavigators

There seems to be no age limit for solo-circumnavigators. Not so long ago we had Californian Jeff Hartjoy set a record for the oldest American to sail around the globe solo, nonstop and unassisted, at the age of 70. A few months ago, 77-year-old Briton Jeanne Socrates became the ...read more