Introducing SAIL's New Columnists

Over the course of the past 56 issues, we’ve brought you “Windshifts,” a reflective collection of pieces written by a host of different sailors on sailing, sailboats and life lived among them. However, in 2014, we’ll be taking a slightly different tack with “Waterlines,” a column in which Amy Schaefer and Paul VanDevelder take turns using this last-page space to fill you in on their unique whereabouts and reflections.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Over the course of the past 56 issues, we’ve brought you “Windshifts,” a reflective collection of pieces written by a host of different sailors on sailing, sailboats and life lived among them. However, in 2014, we’ll be taking a slightly different tack with “Waterlines,” a column in which Amy Schaefer and Paul VanDevelder take turns using this last-page space to fill you in on their unique whereabouts and reflections. Amy and her family are currently cruising the South Pacific, and Paul and his family sometimes-race, sometimes-cruise in the Pacific Northwest. Beyond that, well, what could be better than letting them introduce themselves in their own words:

Amy Schaefer

Coming February 2014

Cruisers embrace the unexpected—and sometimes, they find themselves in the back of a Colombian police van. 

Oh, you thought cruising was all about tropical breezes and sipping piña coladas? Not so much. Mostly, cruising is about problem solving. How will I repair this pump without a manual or any spare parts? How do I use my six words of Spanish to explain to the guy who fixes stuff on his front stoop what is wrong with my sewing machine? How will that front approaching from the west alter our sailing plans? Forget Sudoku: cruising is a puzzle-solver’s paradise.

Cruising is also about grabbing opportunities as they arise. Every season we make a plan…and every season we change it. Aside from the ever-popular repair-related delays, we may stick around for the local conga festival; we may carve a watermelon and have a Halloween cookout on the beach; a friend may invite us to camp out on his coral island and two days somehow turns into two weeks. When something interesting crops up, we jump at it, schedule be damned. Our girls can finish their math lesson any time—they won’t always be able to swim with sharks on a pristine reef.

I look forward to sharing our life aboard with you, the SAIL readers. I will keep you up to speed on where we are, what we are doing, and especially, what surprises crop up along the way.

As for that Colombian police van, it’s completely acceptable, when cruising, to be choosy when deciding how to get from point to point. But if you somehow make friends with the vice-chief of police on a small island, and he offers to tour you around on his day off, you’d be a fool to sail away from a chance like that.


Paul VanDevelder

Coming January 2014

I recently read a survey that found 90 percent of all “cruising sailors” do 95 percent of their sailing within 50 miles of their homeport.

The numbers make sense. Within 50 miles of my homeport in the San Juan Islands, we boast a sea and landscape ecosystem that rivals any in the world for beauty and diversity: from ring-of-fire port cities like Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, to the soaring wilderness of the Olympic Peninsula and the sublime harbors of the Gulf Islands. It’s an aquatic wonderland that runs for a thousand miles—from Puget Sound to Glacier Bay, Alaska—and inside that 50-mile-radius circle, lucky sailors find a lifetime of cruising without ever crossing the line.

We too easily think of “cruisers” only as a select fraternity of intrepid bluewater breakaway artists who disappear over the horizon with our dreams in their hip pockets: next stop, paradise. But if that were true, marinas, chandleries and toy stores would have gone belly-up when the last Westsail came off the line 30 years ago.

More than the distance I sail from my home port, cruising, for me, will always be a state of mind, a willful throwing of myself into ineffable wonders and perils of the unknown and unpredictable. To expand on Amy’s axiom, this cruising deal is about managing the unmanageable in order to find comfort in the uncomfortable. Those of us who pull it off, willy-nilly, get to be the freest of the free. 

I’ve had the good fortune to cruise waters all over the world; curiosity and wanderlust have drawn me across imponderable expanses of blue to step foot on many distant shores. But the starry nights and first-day-of-the-world mornings that came with those adventures were only exotic stagecraft for the real rewards: the people. 

The people who animate my memories—the grizzled rogue at Squirrel Cove who rowed out every morning with fresh cinnamon rolls; the sultry dark-eyed islander who took me snorkeling in her secret coral cathedral on Bora Bora; the sweet gal behind the counter in Hvar, Croatia, who gave my wife and me an extra 10 minutes in the hot shower, with a wink—those are the prizes worth chasing, whether it be around the planet or across the bay, and they always make the price of getting there seem like a bargain. Ultimately, what you get out of the cruising is a life on a wake less travelled, and a chance for the little voice in your head to say, over and over again: “I’m free.”

Related

210115-AC36

Prada Cup: Brits Take First Two Races

Who saw that coming? After getting skunked in December, INEOS Team UK has swept the first two races in the Prada Cup elimination series of the 36th America’s Cup  Racing took place on racecourse “C,” sheltered between Auckland’s North Head and Bastion Point to take advantage of ...read more

ac-2048x

Hutchinson: 36th America’s Cup will be a Close On

On the eve of the Prada Cup challenger series, the official start of the 36th America’s Cup, New York Yacht Club American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson says it’s anyone’s game. "As we've seen in the last week, everyone's gotten faster," said Hutchinson said at the event’s ...read more

Episode1_Thumbnail4_00000_00000_00000_00000

Sailing Docuseries Released Online

Endless Media's Reaching Reality is the story of three friends, a 24-foot sailboat and 1,200 miles. With candor and humor, this series proves that you don't need to be an expert or a millionaire to cast off on the journey of a lifetime. Produced by Emmy-award winner Barry ...read more

01-LEAD-nder-sail-3

Prepping for a Transatlantic

Growing up on the coast of northern England, I dreamed about crossing oceans on my own boat. Like most of us, though, education, a family and a career took precedence, and before I knew it, we had mortgages, young children and endless work obligations. We also became landlocked, ...read more

210111-Vendee

Vendée Update: Josche Forced to Abandon

A week ago, the canting keel on Isabelle Jocshe's IMOCA 60, MACSF, failed. She managed a jury rig with a replacement ram, which held the keel centerline and allowed her to keep sailing, but with a major hit to her speed potential. Jocshe had been in 8th at the time and remained ...read more

rudder

Vendee Update: Emergency Rudder Replacement

A devastated Hare talks about the breakage Pip Hare (Medallia) is back in the game after an emergency rudder repair deep in the Southern Ocean. “Every part of my body aches. I have bloody knuckles on every finger, bruises all down my legs and muscles I didn't know I had that ...read more

Oracle-RBYACFEVD3_2870

PRADA Cup Pairings Announced

The schedule for the PRADA Cup has been revealed as a multitiered extravaganza featuring over a month of racing, stretching from January 15 through February 22. First, the three teams—American Magic, INEOS Team UK and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli—will face off in a 12-race, six-day ...read more

01-LEAD-Opener-ETNZ1_-106_silo

The 36th America's Cup

A Superbowl is a Superbowl, and a World Series is a World Series. Sure, the names of the players and the teams change from year-to-year, but otherwise, the game pretty much remains the same. Not so the America’s Cup. Still, in many ways a hot mess left over from the days of Queen ...read more