Posted by: First Mate | April 1, 2010

How did we get here?

And where are we going?  You see, I am a 41-year-old wife and mom with a 42 foot cruising catamaran.  We also have a home – yet with working, after school activities and life in general I struggle with making time (and room) for everything.  In many ways I wonder if I am a good candidate for this lifestyle.  I like my stuff – but am not attached to it, at 19 I packed 1 large duffel bag and a back pack and moved overseas to study.  A huge trunk and a few boxes were left at my small women’s college in New England that were never retrieved.  Upon returning to the US, I transferred to a large coed school in a warm climate…then after college moved East again and took $800 and two suitcases.  I am not afraid of work, study or research all of which you need for life on a boat.

Vanity, oh, I have it.   It is not in overdrive, my nails are rarely polished, but I do believe in BOTOX, Lasers and Pilates. I grew up around boats, camping and in the sun – so a good sunscreen and concealer is always with me.

When on the boat for extended periods – what do I miss?  The ability to use an excess of toilet paper.  Environmentalists – stop reading here.  Yes, a fantasy of using gobs of toilet paper and flushing over and over or even better: taking a square attached to the roll and just flushing to see how much can be pulled into the whirlpool of wasting water. (This act can’t be performed on a boat.) I don’t/won’t do it at home but feel that the two or three squares used on a boat are like a diet – the conservation triggers this craving for waste/indulgence.  A 30 minute shower?  I don’t do that either, no time, but it sounds amazing.

The ability to let go and sail off to explore the world and the open water provides an amazing freedom.   And how are cruisers different from the Reid Stowe’s of the world (see  The Mars Ocean Odyssey) who has spent 1075 days AT SEA “to attempt the longest sea voyage in history”?   He calls it the Mars Ocean Odyssey – which is so ridiculous. This life is not for us – ever.  I am both envious of those who do the long journeys with kids, new girlfriends, dogs, etc and sort of fear the lifestyle.

I am constantly struck dumb by people who acquire a boat and all the “essential equipment” with the intent to use the vessel for survival purposes or to become self-sufficient.  “It is my dream” or “When it all breaks loose and the country falls apart I can live on my boat with my generator and water maker and travel to a safe place.”  No mention of skills or expertise here – or even knowing and understanding all the intricacies involved with sailing, keeping a boat safe and in working order. Have you ever looked at a survival website where they advise buying lots of rechargeable batteries for your survival kit?  Where would you recharge them with no electricity?  These people make NO sense to me.

It seems that many have made bets and dedicated blogs to Reid Stowe’s ability to succeed.  My favorite is 1000 Days of Hell, Stowe has made it to 1075 days, in a 70ft gaffed rigged schooner, Anne,  which he built himself based on the old Gloucester fishing boats.  Ironically, Stowe’s success, despite a few upsets (a collision, first mate’s pregnancy and departure, rogue waves, etc), is definitely based on luck,  research and sailing knowledge?  How will we ever know?  Many sailors consider him a fraud.  Handmade 30+-year-old boat, 42,000 lbs of cement ballast and a wood burning stove – sound romantic to many but sort of insane to me.    After 1,000 days, where are you getting the wood for the stove, from your handmade hardwood cabinets?  Remember, he isn’t setting foot on land. I admire the journey, but do believe the man is crazy.

We had so many considerations when we researched/purchased our newest boat, it took almost a year to accomplish.  (Credit needs to be given to my husband, the captain, who did all the research on the manufacturers, safety, motors, sails, rigging, etc,  and also negotiated and paid for it.) Adding to what we use, what we need and what we want is an ongoing process.  I have been around boats most of my life and would never claim to be an expert.  Like the rest of us I am still learning and everyday on the water makes it a worthwhile journey.



  1. Anne – you should be a writer!! Well – I know you studied that at Columbia and I am waiting for your first novel. The boat sounds so exciting!! I am really happy for you guys. No more “salty dogs” though. I look forward to reading your entries. Take care – I love you sister!

  2. Anne, I enjoyed reading your blog this morning. It reminds me of so many wonderful sailing experiences and the peace you find when you can get off the merry-go-round for a few hours or days. Take good care, Jane

  3. Great reading Anne…I look forward to the next, best adventure story featuring the Captain,First Mate and the Princess….Maybe Ginger and the Professor will be included in the next outing…

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