When I first met Emily I was deep in a boat project, chatted for a few minutes, piled a bunch of sailing books into her arms and shoed her away. I had spent the last few years quietly waiting for the perfect mate to come along but on this day both it and her were the last things on my mind.
A lot has changed since that day but I’m still here still doing projects for that some day when the stars align and my time comes to make the metamorphosis from a transinet working sailor to a voyager. For now sailing from port to port in search of work and play fills me with enough enthusiasm to keep moving foreward but every day the itch grows a little stronger. When Emily asked if she could move aboard I said no, still living in constant fear of what I desired most, a sailing partner. Summer slowly came to an end, Emily quit her job, accepted a new one, packed her bags and said her goodbyes to all of us. Like Emily I was ready to move on, hoping to winter over in Port Townsend to earn a few freedom chips while I wait to see what the universe has in store for me.
Emily spent the last night on the boat before her departure. I wanted more than anything to ask her to stay but she had her life and I had mine. I make it a very serious habit to not ask for things from other people, I always figure what’s meant to be is meant to be. It wasn’t difficult to see where the evening was going. She was desperate for me to ask her to stay but it wasn’t in the stars. Emily went for a long walk to sort through her feelings and when she came back let loose on me. I listened to everything she had to say and while I wasn’t comfortable giving up my man cave to a tween novice fueled with an ever growing dream of a lifestyle she new very little about, I made her and offer.
I laid out the ships rules, my rules and everything in-between. I told her I wasn’t willing to commit to anything but that I would be willing to take it one day at a time and that if she stayed either of us had the open option of leaving at any point period. Moving a novice sailor onto such a small boat took time. We had been together the whole summer but she would always leave giving me my much needed space to write and chill. We have survived our first month together and small, well thought out projects make the boat a little larger each day. We are also both learning to live together in such a small space and learning to read eachothers ever changing moods. When it all becomes too much which can happen easily in such a small space I either crawl into the V-berth to read or sulk or I send her to bed so I can write in the salon. This is a big and slow process for both of us but its also working out quite well minus the ocasional head butting that would happen anywhere, but is much more likely to happen in the confines of a small yacht.
Finding a larger boat is often the topic while we share small simple meals by candle light in the cozy saloon but one by one we keep crossing the Other Boat off the list. The final three on our list are the Bristol Channel Cutter 28, Nor’Sea 27 and Dana 24 and while we can easily find reasons why all these boats might be good for us we can also find many reasons why the small boat we already own is better for us than the alternitive. I’ve been going about this solo for so long I had forgotten how fun it is when you are doing it with your best friend.
We always learn so much at boat seminars. The underlying them always seems to be that people who marry their best friends always make the most successful cruising partners. Spending time with so many couples who have been through so much together but still look into each others eyes the way they did during their honeymoon years tells volumes about the benefits of being incredibly patient and flexible when it comes to finding your partner. We’re still taking it all in one day at a time, its just that each day becomes significantly more important when we live them together. It’s not always easy but it’s always worth it.
I never expected it to be easy. ~ Lin Pardey