Since I moved aboard, it has always been a struggle to balance sailing with work. When I was in dental school, my goal was to sail across the Atlantic Ocean. Whenever I looked at a boat to buy, that was the lens through which it was evaluated. Liveaboard space and creature comforts were not as important to me as its sea worthiness.
I wanted a heavy displacement, full keel, cutter rigged sailboat. When I came across Wisdom on yachtworld, I knew I had found my new home! She was designed for ocean racing but the previous owner had fitted the interior for cruising. This seemed like a wonderful compromise between live-ability and performance. 45 feet on deck may sound roomy, but with an 11 foot beam, she is anything but that.
The design principles at that time were simple, a narrow boat will cut through the water more easily then a wider boat. This translates into more speed which is a wonderful feature while cruising, but at the sacrifice of a lot of interior volume.
When Maddie moved aboard, the lack of interior space was brought to my attention. Maddie forgave this fault when we did our summer cruise and were able to maintain speeds of 8 and 9 knots without much effort (as long as the wind would hold).
All these thoughts of sailing to far away places may seem fine, until you factor in my morning commute. Come Monday morning, I need to drive to work and can't be on a distant horizon. When I first bought Wisdom, my parents thought it was a phase that I was going through and within a year I would be back on land. My first year on the boat was spent learning her features and fixing the major problems. While I spoke of sailing off, Wisdom was not ready yet. After a few years of refitting, she is nearing completion and my thoughts of sailing off are being viewed as serious plans rather than pipe dreams.
Concern has been voiced about how much time I would be taking off from the office, and this is an honest concern to have. I work in a dental practice with my father, just like my father did with my grandfather (we like our family traditions). In the office I do a lot of surgical procedures that my father does not do and if I take off for an extended amount of time, who would do these surgeries?
While I understand the resistance to the thought of me packing up and shipping off, it is important to also consider it from the opposite perspective. I am young and able to ship off. I have a boat that can carry me to distant shores, exploring new lands that you can't reach by plane or car. I have made sure to keep my monthly expenses low (except for my student loans, they are not a low monthly expenditure) to allow me more time with the money I have saved up to cover my expenses while I cruise.
The summer of 2015, Maddie and I set off on a 1 month cruise, where we set sail heading South. We sailed the Chesapeake and out into the Atlantic Ocean. We visited a few towns along the way and enjoyed every moment of it. Then we arrived from our trip and I returned to work.
Getting up early to commute to work with a bunch of crazy drivers everyday can get very old. During the month of February 2016, I was involved in 2 distinct accidents. The first accident occurred because a guy decided to change lanes without looking and rammed into the side of my car. 11 days later, traffic slows down to a stop but one car did not and caused a 4 car pile up. Luckily I was the 4th car in the pileup and was only rear ended.
The people in the car behind mine were very high on something and the police who arrived at the scene did not care. When the three of us (me and the other two drivers) expressed concern about how high they appeared, the officers words were "Nobody died, I don't care." The officers argument was that they didn't smell like alcohol or smoke, so he didn't think they were high. I have a lot of people that come into my dental office seeking narcotics and have received special training in spotting a junkie. This person was most definitively high!
While standing on the side of the highway waiting for the police to write up the report and listening to the junkie scream at all of us in their delirious fits of rage and confusion made me wish I was sailing with Maddie.
When we were cruising, we would wake up in the morning, raise anchor and set the sails. There was no traffic, no crazy people riding your bumper and then rear ending you. While sailing there was only peace, nature, and tranquility.
When people question my desires to take an extended leave from work and go sailing, I understand their perplexity to my plans. They have never experienced this feeling of peace and harmony. They have commuted to work everyday and feel that heavy traffic, accidents, and long drives are a part of everyday life! To them, this is a normal and average day. It's like asking someone to imagine a color that they have never seen, it can't be done! Once you have seen that new color though, you can't imagine what it would be like without that color in your life.