Monday, December 18, 2017
It has been over one year since we purchased our second sailboat. The first was a small Sunfish for 2 that we bought in California and moved with us to Tennessee. It had fallen off of our friend's car in transport onto the freeway. He did not have the money to repair the body. Got it cheap, Mark thought he would launch it in Tennessee and teach Wesley how to sail. It was stored in the shed at my father's house with the 1970's pop-up trailer, never to be used again. Someone took it away, can't remember who. Not much sailing in Tennessee, at least not for us.
Sometime in 2014 to 2015 Mark started searching the Internet for retirement options. He came across a whole world of regular people sailing around the world with little or no experience. It was no time at all until he was practically a member of their extended families following them around the world on YouTube in his lazy boy rocker during the cold Montana winters.
He has always had more energy than was needed for one person. Multiple Sclerosis has slowed him down a bit physically. He became emotionally heightened by the idea of being off the grid and so far away from people. The romantic idea of being self sufficient, beholding to no one; a pioneer of sorts was appealing to him. I thought it was a phase and kept right on thinking my retirement would be a series of traveling cruise ships, learning to quilt and playing with grand children.
Spring 2016 came and he was shopping for a sailboat in Flathead Lake in Montana. This is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River in the continental US. Their are 2 harbors for sailboats. Mark made quick work of finding which he would like best and found a suitable boat. Our motorcycle buddies we had been traveling with over the past few years were surprised he was giving up life on the road for life on the water. The lady was a 27 foot Catalina with no name. Lovingly cared for by a then retired Whitefish English teacher. He had her for many years and informed us of her entire history being in Flathead Lake since new.
Mark hired one of my fellow Medical Technologist's husband to give him sailing lessons. This particular man had just sold his sail making business in New Jersey and moved to Montana. He did not have a boat anymore, but raced with the local sailing club each weekend. Lessons were on a small 22 foot boat that responded immediately to any change. Luckily I was not onboard when our Catalina healed the maximum and laid the mast in the water for a millisecond before righting itself. Once the wind blows your sail over as far as it can, the wind goes over your sail and the sail has no wind to hold it in position so it pops back up exactly vertical. Of course it helps to have a 4,000 pound ballast of lead at the bottom of the keel.
Saloon area with table up
Dayton Harbor Yacht Club
Mark liking at the telltales and the wind indicator on top of the mast to see the direction of the wind and how to trim the sails.
Shot of mainsail from captain's position.
I am enjoying a nice day on Flathead Lake.
Mark in bow stateroom during a daily siesta. He could just fit. The saloon was only 6 feet tall so he had to bend over if standing down below.
My turn as skipper.