Today is kind of a big day in my life as a ‘sailor’, although I am very far away from the sailing scene at the moment.
Ten years ago, I spent some time in New Zealand with my best friend Johanna, driving our new-to-us backpacker car – a Nissan Bluebird – exploring the beauty of New Zealand, camping, hiking, meeting lots of fun people and truly having the time of our life.
A few days before the New Year - this was still 2006 - Johanna and I went skydiving in Taupo. We met two Brits and a very charming American guy that day, spent the New Year together in Napier and got invited by the boys to go sailing with them for a few days in Queen Charlotte Sounds. They had already chartered a 28-ft sailboat and invited us girls along! That was the first time I ever was on a sailboat, today, 10 years ago!
The rest from that trip is history but ever since I met Andy, sailing has been a big part of our life. We quickly bought our own boat on the Chesapeake, our Allied Seabreeze Arcturus, with big plans to sail her to Sweden and beyond one day! The learning curve was very steep for me; I can’t say I remember much from the sailing we did in NZ.
The goal to take Arcturus across the Atlantic became reality four years later. Arcturus has been an amazing boat for us to start with; we did not have hardly any money to spend at the time and she was fairly cheap to refit, with no complicated systems that cost a fortune. It was a lot of love and a lot of hard work that went into the refit and to get her ready for the ocean. We had lots of help from family and friends during the refit and could not have done it without all those helping hands. Andy’s parents were down almost every weekend that summer helping us drilling holes, fitting equipment, rigging and painting. Neighbors gave us free use of their workshops!
In 2011 we set of to Newport; the date was set to July 4th, and we were committed. We didn't leave the dock until 11pm, but the point is we left that day. And Arcturus has not been back in Annapolis harbor since. We sailed her up to Newport where Andy’s parents joined us to Nova Scotia; our friend Clint met us there and continued up via St. Pierre all the way to Ireland. A year later, in 2012 we finally made it to Sweden and Arcturus was “home”. We had some sweet summers onboard her in the Sthlm Archipelago cruising, “working from home” and living a very sweet onboard life!
But Arcturus got a bit small for the grand plan of starting the business and taking people offshore sailing! She was the perfect boat for the two of us, but adding just one or two people for more then just a weekend cruise would have been tough. During a winter break, Andy got his eyes on some Swans and realized that we could actually afford one of them and create the business he always had dreamed about. The winter of 2015 we spotted Isbjorn, back then called Patriot, up in a yard in CT and there was no looking back for Andy. It took me a bit longer to warm up to this idea of selling Arcturus and getting this big Swan, but I just love her now. And here we are, 10 years later, on our second boat, sailed thousands and thousands of miles.
And it is almost daunting to imagine where we will be 10 years from now...!?