I don’t want to cause Tara stress by telling her that I have these odd thoughts of mortality. Like, what if this is it? Now that I have a better sense of the danger in going offshore for days, I know that making landfall isn’t guaranteed. I’ve been trying to put the thoughts of leaving our little girls without a father out of my mind. So, am I excited about the trip? I think so? As I climbed into the Uber this afternoon, Tara, Charley, Nora, and Ruby stood with tears in their eyes telling me to come home soon. I will. In a few weeks.
For those of you just tuning into this reckless abandon of a great and “safe” life, let me give you some background...
A year ago, as I was listening to a “sailing porn” podcast (Tara’s words), I heard a commercial from a company called Offshore Passage Opportunities. After visiting their website, I learned that the company did two things. One, they run a network connecting captains that want to move their boat (“passage”) with experienced crew who want the experience to sail said passages. The crew pays an annual fee to be on the message board and can respond to any posts by the captains. If selected, they pay their way to and from the boat, but sail the passage for free. Great way for a sailor to gain offshore miles.
The other aspect of the company is to give a less-experienced sailor an opportunity to sail offshore for the first time with a licensed captain, for a fee. In short, an opportunity to give a sailor the experience to later join the network and be selected by a captain to crew one of his/her offshore passages.
As I was developing this dream of going to sea with my family, finding opportunities to get blue water (offshore) experience was crucial. I surfed the message board to get a sense of the passages requiring crew. And then I saw it. There was an owner of an Oyster 56 looking for crew to move his vessel from New York down to the Caribbean in the fall. The Oyster 56 was/is the boat Tara and I have dreamed of to safely take our family anywhere in the world. And so, my 12 month plan was set.
I signed up for the paid trip with the owner of OPO, a licensed captain, from St. Maarten to Newport Rhode Island (through Bermuda). My hypothesis a year ago was that if I could survive and enjoy that trip, I would have the experience to sign up on the message board, be put in contact with the owner of the Oyster 56, and then offer my services to help be part of his crew in the fall. I expect you’ve connected the dots on where this is going...
Tomorrow morning, I will Uber from the Hilton next to the Hartford airport down to Westbrook Connecticut, a harbor town on Long Island Sound, to join the 4-man crew of Tango, an Oyster 56 owned by Captain Richard Azar. The four of us will skipper the boat while the Captain will be in charge of weather routing and feeding his crew. Total strangers.
Aside from the excitement of getting offshore experience on the vessel we hope to purchase, we are leaving the East coast in late October where Nor’easters will likely greet our departure, and the dwindling hurricane systems south of Bermuda may give us a scare or delay our second leg. All of this adds value to the experience I hope to gain. It also adds to the mixed emotions.
My business coach and mentor originally shared the idea that you can never connect the dots going forward. Only by looking back, and connecting the dots, can you arrive at who you have become. And so, mixed emotions or not, I’m in it, making dots. Time will tell how this adventure shapes me, my outlook, our family’s future on the water, and of course our marriage. Therapy? Perhaps I’ll find it under the stars or in a blow out on the Atlantic.
We're the Zimmerman Family!
Home Base | Denver, CO
A family of six that
LOVES to sail !
Follow our crew (Royce, Tara, Avery, Charley, Nora & Ruby)
as we blog our sailing adventures
Set Sail 4.22.23 | Las Palmas - Across the Atlantic - Island of Antigua
Set Sail 9.22.21 | Sweden - Germany -
Set Sail 7.18.19 | Newport, RI -
Martha's Vineyard, MA -
Nantucket, MA -
Thanks for reading !
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