It’s 4:30 on Friday afternoon. It comes as no surprise that I’m drinking at a cafe’, injecting my daily dose of caffeine. I can’t decide whether its American culture or Starbucks to blame for our lack of sidewalk cafes in the US. Regardless, I’ll be damned if I don’t try to blend into my surroundings while here.
I left you about this time yesterday, just as my crew mates were making their way to my hotel for happy hour. Staton, from Seattle, Vince from Harrisburg, PA, Jeff from Thailand (the most white retiree I’ve ever met) and then later, Vicky from Toronto, all joined in last nights fun. The first three and I sat on the porch of the Santa Catalina, drinking vodka tonics for an hour, breaking the ice on what hopes to be a pleasant month’s long friendship.
The clear front-runner for entertainment is Staton. In his mid-30’s, he hails from Seattle, where he has his hands in multiple ventures, none of which I understand. Part of the IT gig economy, I guess. He owns a sailboat docked on Lake Washington, and enjoys cruising around the San Juans. His girlfriend lives in Breckenridge, so we found common ground early. He’s gregarious, and wasted no time to tell us all things about himself. Most stories were interesting, so one could ignore his voluntary exuberance. Tell us again how you lost half your calf in a road biking accident or what the name of the Navy vessel was that you were on when you saved Captain Phillips from the Somalian pirates.
Next to him was Vince. He is close to retirement, married with a son living in Denver, and a daughter finishing her anesthesiology fellowship on the east coast. Engineer by trade, he is a funny and easy going guy, and I can see that he’ll be my respite when Staton’s antics become exhausting.
Jeff lives in the mountains of Thailand, was somewhat secretive about his past marriage, existence in America, and dating experience in Asia Pacific. Apparently his month’s long visit to Thailand in 2020 ended up lasting until the present. He’s retired, and seems open to most things. His accent gives hints of the East coast, so I’m not sure if he’s running from mafia ties, or he’s too chill to share anything of personal nature. We’ll pay close attention to that one.
Vicky comes to us from Toronto. Recently married, she is crossing an ocean because her husband’s family are all sailors and she is either scoring a point, or trying to win the upper hand on her acquired kin. Like most from Canada, the only argument she’s likely had in years is over who gets to hold the door or pay the dinner bill. She’ll be harmless, and is fairly quiet, but hopefully will add something to the eclectic crew. I think she works for an IT company.
I have to run to the boat, so will need to unpack more of last night, later.
It’s now 10:30 on Friday night. I’m sitting at the table in the main salon of Falken. We are all moved in, fed, bathed, and aside from Jeff’s incessant sipping (he must have learned in the Orient), all is quiet on the Western front. This is my favorite time as a sailor. The dim overhead lights, casting a glow on the furnished wood belowdecks. The warm glow of the lamps, the smell of the salt water, the gentle lapping of water along the hull. Some say this is the closest you will ever be to the womb.
I made it back to the boat just after five, and following a quick tour below decks, we assembled in the cockpit. In the spirit of sleep away camp, and the first day of school, we spent an hour sharing our background with respect to sailing, our origins, what we hope to gain from the passage, and any other bits of info relevant, significant, or funny. I never can tell if my antics endear people to me, or destroy any semblance of respect in the first 15 minutes - I suppose you need to pick a side, which is better than having no opinion.
What I want most out of this sail is more experience flying the “kite” (The colorful spinnaker sail one flies going downwind), time behind the helm (steering the boat), and of course the bragging rights and subsequent tattoo acquired from crossing an ocean. I also learned that after 5,000 nautical miles, I’m allowed a sparrow tattoo. And a rooster and a pig inked on your feet (rooster on the right, pig on the left) is a good Oman as well. From sailing lore, when a ship wrecked, the farm animals (pigs and roosters were apparently the most common) would often be found riding along the floating debris from a wreck, long after any humans. Pretty sure these guys are just making shit up, but how cool would it be to show my rabbi a new tattoo of swine on my body?
When class was dismissed, we were allowed to unpack, and then given some basic instructions on the two most important elements of the boat - the galley (kitchen) and the head (bathroom). All fun ceases when someone stops up the toilet, or vomits in the kitchen.
We walked along the harbor to dinner, and sat outside as the sun set over the Atlantic, enjoying our first of many meals together. Conversation on one side of the table dove into the polarizing topic of Brexit (Bruce is the oldest tenured professor at the London School of Business), while the other side discussed the benefits of Opium (Nelson is an ER doc from Dallas). It’s clear already that conversations will be as varied as our backgrounds. I’m very curious about Jeff’s history, all the more concerning given that his bunk is below my own. I just hope he doesn’t have access to a horse head - there’s no room for that in my sleeping bag.
It’s about 11, so time to shut it down for the night. Tomorrow’s agenda: full day of safety briefing. I’m excited to learn how to remove my own appendix under sail.
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
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Set Sail 7.18.19 | Newport, RI -
Martha's Vineyard, MA -
Nantucket, MA -
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