Monday, April 2, 2012


Coconut Grove, Miami, FL 25º43.532N | 80º14.193W
"This morning Isabella's new owners came to get her. I wanted to be there to wave goodbye when she left, not 1800 miles away. I wanted to salute her, to raise a glass, to delight in her beauty, to sit one last time in that bowsprit seat, to run along the dock with balloons, something, anything."
Two years ago today, our old boat's new owners picked her up from the Outer Banks while I was far away taking care of my mother in New Mexico.

We bought Isabella, a Downeast 32', nine years ago in Fort Lauderdale, and for us, she was our first mental ticket to board a dream, as I wrote in a tribute to her. We thought, hoped she would be our cruising boat, but instead she was our able cruising instructor, teaching us so many lessons about what we wanted and needed in a cruising boat and how to care for a waterborne home.

You never get over that first love. This was my farewell to her from afar.

FLASHBACK: Friday, April 2, 2010


Boats are a mystery to me. Just as surely as they are made of wood and fiberglass and metal, inanimate parts held together with nails, epoxy and screws, so also they are inexplicably alive, coursing with their own spirit, an undeniable presence. They can be on the one hand exuberant, compliant, gentle, or on the other cranky and obstinate.

It is left to us to adapt to their personality, to accommodate their foibles and idiosyncrasies. Eventually, the adaptation complete, we have a new "normal."

"Oh, you don't have to hold your mouth this way and wave your left hand when you start your engine? Strange."

"You don't have a plastic washer on the forestay to keep the staysail from jamming? Weird."

But just as we conform to the ways of our boat, she gives back in equal measure. On the water, we are utterly dependent on her for survival. She in turn takes care of us, our sole protection against the elements. KEEP READING

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