Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Long Way

The Pitons in St. Lucia - We've come a long way, baby!
When we tell people we are from Chicago, a few things register in their head, (usually in this order):

1)  The Chicago Bulls (back in the "Jordan" era, that is)
2)  The "Windy" City (followed by a "brrrrrrrr....")
3)  ...wait a minute...did you sail from Chicago?! (which then leads to...)
4)  Isn't it land locked from the ocean?! (punctuated by a confused look on face...)

After we explain to people that, yes, you can access the ocean via the Great Lakes, Erie Canal and Hudson River, we usually get an impressed "WOW" followed by a silent nod while people mentally trace the route with their minds.  Apparently not a lot of people go the "long way" like we did.  Most we have met buy their boats down south somewhere and take off from there.  We could have gone the "easier"* route and taken the Mississippi River - but by the time we left, Scott and had I sailed our boat a meager three times that summer due to all the refitting we were doing.  We needed a shakedown sail, and badly. What better way to shakedown your boat than sail through three of the five Great Lakes and down a significant portion of the East Coast?  We would learn a lot, we would learn it fast, but still be relatively close to "home".  It would be the "long" way, but it would give us the most bang for our buck, for sure.

In retrospect, coming the way we did was probably the singlemost best decision we have made (okay, after Rasmus).  We learned a ton about our boat, how she handles, how we handle her and - truth be told - the east coast in November was some of the gnarliest sailing we have done thus far (second to the North coast of the Dominican Republic).  We cut our teeth in a big way.

Scott and I didn't realize just how big a deal our journey was until we got down here and we began to notice people's reactions to our story.  Lots of people think we are insane.  Others are blown away.  Some are dumbfounded.  But most are impressed.  We are too, in fact.

Just yesterday, we passed the 4,400 nautical mile mark and we have no plans to stop anytime soon!  We hope to stay afloat as long as possible - this is the life.

Brittany & Scott

*The Mississippi route is shorter and, some might say, "easier".  You cannot sail at all and have to deal with barges, floating logs and currents so it has a different set of challenges, however the challenges would have done little for testing our systems as well as our boat handling skills in open water (which is what we needed).  It was our "back up" plan if we didn't leave Chicago in time (by October) and we did everything in our power to not have to use it.


Mid-Life Cruising! said...

We're impressed ... and inspired! Congrats on getting there!

Anonymous said...

And the Mississippi route would be BORING compared to the route that you chose.

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