A lot of people ask us how long it took us to turn our dream into reality...while the beginning stages of this "journey" are well chronicled deep within the bowels of this blog, I figured I'd sum it up for those of you who are planning/dreaming/scheming a similar adventure.
First of all, this life was both of our dreams. I can't recall for sure, but I'm pretty certain our intentions of living a gypsy life at sea came up during our very first conversation. I mention this because I think it's important. Neither of us had to spend any time convincing the other that this is what we should do. I hear from a lot people (men, mostly) who have been dreaming of a life at sea who's partners are either flat out against it or reluctant participants. Scott and I lucked out when we found each other and we knew it. Almost the instant we got together in August of 2007, this plan of "sailing around the world" was hatched and steps were taken to turn this dream into a reality.
The first year was spent talking about the plan, mostly. After all - we were in a new relationship and while we both had the underlying feeling that we were in it for the long haul, we took it slow. Things didn't really get kicked into high gear until mid-2008 when we got really serious about each other and this "plan" of ours and started looking for boats. This is usually an incredibly exciting and equally daunting part of the process for wannabe cruisers. Many people spend years looking for the "right" boat - fortunately for us, we didn't have that much time. We opted to look for boats in our immediate area (namely, the Great Lakes) so that we didn't have to spend time or money flying from coast to coast looking for a boat. Surely there had to be something in our neck of the woods, right? They say the first boat you buy is the easiest because you don't know what want and what to look for and we found this to be true. Blissful ignorance! I did a lot of online research and poured through piles of sailing books and magazines and the picture became a little more clear for us when Scott and I came up with a very specific list of things we thought we wanted in our future boat. That list, combined with the fact that we had both a location and a budget to further define our parameters helped narrow our search considerably.
I started looking online for boats in late 2008 and we found our Rasmus in the beginning May of 2009 and she was surveyed by the end of that same month. We bought her in June and sailed her to Chicago in July. That's about a seven month turn around which, from what I've gathered from other cruiser's, is pretty dang fast. Again - Scott and I lucked out. The stars were aligned and, despite being totally green in the whole "boat buying" thing, we found ourselves a fantastic cruising boat.
Once we bought our boat in July of 2009 we knew there was no turning back. We set a 'tentative' departure date of August 2010 to shove off via the Erie Canal and started making lists. Lots and lots of lists; what needed to be replaced, what needed to be fixed, books we needed to read, items we needed to get... Our life was (and still is) measured by project lists that seem to grow and shrink daily with the Dow Jones. We had just over a year to prepare our boat for hard-core live-aboard cruising and we had a lot to do. We didn't do much (if any) real work on her that summer, and that winter we hauled her out and started work. I'm not going to break down everything we did, as that is all documented on our refit page but suffice it to say we did a LOT.
Because getting out of dodge sooner rather than later was our #1 priority, we opted to hire out help to refit our boat in order to save time. While DIY'ing is fantastic (we actually did a lot of this as well), it will take you a lot longer to get to the starting line especially if you are learning as you go. We enlisted the expertise of C&E Marine Group to help us with our boat electronics and we hired Rentner Marine to install our new Yanmar engine as well as install our new Edson chain and cable steering. These were probably two of the smartest decisions we made. Both of these companies proved worth their weight in GOLD and not only did they do incredible work to our boat, we learned a TON working alongside them. To this day we call and talk to them if we have questions or need advice and, after working together for nearly a year, are happy to call them our friends.
Our boat was "splashed" in July where Scott and I continued to work on her just about every spare hour we had. Oh yeah, we also got married. I quit my job in August to work on the boat full time and Scott followed suit in early September. We worked on Rasmus like crazy having passed our August deadline and set a new one. We knew we had to leave by the end of September or else we would have been forced to take the Mississippi River down south - something we both did not want to do. We were burning the midnight oil working from 8am till after midnight most days in a desperate attempt to beat the clock.
On September 28th, 2010 - Scott and I left the dock for the last time, and have sailed over 5,000 nautical miles since.
So, while both Scott and I had been dreaming of sailing around the world since our early teens, we really went from "dream to reality" in under three years. Not too shabby!
Brittany & Scott