The wind in our hair
I will love you everywhere
‘Round the world, I swear
The wind in our hair
I will love you everywhere
‘Round the world, I swear
As Austin and I first started sailing, I got use to doing it just the two of us. I felt comfortable asking questions and making mistakes. I absolutely loved having company on the boat and getting to share our lives, but we would rarely take people out sailing. We had a few things we needed to fine tune before cruising. It seemed like every time we crossed one essential task off the list, we found another to add. As days turned into weeks and weeks into months, we finally started to make a dent on our seemingly never ending list of projects. It took us longer than expected, but I was excited by our progress and thrilled we would have the opportunity to sail more often.
My stepfather and 11 year old sister were the first guests to sail SVZV. Unfortunately, my sister found the whole experience to be painfully slow and boring. She considers a day shes near the water but doesn’t get to swim a day wasted. As expected, the rest of us had an incredible time.
Anticipation had been building in the hours before we left. We had tied a small anchor to our dingy so we didn’t have to tow him behind the boat, and it was our first time using the new system. After testing the new anchor set up, securing the boat, and getting everything ready to sail, we had been sitting in the sun for a little over an hour. I could feel the excitement vibrating through the air as we pulled the anchor up and motored our of the mooring field. When we finally hoisted the sails and shut the engine off the sound of the wind and waves casted a tranquil haze over SVZV and all aboard. It’s moments like this where it’s hard to believe this is truly my life.
After that experience, I wanted to take every opportunity possible to take people out sailing with us. Don’t get me wrong, I have an incredible time sailing with just us two as well, but it’s a special feeling to share something new and exciting that I’m beginning to love with others. We are finally getting to the point where we can take of and sail as we please, which has been such a relief for both of us. It is an unbelievably difficult test of ones willpower and self discipline to have a boat and not be able to use it often.
I’m setting a goal for myself to accomplish by the time travel restrictions return to normal in Hawaii (who knows when that will be): I want to have enough sailing experience and confidence to take my friends and family out when they visit, but this time I will be the captain and Austin will be my first mate.
We woke up at 3:30am on a warm summer morning. We struggled to get out of bed, get dressed, and head out the door. Although I was excited to go for a morning sail and fish for some Ono, I also strongly believed the fish still would have been there if we left at 6am instead. But you know what they say.. the early bird catches the worm, or the 40lb fish in this case.
It was still dark out when we pulled up to our friends boat. He had Tupac blasting, champagne chilling in the fridge, and was ready to get this show on the road. I, on the other hand, was proud I even remembered to zip my pants. We got everything ready to go, threw the mooring line off of the boat, and headed south towards Kaho’olawe.
The crisp morning air blew against my face, filling me with energy and excitement as the bow of the boat broke through the waves taking us towards our destination. I took over the helm allowing Austin and our friend T to set up the poles. We had two poles with massive reels out, each had a large rapala on the end that dove down ~30ft when casted into the water. So we threw out our lines, tightened the drag on our poles, and waited.
And waited some more.
By this time I’m a few mimosas deep and enjoying the gorgeous views surrounding me. This was the first time anyone trusted me at the helm unsupervised. Which, in retrospect, after the mimosas, might have been questionable.. but boy was I having fun. Then I heard it.
The line took off, moving with more speed and strength then I had ever seen. I couldn’t even form words. All I could muster was “f-f-fish!”
I have never seen Austin move so fast. With the speed and determination of a NBA player going after the ball during a championship game, he sprinted to the pole holder attached to the starboard side of the boat. Moving quickly and seemingly without effort he grabbed the pole and inserted it into a fishing belt. Then he started to reel.
He reeled and he reeled and he kept reeling it in.
My arms were sore just watching this happen.
“I see it!”
“What is it!?”
“Bring it up man!”
“Almost got it!”
Below my feet, flopping around on deck was the biggest fish I had ever witnessed anyone catch in real life. We caught an Ono!!
After cleaning him up and filleting him, we took half of him home and had enough meat for the two of us to eat for a week. I love fishing, but after that experience I’m determined to keep catching big fish. Next time maybe I’ll even reel it in myself.
I knew when we got SVZV, she would come with her own set of challenges. The physical labor I already knew would be an adjustment. I’m lazy by nature and a even chore as simple as scrubbing the bottom of the boat every 2-3 weeks was daunting. I had mentally prepared for the loss of air conditioning, WiFi, and almost all other luxuries I held as constants in my life. Although I knew it would be an uncomfortable adjustment at first, and poor Austin would have to suffer through my attitude at times, there was never a doubt that the payoff would be worth it. Owning a boat was by far the most responsibility I had ever taken on and I fully understood the effort that I would need to put in to maintain it. Only, for me, I’ve found the biggest challenges aren’t related to the maintenance of the boat.
Becoming the owner of a new sailboat was a lot like becoming a new parent (I would imagine). Since we were on anchor at first, we couldn’t leave her unattended for a long period of time. We couldn’t come back past sunset as it was a long dingy ride to and from the boat ramp. We couldn’t go out sailing past sunset either, as it’s ill advised to drop anchor with no light out. There were no more spontaneous drives or nights out. Everything was planned and we ran on a schedule. We took shifts watching her if the other had to go out for the day. Even when I did go out, I found I had to alter what I did in my free time.
I enjoy eating out, happy hours, decorating my home, bargain shopping, trying new Pinterest crafts, and other things that cost money. Now when I get paid, I first think about what we need to get done on the boat and how I can put each dollar to better use. Having something I am monetarily responsible for has had a wonderful effect on my life. Although it does cause me some stress and heartache at times, I found I am more creative and innovative than ever. I’m in the water constantly and get regular exercise. I was recently dive certified and on the road to becoming a dive master. Getting dive certified was a necessary decision for us to maintain our mooring and take care of SVZV. A practical skill set introduced me to one of the few things I can truly say I’m passionate about. It wasn’t easy to transition into an (extremely) more frugal person but the reward surpassed what I expected. It’s easy to only focus on how this move has effected me but it has proved challenging for both of us.
Austin and I never fight. We don’t bicker. I don’t have to nag him.. that much. We rarely snap at each other. Austin has one of the best dispositions of any person I’ve ever met, and if you knew him you’d understand that it’s easy not to fight with him. The first few months as we were adjusting it was fun and exciting. Besides some heated moments while I was learning to drive the dingy or we were dropping anchor, no disagreements really came up. As weeks rolled by and turned into months we spent a lot of time on the boat. 1. We have been locked down for a long time due to the pandemic, so there really aren’t many places to go 2. We were on anchor and didn’t want to leave her unattended for too long and we didn’t want to dingy back at night. Sometime during those months we started bickering.
Who knows about what. It was rarely important enough to remember the subject matter. I’d imagine being quarantined for months with your partner would cause any couple to bicker. Especially being confined to a 43’ sailboat, I cut myself some slack. Although not monumentally impactful on our day to day life, it was an unexpected adjustment. The shift from everything feeling perfect all of the time to the real world is a tough one. Overall I have learned so much about being a better partner and being a better roommate through this experience. It’s made us so much stronger and more understanding of each other. It’s just… if I have to clean up one more wet wad of paper towels from the sink I might go to prison for homicide, ya know?
After writing this whole thing out it’s clear to me that I have it pretty good. If what I’ve described above are some of the bigger challenges I’m facing, I’m doing well. That’s the thing about SVZV, the amazing life she provides me makes it all worth it.
This one is hard for me to write because it’s not a lesson I’m proud I needed to learn. When we first got Squid (our dinghy), ZV was on anchor at the outer edge of the mooring field, roughly a 15 minute ride from shore. I, having incredibly little experience, had only been in a boat with an outboard motor on a few other occasions in my lifetime. The first few times I watched the motor being started it looked easy enough. That being said, I had never even started a lawnmower before. So how could I really know? Well turns out I didn’t know. On my first attempt I sat there for 10 minutes yanking that cord, growing increasingly frustrated until I threw in the towel. Dramatically, I threw my hands in the air and exclaimed that I would “NEVER” get this stupid thing to work. And so it began.
Not being physically able to start that damn motor frustrated me beyond belief. If no one was around I could usually get it started after a handful of attempts. If we were leaving the boat ramp, or in another public location, my frustration would turn into embarrassment overs others seeing my failure. The overwhelming feelings of frustration, embarrassment, and inadequacy often pushed me to the point of tears and I would shut down. Not only was I giving up on myself, I was giving up (and often times getting angry at) Austin, who was working hard to teach me the necessary skills involved in boating.
Logically, I understand there is no shame in being a beginner and learning as I go. Logic stopped mattering when faced with a seemingly impossible task. I felt attacked and put on the spot. I’d get defensive and rude. It took me a few weeks to really look at my behavior and realize the outboard motor wasn’t the problem.. I was. This attitude I had been developing towards difficult tasks was stopping me from absorbing the knowledge I needed to know. To defeat this attitude, I had to identify the root cause of my mental block and let go of my ego.
There are still a lot of times where I get combative when learning something new. It’s something I struggle with and I’m constantly working on. At least it’s a behavior I recognize now. Being put in such a high pressure situation forces me to work on aspects of myself I don’t put much thought into regularly. For that I’m incredibly grateful. I’m incredibly proud of the hard work I am putting in, not only on the boat, but in myself as well.
As I’m sure you’ve already guessed- I can now start that motor up, no problem!
ZV officially became ours on Valentine’s Day 2020. I couldn’t have asked for a better gift. We had a 50/50 chance of getting the boat, so it was a surge of surprise and relief when we found out she was ours. The first night I was overcome with emotion. Our sudden acquisition came with a lot of responsibility and required a lot of hard work. We still had to give our 30 day notice at our apartment, move out, downsize by at least 75%, and figure out logistics. I didn’t know how we would manage it all, but I did know we had taken a huge step towards making our dreams come true.
We had to wake up at 4:30am the next morning to move ZV out of the harbor and onto her anchor in the mooring field. Part of this process involved me being on the boat alone, while she was in motion, in the dark. I was terrified. It’s funny looking back on such a trivial moment and recognizing it sparked the beginning of my growth and development as a sailor.
That morning we dropped anchor for my first time. The day was spent settling into our new home. That night, however, was not so idyllic. Austin set an alarm to go off every other hour to check the anchor as it was windy and we didn’t trust our gear yet. Austin, however, hit “stop” instead of “snooze” by mistake.
I woke up to the sound of chain scraping and the boat being jolted to the side. I instantly woke Austin up. Our anchor had dragged and we drifted dangerously close to two other boats. At that point we had got all of the sleep we were going to get that night. We made sure to keep our boat safe and moved as soon as the sun came up. After that, you can bet your ass we got a lot better at dropping anchor!
On March 3rd 2019, I moved to Maui to take care of my mother. The next day, March 4th, I went to Longs Drugstore to pick up her prescriptions. While in line I overheard the customer ahead of me give the cashier his phone number; it had a California area code. I seized the opportunity to introduce myself to a handsome guy. I thank my lucky stars every day I was feeling bold that day. I now share my life with one of the most incredible souls I know, Austin.
Austin moved to Maui a couple years before me for a job at a boating company. On our second date he invited me on a yacht for a sunset cruise. I was quickly enchanted with him and the boating lifestyle. I began to learn about boating simply through our relationship growing.
I always prioritized traveling and knew that I wanted to live my life in a way that allowed me to experience as much of the world as possible. Early on in the relationship when Austin shared that he has a goal to sail around the world by the time he reaches 30, a world of opportunity opened up. It had never occurred to me that I could travel the world, go on adventures, and bring my home along.
When we got the chance to buy a 1989 Beneteau Oceanis 430, we jumped on it. I owe a lot to Austin. If I hadn’t fallen in love with a sailor, I most likely never would have experienced the ocean in such a life changing way. Owning SVZV has been challenging and has tested me in ways I didn’t expect. 6 months in and I already know the payoff will be worth it.