Had a great time at Strictly Sail Chicago. Caught up with good friends, listened to and learned from some of the best names in cruising (Lin and Larry Pardey, Nigel Calder, Bob Bitchin, John Rousmaniere, Lee Chesneau, Sheryl and Paul Shard, John Otterbacher, George Day), bought a few things, listened to steel drums, explored the food of Navy Pier (ya gotta go to Bubba Gumps), looked at boats we will never be able to afford (or to be honest, even want), and through it all we are as sure as ever that this is what we want to do.
Three years ago was our first trip to Chicago for this event. At that time we were three to four years into sailing and were just soaking it all up. Last year we went with the idea that this was something we were serious about doing and really started to take steps to fulfill our dream. This year we were more focused on learning the intricacies of what it takes to be cruisers. This time next year we hope to be on the water putting all this information to good use.
We have been making all the right moves in our lives to prepare ourselves for our intended life afloat. We are eliminating our piles of stuff, prepping the house for sale, studying everything we can get our hands on and sailing as much as possible. Yet there are times when we have suffered doubts that our dream is going to work out. Are we good enough sailors? Can we sell the house soon enough and for enough money? Will we chicken out and stick to a traditional life?
Listening to all these extremely experienced sailors tell stories about their mistakes, blunders and bad judgement put some perspective to our worries. More than one of them said, "Any fool can do it." Well we certainly can pass that test. We came away with a renewed commitment to our plan and actually came to realize that our little plan is truly small when compared to other cruisers accomplishments.
The last seminar we attended featured long distance sailor George Day. As we settled into our chairs we noticed the large map he had on an easel for the presentation. He had drawn a line marking the 10 sections of his circumnavigation on the map. Both of us have looked at numerous maps of other sailor's circumnavigations, yet this map made us realize just what a small area of this amazing world our big trip would entail.
The first photo show George's trip and on the second photo we circled our entire dream sailing territory. That really startled us for some reason. In our novice minds our plans seems so huge, yet in the right perspective it really is a pretty small, reasonable and attainable goal.