Go small, go simple, go now. Those are the words that have been ringing in my head ever since our little road trip to Oakland and the Strictly Sail Pacific boat show.
Almost an oxymoron really. All those sleek, glossy lines of brand new production boats and a sea of Sperry Topsiders shuffling around the docks, can make you feel like you’re $500,000 away from getting out on the oceans. But only if you stay in the expo area with all the latest gear and gadgets.
Inside the hundreds of free workshops offered, are real sailors eager to share their adventures and best advice for how you too can make long term cruising possible.
My favorite, was Lin Parday, whose mantra is quoted above, “Go small, so simple, go now.” Lin and her husband Larry not only sailed around the world, but circumnavigated on two different boats, both of which they built themselves. I should add that they were both under 30 feet long, and neither one of them even had an engine. Can you say bad-ass?
Lin was a breath of salty sea breeze (just what we’re craving!) amongst the stuffy boat finance reps and brand spokespeople, peddling dreams and bottles of complimentary pinot noir. Sorry, I’m going to need a much stiffer beverage if you want me to sign away my freedom on a $400,000 floating mortgage! With her barley over 5 foot frame, Lin was full of adventurous tales that literally spanned the globe, from the Mediterranean to an 18-month long African Safari.
Lin & Larry aboard Serrafyn. Image originally appeared on Cruising World.
Right after Lin, my next favorite was Bob Bitchin, a harley driving, former bodyguard of Evil Knievel, gentle giant of a man sailor. Apparently, sometime in the 70’s, Bob sailed out of San Francisco on a huge schooner headed for Guatemala with no engine, (another boat with no engine! I didn’t realize engines were optional!) kerosene running lights, and 21 foot oars to maneuver. Bob’s been an avid sailor ever since. He also publishes Cruising Outpost, an online and print magazine about the boating and cruising lifestyle.
Diego, Serafina (with the after party pizza all over her face!) and Bob Bitchin.
I could totally sail around the world in a super fab condo like this! Cocktails anyone?
I guess like any sport there are those that buy the best equipment and clothing, and those that actually do the sport. Sailing is no different. (Not to say, I don’t have a gear fetish myself; looking good is half the fun!)
Regardless, I left the show with a much smaller list of items we truly need to pull this stunt off, and that feels nothing short of awesome. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit sometimes I wonder why we’re chasing this dream so furiously. It can be hard to stay motivated and continue to say no to small everyday pleasures like a washing machine in my home, or dinners out, or my favorite…new clothes. We’re putting every spare dime aside, and thanks to the generosity of our friends who’ve taken us in and given us a sailing halfway house, and those that have gone before us like Lin and Bob, we’re still on course.
Even up here in the Sierra Nevada’s at 3,500′ elevation, we’re closer than we think if we just go small, and go simple–then we’ll be going SOON!
Diego did a short video interviewing Bob and Lin at the show. Check it out here. And thanks again for sharing this hero’s journey with us. Anything worth having is worth waiting for, right?