The first episode of the “Traveling with the Wind” series. Moving aboard my first sailboat, and the first month filled with adventures.
This was basically the first and only adventure aboard Transeau, my first sailboat. Immediately after arriving in Miami, she became my home. I moved and lived aboard for nearly two years, before buying Anastasia.
MAKING THE FIRST STEP
At that time there were none of the famous sailing YouTube channels that exist now. I was watching Teresa Carey a lot. The thought of living on a sailboat, was a childhood dream. But back then, I was thinking a lot of a family, so I was really not into adventures at sea. I thought about buying a family sailboat, so I could go out in weekends and relax. It seems that fate had other plans with me, so things took a completely different turn.
I was living in a rented house in North Miami Beach with the owner of the house. He was a good man, but a little bit strange to be very honest. So the thought of not looking for another rent and moving aboard a sailboat was keeping my mind busy. One evening on YouTube I found a video of two young Canadian sailors, sailing with a small sailboat from Canada to Florida. They had to get to the Bahamas actually, but their vacation was coming to an end, so they had to stop.
BUYING A SAILBOAT
The two eighteen year old sailors were sailing a Grampian Marine, a 26f sailboat manufactured in Canada in 1970 called Transeau. I left a comment on the video telling them that I appreciate what they did and that I really like the boat. I was also looking to buy one and live aboard. That’s how I found out that she was actually in Florida and was for sale for $2000. I decided almost instantly that a bit of an adventure didn’t killed anyone. So I agreed to buy her and sail her alone back to Miami from Glades Boat Storage.
After I made the first half payment for the sailboat, I barely had money for the trip back to Miami. The money for the trip were actually borrowed from my good friend Saroof. After all the headaches not having a car to get there, my fiancée at the time ran away from work and took me to the boat by car. A journey of almost three hours full of adventures.
The GPS was fooling around with us, and we couldn’t even get the car in the right direction at first. Then we were also on the limit with the gas and the gas light on. The gas finished just 5 meters before entering the only gas station we found on the road. We arrived just before closing, but still had time to put the sailboat in the water and tie her to the dock.
I admired my dream of a lifetime, but I also got scared when I saw the mess inside. It was clear that they left in a hurry, same as I took my farewell from my fiancée, planning to see each other in three – four days.
After the first evening spent aboard all happiness and joy, I also realized that the three – four days planned for my return to Miami were far from reality. Firstly because I didn’t know anything about sailboats except that I like them, and secondly, it was the first time I was aboard a sailboat alone.
This is how my preparations lasted almost two weeks. There was a lot of washing and cleaning. The engine had to be repaired and many other small things to get the sailboat ready for the trip.
I didn’t know anything about sailboats and sailing, but I had dreamed at that moment all my life. Practically I was learning on the go, and I have to admit it, this was the best method. The sailboat was actually ready in the first week, but I had to wait for the title to arrive from Canada. On a Sunday at a barbeque with other people who were out there, I asked one of the older sailors, “how do you sail a sailboat ?”
In theory I had an idea, because after so many movies about sailing I was watching, I was practically an experienced sailor. Of course, theory is theory I say, but putting all that theory in practice it’s not that easy. That’s why I though it’s good to ask, because I’m definitely getting a good tip. As silly as the answer may sound, it was the best sailing lesson I have ever got. He told me to “wait for the wind, untie the boat from the dock, put the sails up and that’s how you sail”.
SAILING FOR THE FIRST TIME
As crazy as I am to do what I was told, I actually did it. While sitting quietly and having a cigarette aboard the sailboat, I noticed that the wind was picking up. Not wanting to disturb the people from the BBQ anymore, I untied the sailboat from the dock. With the motor started I was going slowly against the current.
The canal was more like a big river, but it wasn’t too wide. So I was a little worried that I might hit the rocks while turning around. As everything was ok, I turned around, lifted the sails and started sailing. Piece of cake right ?
The fact that the older sailors eventually saw the mast and were scared for me, is another story. They ran as fast as they could to the dock and yelled at me as they were just joking. But it was already too late. I was happy that I was sailing, and it seems that everything worked just as I learned from films or famous books. It seems that in the end when you like something so much, it’s not so bad putting all that theory in practice. And that’s what I did for a week, until I managed to register the boat on my name so I could finally leave for Miami.
THE VOYAGE TO MIAMI
I’ve made an agreement with two future sailing buddies to leave for Miami. Jacob and Scott were friends with each other, they wanted to sail all the way to Belize. I will definitely talk more about the whole trip in a podcast sometime. However, I learned on the way that Jacob was arrested in Mexico with his wife and daughter for arms trafficking. He was also expelled from Belize for some other reason. As I expected, the two eventually had an ugly verbal fight and Scott decided to come with me to Miami, while Jacob stayed in West Palm Beach.
I chose to go with them because if my engine failed, they could tow me to West Palm Beach. From there I could continue sailing on the ocean, since I had no more money for fuel. Scott tied his boat to Jacob’s from the start, because all three of his engines were broken. Eventually I got to tow them both to West Palm Beach. Then I towed Scott all the way to Miami. With many emotions passing under bridges and dams for the first time, the whole journey ended well.
Good and bad things happened during the trip of course. The important thing is that I arrived in Miami well. I still made it without too much knowledge. The way things happened were the best sailing lesson I could dream of. Until the next episode, I hope you enjoy this one. For me it was a dream of a lifetime come true. Dreams really deserve to be lived. Did you do or would you do something crazy like this ? Let me know in the comments or tell me how you got your first sailboat.