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On Becoming a Sailor

Truly, if you told me nine years ago that I would be living on a sailboat, I would have thought you were out of your tree. Not intending to slight my gender, but the notion of living on a sailboat does seem to originate with men more than women. This sexist statement is based on my own research when I am introduced to somebody new. Eighty percent of the time, it is a man who says, “I have always wanted to do that!”. This is quickly followed by a question directed to my husband, “How did you get your wife to agree to live on a boat?”

Perhaps, it is a result of reading Robin Lee Graham’s classic, Dove during impressionable teenage years? Maybe there is a plethora of reincarnated sailors’ souls from previous centuries clamouring for expression in men? I don’t know the answer, but the romantic dream to sail the oceans does seem to be male-oriented. I say this in spite of knowing many competent female sailors.

I must confess that I was a reluctant sailor initially. I didn’t hear the siren’s song calling me to the sea. I was called to the white-picket-fenced house with baking in the oven and a dog in the yard. My only frame of reference to my husband’s dream was a shared passion for nature and adventure – however, we were to discover later that my definition of adventure was considerably different than my husband’s.

It would have been a mistake to make my husband’s dream, my dream. I had to find my own passion for living on a boat. The first winter was tough, but a sense of humour, investing in warmer clothes and a caring, marina community helped me through.  Initially, my fears played themselves out in my dreams at night adding to my discomfort. Learning everything that I could about the boat reduced the number of things that I was afraid of. Having a patient partner who was willing to help me learn, made it easier.

Fast forward to today when we have to be realistic about aging and continuing to live on a sailboat and I can’t imagine leaving our floating home. This lifestyle is simple, challenging and rewarding in ways that are difficult to articulate.

One thought on “On Becoming a Sailor”

  1. I completely relate to this post through & through! Sadly women among the docks are still somewhat of a rarity. It makes both of us smile when a fellow boater asks “how long have you lived aboard together?, really? How did you get her (meaning me) to do that with you?!” Those words are more common place than you think. Thank you once again for sharing a true & smile provoking blog!

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