Recently a story trended across the media about a couple from Breckenridge, Colorado who’d sold everything in order to buy a boat to sail the world, only to have it hit a sandbar, capsize, and sink in the Gulf of Mexico two days into their trip from Madeira Beach to Key West (https://www.google.com/amp/amp.miamiherald.com/article199568349.html.) It brought back a flood of memories (pardon the pun), because my husband and I had sort of done the same thing a long time ago–39 years to be exact: escaped our everyday, workaday lives and lived on a boat.
It was 1979 and we were less than a year into our marriage when we made the choice to divest ourselves of jobs (he: elementary school counselor; me: special ed teacher), house, two vehicles, and nearly all the wedding gifts we’d been given only a few months before. We were landlocked living in St. Louis and knew nothing about sailing, but we were madly in love with each other and even more with the thought of adventure!
While our adventure lasted a bit longer than two days, I have experienced the terror of a boat hitting a submerged object and becoming disabled. Like theirs, our sailboat was 28′ in length with a 5′ keel. Sailing one afternoon from Key West to the Dry Tortugas, we hit a coral head as the tide was going out.
For hours the boat bottom banged and scraped relentlessly against the coral, and I was sure the keel would eventually give way but it didn’t, thanks to an incoming tide many hours later. In retrospect, I think it was our pride that was damaged more than the boat. Whatever romantic ideas we might’ve had about sailing away got slapped with a big dose of reality that day, but not enough to quench our thirst for adventure.
One way or another, the couple who lost their boat will be okay…whether they get another boat or not, whether they continue to pursue their dream or not, or even whether they remain a couple or not. But first things first: the sunken Lagniappe needs to be salvaged.
To that end, a GoFundMe campaign was started (https://www.gofundme.com/new-sailing-life) and as of this morning has exceeded its goal of $10,000 by more than $4,000. It seems like a lot of money, and it is. But it’s going to take a whole lot more cash to chase the nautical dream because that’s just a hard fact of the boating world: everything is more expensive when it’s marine grade. It’s really no surprise that an acronym for boat is “Bring On Another Thousand.”
I truly hope they keep pursuing their dream and not allow the setbacks to extinguish their spirits. I hope they meet nautical angels along the way to help them because Lord knows they have a gigantic learning curve ahead of them. If they keep plugging away and don’t quit before the miracle happens, I believe they’ll have few regrets and a lot of stories to tell. That would be a life worth living.