Friday, June 18, 2010

A Joint Venture Aboard

Our next cruising life will be different than our first by orders of magnitude.
  • The first time we cast off in our 20s on a 27-foot boat, this time we leave in our 40s on a 40-foot boat.
  • The first time we were alone and our romantic relationship was just beginning, this time we have two kids and we are married.
  • The first time our cruising adventure was a trip limited to 7 months, this time cruising is a lifestyle with an open time horizon.
  • The first time Internet cafes did not exist, this time we will likely carry a satellite phone.
  • The first time we left with no income and very little money, this time we...oh, no change there.
For me, the biggest difference will be our joint relationship to the boat and the life. When I "hired" Windy as my crew on the first trip, I'd spent the previous four years living aboard and preparing the boat and myself for the adventure. When Windy joined me, she'd only previously been aboard Del Viento for a day sail and it was not her home. She was competent, but deferred to me for every decision, there was no question which of us was both the owner and captain.
This time, I am eager for the new dynamic. I am eager to experience this next phase of our lives as equally vested partners and decision makers. (We've already agreed that in the case of decision making, where there are differences in opinion, the most conservative decision will stand. This is to say that Windy will be the final arbiter for all decisions.)
While we will each in this new life gravitate towards our own areas of expertise when it comes to allocating the workload, it is important to both of us that neither of us be incapable of managing the boat single handed. This will be a big distinction from the first cruising life and will require a determined effort by Windy to reach her own level of comfort in this regard. What will make it easier, and pleasurable, is that I will be learning alongside her.
Our Dickenson solid fuel heater
Our Dickenson solid fuel heater
I have very limited experience sailing such a comparatively large vessel, and I have never been in command of a boat over 30 feet (the difference between 30 and 40 feet is not factored linearly, but geometrically--much like how a 4.0-magnitude earthquake may not be felt by many, yet a 7.0-magnitude quake is likely to devastate a city). She and I will step aboard the next Del Viento on near-equal footing, and for that I am grateful.
While our shared ownership interest in the boat is a legal fact, the other day Windy moved one step ahead in her emotional ownership. She bought the heater we will need aboard when we venture north. It is a Dickinson Newport solid fuel fireplace that she bought used and that we will leave with her folks in San Francisco and install aboard Del Viento when we are there.
$200 poorer, and another step closer to our new life.


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