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Valley forum: Living the retirement dream; off cruising again

Nordic32

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This is part two, or maybe part three, if you count the first time we bought a boat and planned to sail off into the sunset. The first time was 32 years ago and Mark and I were newly married. The boat was a Cheoy Lee Lion, a 35-foot sailboat with a beautiful wooden mast, teak appointments, and a sleek hull .It also had a leaking deck, an electrical system that looked like it was installed by Dr. Frankenstein, and sagging sails. When the engine blew up, we decided to come home and put off our dream cruise until we retired.

Fast-forward 25 years. Mark retired and said, “Let’s go cruising. ”This time, we bought a Grand Banks 36, a nice, roomy powerboat with two staterooms, two heads (that’s bathroom in boat-speak) and a fly-bridge. We were gone 10 months in 2007, cruising from Florida to the Chesapeake, making lots of side trips up the rivers of the East Coast. Some of you came with us through a series of columns in the Index-Tribune.

For me, it was educational, broadening and terrifying. I left my friends, my kids, my home and my pets for an experience I thought I was prepared for, but soon discovered I wasn’t. After a variety of adventures, we sold the boat, came home, and I breathed a sigh of relief, turning my attention to activities on solid ground.

Not so, my spouse. He got a job surveying the federal channels of San Francisco Bay – on a boat – and soon got his Coast Guard Captain’s license. Eighteen months ago, he bought another boat. This one is a Nordic Tug 32, a bit smaller, but quite roomy and solid as the proverbial rock. After several local cruises around the Bay – out the Golden Gate to Half Moon Bay and up the Sacramento River to various points in the Delta – I’ve decided this time he got it right. The boat is sturdy, even when powering through nasty wind-fueled waters of the Central Bay and the Carquinez Straits.

So we’re off again, and once again I’m inviting you to join us. This initial cruise will be from Olympia, Washington, through Puget Sound to the Straits of Juan de Fuca, and northward to Desolation Sound off the inland coast of Canada. If we’re brave, we might head up to Alaska. When we’re through at the end of September, we may ship the boat to the Gulf Coast and continue on.

Wait, did I say “ship?” I did. Shipping the boat by truck is much more comfortable than slogging down the coast from Washington, with waves coming at you on your starboard beam, or sitting out bad weather for days at a time.

So, welcome aboard, anchors aweigh, and no cracks about “tugboat Annie,” for those of you old enough to even know who that was.