Saturday, May 31, 2014

Moore Better Adventures

Below is the email we sent to our friends and family about the purchase of our first sailboat! I enjoyed writing it and it seems it was well received. 

Our adventures begin with announcing the purchase of our new home, a sailboat! Yes, I said that correctly, a sailboat!
We will be proud owners of a 36 foot Allied Princess bluewater hull, built in 1978 and newly re-rigged in 2012 as a junk rig schooner. We don't currently have a glamour shot of our boat, but we will in due time! She is lovely and has beautiful character and lines throughout. 

The current owner, a 6'2" sailor, has bestowed valuable time and professional effort to make her safe, simple and strong and he is grateful that she has found her way to us to care for her! Her name is "Alethia" (Greek for Truth). We will likely rename her once we get underway, but these things cannot be rushed. We may even take a poll for boat names. In the meantime, feel free to learn about a boat naming ceremony here.

As we being our adventure in Halifax, Nova Scotia in mid-August, we will capture our experiences, whereabouts, inspirations and curiosities with a personal blog. You are welcome to leave comments and follow along as we embark on this exciting lifestyle.
Our choice to make this dream a reality hasn't been smooth sailing all along. Our decision has developed over time with discussions, creative brainstorming, sleepless nights, curiosity of how to cook a meal in such a small space, and finally coming to the realization that life is short and should not be taken too seriously. We're embracing our destiny by living simply, with less, within nature, to consider different choices and outcomes, to grow our family, and to view the world with an adventurous spirit intact.

This decision wouldn't be possible without your support, encouragement and excitement abound so thank you! You are part of our adventure.
Much Love,

Nathan & Jennifer

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


I actually went sailing! For real. In a big boat (though I kind of agree to a point with the folks who say real sailing is done in dinghies - just the fundamentals and physics, less teamwork and mechanical advantage), in the real ocean!

Our sail the first day started with this little 24 hour jaunt:

Almost out of sight of land!
 Though it really started like this:
Memorial day traffic on narrow ICW canals. :|
 And when dawn broke while we were sailing (though the wind had gone to just about zero):
I waited to turn on the engine so I could see sunrise in the quiet
 I looked like this (Am I not looking at the camera? My teeth kind of look funny, huh?):
I got to wear my big boy jacket! It's been so long...
 And when we finished in Oriental, roughly 36 hours after we started, I looked like this:
Can't get Yuengling in CO! I categorize it like Killians - the best cheap beer
 The next day we figured out the cruising spinnaker, and asymmetrical rig in a dousing sock, that neither of us had ever used anything like before:
It worked out pretty well.
 Then today we did a lot more motoring through canals and into headwinds, which sucked. Fortunately our day wasn't nearly as bad as these peoples':
See the wrecks off on the left? And the funny sign?
 This is what the wrecks look like on the chart. 7 of them in that little oxbow! What in the hell were they all thinking?
This is how most of our navigation has been done
 And we ended by arriving in Norfolk, a very busy industrial shipping port. Getting in through all the bridges is a trick. Some open only every hour, some every half hour, some don't open during rush hour, some are normally open, most want you to call them on the radio to ask for an opening, but some of the scheduled ones don't listen and/or respond when you call. And there are barges, being pushed by tugs, driven by guys who can't seem to get a sentence out and only at the last moment, in great panic, can he articulate himself enough to say what he wants and we try not to get run over.
The barge came through this bridge at us
 This bridge was much easier to get through:
This is a swing bridge. It swings open

This is a bascule bridge. It has a weight on one side, and the whole thing rotates up around that weight
 And we parked in Norfolk (Portsmouth, actually). That's our cat on the left. This is a free dock for transients such as ourselves. Pretty nice! And right in the middle of town, easy to walk to lots of cool stuff. I could spend some time here checking things out.
But first I had a beer. It was hot!
 And this is the view from the front of the boat this afternoon.
Though now we are in a thunderstorm. And high tide has flooded the dock.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Remembering and education

I've been on the boat a few days now. I'm definitely starting to recall how to live on a boat. Man I love this life! We haven't gone anywhere - just doing some maintenance jobs, and a very long road trip up to the Chesapeake and back to deliver his car to the destination marina. What we did in a 6 hour drive (one way) will take us at least 6 days of sailing/motoring. Oh well, the point of sailing is not to get somewhere quickly, but in style.

The cat on the left
Humidity is a change! Living in Denver one forgets what a desert it is. 80 degrees and humid in North Carolina is pretty hot, particularly since it snowed 8 inches in Denver 10 days ago. I'm sure the locals don't think it's hot or humid right now. This is going to take some adaptation.

Our friends in Florida (who also live on a boat) somehow found out already that we are buying a boat. How they figured it out is beyond me, but news travels fast. We're very much looking forward to visiting them this winter. We're very much looking forward to visiting everyone!

Tomorrow morning we leave, starting with an offshore sail for roughly 24 hours. Then roughly a week of ICW, ending in the Chesapeake Bay.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Training mission

As a way of training myself I am helping deliver a catamaran from North Carolina to the Chesapeake Bay. My friend needed help moving his new boat north out of the hurricane zone, and I have time available. I am writing this on the plane from Denver, which is an experience in itself. The extra practice sailing, navigating, and living on a boat will be a good reminder for me of what it is like. We will be taking our boat down a similar path this fall, going southward.

I was surprised during my sail on Aletheia how awkward I felt. Fortunately a single day's sail, and a night spent aboard, started to wake up those muscle memories. A week or two sailing on the east coast will be good for me.

Admittedly, this catamaran is much fancier than our boat, but that's his choice. Experience is good! Practice makes better.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Game on!

We signed a contract!

Her name is Aletheia. We'll drive from Denver to Halifax, NS in late July/early August, 2014, to the boat! The current owners' blog is down at the moment, so you'll have to wait to get more history of the boat. This boat is a middle ground between Pestilence and Zero to Cruising. Some nice creature comforts, a stout boat, plenty of communication and navigation electronics, but no air conditioning, no built-in fridge, no electric winches or windlass, no diesel engine.

Sailing a junk-rigged schooner
Aletheia at anchor - my first view of her
We will likely change the name, and have several good contenders for names lined up. Anyone have any suggestions? We will, of course, have a ceremony such as the John Vigor ritual and voodoo for changing the name. Wouldn't dream of doing without. Miss a chance for good champagne?


Boat name or inspiration? As a yogi over the past 12 years, there is always this notion to "live in the moment"; "to be fully present on your mat"; "find opportunities to grow".  Avasara (Hindi) has many translations, and in this instance, Avasara translates into: opportunity, moment.

I believe yoga and sailing have much in common in terms of living for the now, being present with what is happening at the very moment it happens or being ready for what is to come, and there is always an opportunity that presents itself if you just let it be.

Nate and I have begun to create Avasara, this opportunity brewed up of dreams, aspirations, fears and life goals. We've taken serious steps to become what we believe is freedom, destiny, living for today, opportunities to grow and to thrive outside the norm in a safe, supportive environment.

Here is a testament to this effect, an inspirational documentary about a dreamer and a doer: Twenty Eight Feet: Life on a Boat 

Our dreams have started to unfold, our summer will be busy with travel, organizing, selling some possessions and finally downsizing to a 36' floating casa, balanced on soft water and loved by her owners. Part of all this doesn't feel quite real b/c most dreams never make it to reality. I'll admit, this was never a dream of mine to live in a cramped space with less of what I possess, too far from family and friends, but being with someone who dreams of living with an abundance of nature, culture and creating experiences and knowing that sailing is the best way to share this lifestyle, makes a world of difference. I also give credit to the MANY inspiring women whom I've only read through books and blogs, that have faced these similar challenges, letting go of possessions they think they cannot live without, and bravely embracing avasara, the opportunity, to live for today b/c "someday" dreams may never come. 

Sailing is just a metaphor for making dreams a reality. Whatever your metaphor is, make your someday dream a reality. Avasara is a reminder to live in the moment, find opportunities to live out your dream whether it be traveling, photography, knitting, having a baby, completing a marathon, etc.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Back in the U.S.A.

I survived the land of cold and rain (Halifax, Nova Scotia), and am back in Colorado. Now the job is to decide whether to purchase this boat or not. In my case, this involves conversations with lots of people lots smarter than me, which is my usual method of preparation for a large purchase.

I was very surprised how out of my element and unsure of myself I felt when first on the boat. I had forgotten how to be on a boat in the 7 years since I last lived on one. But just a few hours of sailing in a very protected harbor started to fire those synapses and wake up the dormant muscle memory. I spent Sunday night on the boat, with the owner, and by the time I woke up I was starting to feel a little more at home. I could begin to see past the owner's stuff piled everywhere, and the cosmetically unfinished projects, and the nicks in some of the wood, to find the solid, capable boat underneath.

This boat was originally an Allied Princess, built in 1978. The current owner has made a lot of significant changes, primarily changing from a ketch rig to a junk rigged schooner, and replacing the diesel engine with an electric motor. These changes come with costs (everything on a boat is a compromise), but I believe the benefits outweigh them in this case.

The boat will need a significant cleaning effort before we move in, and some trim should be replaced. Almost everything would look better with a good sanding and a nice coat of varnish. I'd like to remove the headliner, insulate as much as possible, and replace. The change to a junk schooner meant there is now a mast in the v-berth (sleeping cabin at the front of the boat), which makes it unusable as a sleeping area. There are plenty of other places to sleep on the boat, but if we want to use that space we'll need to do some carpentry to move the bed back a few feet. That's on our list of things to do as well.

Fortunately, all the changes are minor in nature, as the boat is strong, seaworthy, and ready to sail as is. I have gone through a serious roller coaster of emotions, and with lots of encouragement from family (though less from friends, interestingly) I am feeling pretty good about this boat. Jenn and I will be debating in detail this week, and will make to a decision we feel is best for us.