Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Growth & Gratitude

Written by: Kerry

For those of you just joining us from home...  we are about three months into a pretty hefty refit (see previous posts) on our sailing yacht, Brigadoon.  The light burns bright at the end of this particular tunnel and I believe we'll be cutting the dock lines before April 15th and heading north.

When we came up with this idea/dream/goal of quitting our jobs and sailing off into the sunset, it was Fall of 2011, after living aboard for just about a year.  It's been five and a half years of waiting, planning, saving, waiting, wondering, and dreaming... and of course, more waiting.  Through all of that time, I would alternate between trying to think as realistically as possible about the hard parts, the potentially scary or challenging parts, and then on the flip side, day dreaming about the excitement or romance of it all. The realistic side of me knows some pretty strong truths about myself at this stage of my life:

1) I've never been an outdoorsy person.  Hiking?  No thanks.  Camping?  Maybe - if it's well organized and involves a car parked next to my campsite.  

2) I'm a bit of a princess.  I like my luxuries.  That being said, I'm not afraid to learn new/simpler ways of living - but I knew that this might be a stretch for me.

3) I've never felt confident in sports or working with my hands or tools.  Sailing involves many of these skills and abilities - I know this.

So with all of this in mind, I am well aware that my choice to set sail and explore the world means I've signed up for some serious growth opportunities.  My inner warrior (princess) says "hell yeah!" to this.  But sometimes, when faced with these moments of growth, the wall in front of me seems terrifying and huge.  My hope is that each time I encounter and work through one of these moments, they'll get a little easier.  I have faith.

Five of the port frames needing to be cleaned after putting them together wrong the first time.

Getting it right the second time.

So yeah, the last three months, there have been tears.  The day we realized that we had made some bad decisions around finishing our port window replacements and I had to literally take all nine of them apart and clean them again and start over - that was a tough day.  But then I dug in and did it and now they are done and installed (correctly even) and I feel pride every time I look at them.  There has been sulking, and even some anger and frustration.  But I've learned to do all KINDS of things I had no idea how to do before.  I've cleaned water tanks.  I've learned how to build new stays for our rig.  I've helped install mast steps.  I'm learning how to sew again as I work on designing and building our new ceiling panels.  I've even cooked a few times!  AND - I've learned how to be a better partner to Donn as we've worked together on various projects - I know names of tools and even how to use some of them!  My confidence level is gaining and that feels really good.

A glimpse of the ceiling panel process (thank you Trevor and Trish for all your great ideas!  I'm using a lot of them!)

The gratitude part?  Well, I am mostly grateful to my family for giving us a home, cooking amazing family dinners pretty much every night, providing a car to borrow, and offering a shoulder or hug whenever needed.  I'm grateful to Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-op for being incredible in their dedication to our success on this refit.  We couldn't be working with better people.  I'm so grateful to friends - those that have come out to Port Townsend to visit, or who have made time to see us when we come through Seattle or Tacoma on errands, new friends who have given us moral support through times of doubt and struggle, and a good friend who bought our car! And most of all, I'm so insanely grateful to my partner in this adventure, Donn, for listening to my fears, encouraging me every step of the way, pushing me when I need it, and loving me so thoroughly.  I'm one lucky, grateful woman right now.

The realistic side of me knows that I've only scratched the surface of all those "growth opportunities" waiting for me on this journey, but the dreamer and optimist within is happy to have come this far and can't wait to set sail in a few short weeks!


  1. I feel the pain of doing it wrong the first time - why we have to take those overhead hatch lenses out AGAIN and rebed them. Again. You are rocking this! We're right behind you.

    1. Thank you Melissa! So nice to have the camaraderie, even from afar. REALLY looking forward to catching up with you guys in Mexico next winter. ;-)

  2. It is so nice to take time and admire your work and the process that it took to get there. So many times in life we are running and forget to slow down, look around, and look back. We hope to connect sometime this coming year. We can have a long conversation on what has happened to both families since we saw you last.

    1. I'd love that! We'll come back through the Puget Sound in August. Be nice to see you guys!

  3. Kerry, I am so proud to be your mother and so grateful that you are spending this time with us before sailing off to realize your dream. I cherish every moment we have together! Love you!