The Three Year Plan = Bigger Sailboat + Smaller House + Take Off Sailing for a Year
The inception of The Three Year Plan came towards the end of a particularly tumultuous year and perhaps the difficulties experienced played in to the development of The Plan. Many sailors have embarked on travels much more extensive therefore this is not a particularly groundbreaking story but just the journey of one sailing couple.
We are late in life sailors with neither of us hoisting a sail, furling a jib, grabbing a mooring or cleaning a bilge until just 10 years ago when we were in our early/mid 40’s. But as soon as we took our first lessons at Boston Sailing Center we were both hooked. Our equal levels of naivete and enthusiasm proved to be a great formula for learning quickly as neither of us dominated but rather we leaned on each other and fumbled through challening situations together.
|Learning the basics and then some on sweetly responsive open keelboat Solings|
|Racing in Boston Harbor|
|A little too much heeling on a C&C 30|
|ASA104 class with Black Rock Sailing School in the British Virgin Islands on a Hunter 52|
|Our first boat: Fujin - Pearson 34 MKII|
|Tremendous learning about sailboat ownership, maintenance and handling with Fujin|
|Fujin on one of our many return trips in to Boston Harbor|
Then the Three Year Plan was born:
Step 1: Bigger Sailboat... Added 6 Feet and a Zero
We adored our Pearson 34. But as we considered the real possibility of serious, long term sailing and began talking about The Plan in earnest, we realized that we should move up in size. And other major additions would be needed to allow true open ocean / blue water sailing in the future.
I had four criteria in mind as we tackled the very serious job of evaluating and deciding on what boat would replace Fujin:
- Strength - Overall quality and strength had to be high so that there would be no limitation on where we might go, including across an ocean.
- Performance - We like to always try to sail well.
- Comfort - For extended cruising (and, unknown originally, to accommodate living aboard for more than a year before the trip).
- Pizzaz! - Yes, she should be a head turner.
|Copious stringers and bulkhead mountings for extra hull strength|
|Vacuum infusion process for the fiberglass hull|
|No deck yet; all innards revealed|
|This eventually becomes the galley|
|Future living room|
|She's looking like a boat now|
|Dozens of stations at the factory work on components of hull #18|
|Argon is commissioned at Stanley's Boat Yard in RI April 2014|
|Logging our first 1000nm off Provincetown Cape Cod several months after launching Argon. We now have more than 3000nm after our fist two full seasons!!|
|Good bye lovely home on Knowles Farm Road|
|Downsized from 3000 sq ft to 300 sq ft|
|Bob retains a seriously truncated studio|
Take Off Sailing for a Year (or more): T Minus 5 Months
Preparing one's boat and life to truly throw off the lines and take off is a project management endeavor for sure. Our multi-tab spreadsheet outlining "to do / boat projects", "to buy", "to learn", and "life logistics" has been instrumental in keeping us focused, organized and moving forward.
|Multi tab spreadsheet forms the basis of our project management|
|PFD and life raft practice in the pool|
|Flares, smoke signals, fire fighting on the beach|
|Damage control in the USCG trailer|
Transforming Argon from Coastal Cruiser to Blue Water Vessel
Many of our friends have been puzzled as to why we always seem to be doing one boat project or another. "Your boat is brand new... what else could it possibly need?" We have spent this past year upgrading Argon from a lovely coastal sailboat to a true off shore prepared cruiser.
Some of the projects and boat parts added this past year include:
- Satellite communications, AIS, EPIRB
- Solar panels
- Upgraded manual bilge pump
- Storm trisail and mast tie down
- New dinghy and davits
- Upgraded life raft
- Lots of spare parts and organizing
Now, as our spreadsheet gets more complete with fewer pending items and Boston weather warms, the proximity of our departure is tantalizingly near.
Unknown Variables: Joshua, Christian and Jon
We have known since the initial discussions that one or more of our three young adult sons could have needs or situations that might impact The Plan. The boys will be 28, 23 and 21 years old when we depart and are on forward paths of their own. And they all seem to be realizing that their parents are serious about this crazy adventure and looking forward to connecting with us on exotic islands next winter.
|Looking forward to meeting up with our boys, Jon, Josh, and Christian, at exotic islands next winter|