Cassy's Corner

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Escape Route

Currently we are in the works of figuring out and planning our potential cruising to the Caribbean or Mexico. If it is to happen we would be leaving early this coming fall. The reason it isn’t set in stone yet is because I have applied to a graduate studies program that only accepts 12 students a year, if I get in our trip will be postponed for 2 years, which I know will be difficult for John, but nevertheless it will happen eventually! And if I don’t get accepted I get a pretty sweet consolation prize! To be honest, each day more that I spend in this freeing cold weather (-42 degrees?! Whoever decided that hell is hot has not spent a winter in Canada!), I become more excited about this plan, and at the back of my mind I think a part of me is hoping I don’t get accepted, so we can runaway to a place where I will never need anything made by Northface! In preparation for our potential cruising plan, John and I are taking a trip to the Bahamas very soon, for a week on a sailboat! We will have a captain who will be teaching and certifying us as well, so while it is a vacation in the sun, there will also be a lot of learning. I’m still a bit nervous about it, because like always, I will be the one with the least amount of sailing experience, but hopefully this will help give me the confidence I need to make me a better first mate!

My First Summer Aboard

When summer came and it was finally time to put her in the water and start sailing I thought I was pretty prepared, since John has been telling me the names of everything and quizzing me all the time (alllll the time!). The truth was, I was completely out of my element. Usually when someone learns something new, a hobby or skill, they have some idea or some background in something similar within that same field. For example if someone were to take up pottery, everyone has some knowledge and experience with art since they were children. Well the closest thing to sailing that I had experienced was swimming, which is important to have in case you go overboard, but not actually related to actual sailing. I was never nervous or scared about sailing, even after John’s hour long safety briefing (which he performs each time we go out to sail with someone new-he really covers everything you can possibly imagine-did I mention it’s laminated?), but I did lack confidence. Over the summer I learned a lot, and while I feel much more confident, I definitely think I still have a long way to go. I’ve more or less gotten the hang of the tacking and steering of the boat, but it’s the instincts that I lack. I know how to tack, but I don’t know when I should be doing it, I need to work on getting a better understanding of the wind.
There was one more test to see if our relationship would work. John’s baby is his boat Topanga and my baby is my dog Dexter. If Topanga and Dexter didn’t work together, I knew that would make our relationship much more difficult. As you can see John and I are still together, meaning that Topanga and Dexter are the best of friends! Dexter has his doggy lifejacket, and behaves very well on the boat; he is actually the perfect boat dog!
Throughout the summer we entertained so many of our friends on Topanga. It was a lot of fun, but also quite exhausting. What I love about the boat is that it is the one place where John and I actually make dinner together (rather than me flying solo). I do all the preparations down below, and pass it up to John to BBQ, it makes for a very efficient process (and John is a fanatic about things being efficient!). It turns out, we make a great (and very efficient) team!

Becoming the Other Woman to a Man of the Sea

Topanga was the first sailboat I had ever been on in my life (I know, I’m embarrassed). When John told me he had a boat I was amazed, I had never met someone who had their own boat! So much cooler than having a car! Of course I didn’t realize at the time that this meant I would be sharing John with another woman, and one who requires much more maintenance than I do-at least I have legs on her! I remember the first time I met her, it was in February so it was very cold, and me and John would lie on our backs on the deck to kick the snow off of the tarps. Not really what I had imagined it would be like on a sailboat. But I loved seeing inside the cabin. I have always had a love of all things miniature, I used to think RV’s were the coolest thing and I wanted so badly to live on one. I love that there are so many secret compartments on Topanga. I remember John asking me if I was open to the idea of taking off with him and sailing to the Caribbean, and I thought sure, why not?! I think that was the right answer because I’m pretty sure if I had said no that would have been the end to our relationship. Which just goes to prove just how insanely passionate he is about sailing, and specifically to living life cruising on a sailboat. John is a pretty intense person to begin with, a little bit OCD, especially when it comes to putting things back in their respective places, so you can only imagine how crazy about sailing he is. I have never seen anything like it to be quite honest. John has not read a novel in the past year (though he claims to love reading them) because he spends every free moment he has researching sailing, reading peoples sailing blogs and watching sailing videos on YouTube. The amount of emails I get from him with links to a blog post or a website on sailing is crazy! Needless to say, John will do anything to fulfill his dream of cruising to the Caribbean, and I hope I can help make it happen for him.

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