Weather Helmed

an adventure in renewing the spirit and living the dream…on a sailboat

Weather Helmed

The Back Story

When three or more heavenly bodies align, it is a “Szyzgy.”  Our 40-foot Valiant is also a “Syzygy.”  Her name originally was very symbolic and, to an extent, still is.  Just like the astronomy term, the original plan was for the lives of three men to align themselves over a period of 4 years such that they could eventually sail around the world together.  My personal little joke was that it would take a true syzygy for the trip to actually happen!   Now, here we are, four years later, and less than 1 month from our departure, and the trip has become something radically different.

After adventuring together down narrow canyons, frozen waterfalls and towering rock walls, Matt, Jon and Jonny wanted to try something new.  It was 2005 and Matt had recently moved to San Francisco and started sailing on the Bay.  The next step, he thought, could be a circumnavigation with two of his most trusted friends.  They talked it over, agreed on a plan of action, and Matt threw himself into the project.  Matt spent just about every weekend of 2006 & 2007 reading sailing books, taking copious notes, racing on the bay and taking sailing courses.  I quietly entered the scene mid-2006, meeting Matt on, and easily falling head over heels in love with him.  This was the first harbinger that the sailing plans might have to change…

Matt, Jon & Jonny saved up thousands of dollars those first few years and paid cash for a 40-foot Valiant sailboat in November 2007.  The boat was trucked up from Mexico to the Berkeley Marina and arrived in April 2008.

I had spent my 2005 summer wandering around Italy and laying on beaches in the Greek Isles. Watching the yachts glide by everyday, I became enamored with the idea of sailing.  Back at law school, I tried to find time to take local Virginia sailing courses, but as luck would have it, the only courses available coincided with the weekend before finals (twice!).  These days, when Matt drops a hint about me working on the boat, I jokingly remind him that my dream of sailing was more like chartering a boat around the Caribbean, not building the thing from scratch!   Matt’s dream, however, fell more into the latter category and so, since the boat arrived in 2008, Matt has been slaving away over Syzygy, doing what is necessary to make his – our – dreams come true.

Now, here we are only ONE short month away from our departure date (February 2010!) – Matt and I are newlyweds (married in October!), Jon is finishing out the year in Colorado and plans to join us in the South Pacific in July, and Jonny has moved on to pursue other career opportunities and adventures.

Matt and I still plan to leave San Francisco in February, riding Syzygy as far as she will take us.  In the beginning, we’ll be joined by two friends – Pete and Ray – but they have to head back home after a month with us.  We’ll pick up Jon in Tahiti this summer and hopefully other friends will join up with us along the way!

When I was younger, I used to always want to know what lay ahead for me.  I hated being out of control and not knowing what the future would bring (ok, so maybe I’m still a wee bit like that).  One day, I decided to hope and pray that my life would turn out nothing like what I had planned.  I couldn’t change the part of me that wanted to plan and control my future, but I could change my attitude and expectations towards it.  And now when I hear those words, “Be careful what you wish for…” I know exactly what they mean.

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One Comment so far ↓

  • Desiree

    “I couldn’t change the part of me that wanted to plan and control my future, but I could change my attitude and expectations towards it.”

    Hey girl, I so get you & am thinking that maybe us growing up in Bako created this type of need.. I’m so excited to follow you via your new blog & hear about your uncharted waters… I love seeing people follow passions & living so outside the ‘norm’. May this experience bring you both more joy than you could ever imagine!

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