When I explain my life as a sea gypsy to landlubbers, they get a faraway look in their eyes and lament, "I would love to do that, butů." The reasons for not following one's dreams are countless but never adequate, in my mind. If you truly wish you could, then do.
SimplySailingOnline.com shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.
What you won't find here, is any talk of a "shoe-string budget." The lifestyle is about sailing simply, not cheaply. Granted, a nice side effect of simplicity is conservation: of energy, water and money. In my world, the less money life requires, the less we have to work to earn it and the more time we spend with the ones we love. And time is the ultimate non-renewable resource.
In 2002, after two years of outfitting and preparing, the five of us sailed away from life as we had always known it. In our 34-foot Lee Creekmore designed cutter we named Eurisko, we have sailed over 20,000 miles since then, spending much of our time in the Caribbean. The island of St. Croix has adopted us, and we use it as a sort of home base from which to explore, returning as necessary to work. After spending nearly a year in Bocas del Toro, Panama, we are slowly working our way back to windward, anxious to return to the Eastern Caribbean.
I have been writing for sailing magazines for the last decade. Look for my work (Connie McBride) in Sail, Good Old Boat, Small Craft Advisor, Blue Water Sailing, and Chesapeake Bay Magazine. My husband Dave is a yacht carpenter, sail maker and small boat designer and builder. The tips and projects you see on SimplySailingOnline.com are his work, generally done on our boat. Though we started cruising with 3 sons aboard, college and life have strewn them far and wide. Nick, the oldest, recently graduated with a degree in Marine Biology and is currently sailing (He calls it "working.") in the Caribbean. Our middle son Garrett sailed with us for 5 years before escaping. He is not a fan of the lifestyle and currently lives as far from salt water as possible. David, the last little birdie to fly away, moved to Montana and married a girl from St. Croix. Not surprisingly, their son was named after a boat builder...and a dinghy.
Over the past few years, I have posted hundreds of tips, ideas, yarns and opinion pieces on the site. A few months ago, when the site got too big, I removed about 100 of these posts and compiled them (and their accompanying pictures) in an e-book available through Amazon: Tips, Tricks and Tales. Feel free to contact us at the link above or on Facebook. As always, thanks for the support.
We recently acquired a Phil Bolger-designed AS-29 and have been spending the last few months gunkholing north from the Florida Keys. Look for posts on shallow water adventuring and the joys of going where most sailboats can't.