We (Kimberly and Jeff) both sailed when we were younger – Kimberly during summer vacations on a Snark on Mission Bay in San Diego, and Jeff on Lake Ontario in Rochester, NY.
In the spring of 2012, I (Kimberly) suddenly found myself wanting to sail again, and Jeff was all in with the idea. As luck would have it, adult community sailing lessons were starting that weekend at Mystic Seaport. The class used fairly-tippy Dyer Dhows, and despite my capsizing twice in the freezing cold Mystic River (and Jeff once), we were hooked.
After completing an ASA 101 course (which included sixteen hours of practice time), we were really addicted, so we bought a 1975 Bristol Corsair 24 in March, 2013. Dreams of selling everything and going cruising followed, so after hundreds of hours of research we bought a 1977 Bristol 29.9 at the end of July, 2015.
A Bristol 29.9 is considered small by modern standards for full-time cruising, but she’s big enough for us. By choosing her we embraced the philosophy of “get the smallest boat you can happily live on” instead of “get the biggest boat you can afford.” We like to maximize our fun-to-boat work ratio whenever possible, and the way we have set up Pegu Club helps us to do that. The electrical system is exclusively 12 volts, we have foot pumps for water (no hot water), an Origo stove, an Engel refrigerator, and a composting head. It may not work for everyone, but it definitely works for us!
After a lot of thought and conversations, we were sure that we wanted to go cruising full-time so we sold our house in February, 2017 and moved into an apartment. Crunching the numbers, it was clear at the time that doing this would allow us to to save up extra money a lot faster.
Fast-forward to Christmas Eve of 2017 when we took Jeff to the emergency room. After a two week stay he was released with a diagnosis of congestive heart failure. To say we were shocked is an understatement. He had been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation about seven years previously, but it hadn’t bothered him.
Initially it appeared that we would need to postpone our plans to go cruising, but Jeff improved quite a bit after a cardiac ablation in March, 2018 restored his heart into normal rhythm. His cardiologist was well aware of our cruising dreams and she gave us the go-ahead to leave in the fall of 2018 – nine months after his diagnosis – saying “It’s good for the soul.” She didn’t have to tell us twice, and we moved onto the boat on July 27, 2018, cutting the dock lines on September 3, 2018.
Since then we have been cruising up and down the U.S. East Coast and the Bahamas with plans to continue as long as it’s fun and health allows. We took a break in the fall of 2021 and spent the winter living on land in Southern California, but by April we were back on the boat and raring to go south again this fall.
Although personal commitments have us going to the Bahamas this winter, we don’t necessarily see ourselves sailing there annually in perpetuity regardless of how beautiful the water is. Towards that end, we are kicking around some ideas for different cruising grounds in the future. Stay tuned!