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 classes were held using Dyer Dhows, and despite my capsizing twice in the freezing cold Mystic River (and Jeff once), we were hooked. An ASA 101 course followed with Narragansett Sailing in Barrington, RI which included sixteen hours of practice time.
By then 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.
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.
Our plan was to cut the dock lines in August, 2018 but on Christmas Eve of 2017 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 wait to head out until the fall of 2019, but Jeff improved quite a bit after a cardiac ablation in March restored his heart into normal rhythm. His cardiologist was well aware of our plans and she gave us the go-ahead to leave in the fall of 2018, saying “It’s good for the soul.” She didn’t have to tell us twice, and we moved onto the boat on July 27th, cutting the dock lines on September 3rd.
We will need to return every few months for doctor appointments so we’ll be sticking a bit closer to home than originally anticipated. Our goal for this first year is the Bahamas for the winter of 2018-19 prior to returning to New England to cruise during the summer of 2019. While we are obviously hoping that we can cruise for many years, congestive heart failure is a chronic, progressive disease so we really don’t know how long Jeff will be able to do it. Hence, we are seizing the day.
In the meantime we are continuing to keep Pegu Club as simple as we can (12 volt electrics, foot pumps, no hot water, composting head, Origo stove, no refrigerator). We have, however, installed an electric windlass and a new roller furler as our two concessions to the new reality!
Our Bristol 29.9 may be considered small for full-time cruising by modern standards, but she’s big enough for us. In choosing our cruising boat we went by the philosophy of “get the smallest boat you can live on” instead of “get the biggest boat you can afford.” We like to maximize our fun vs. boat work ratio whenever possible, and the way we have set up our Pegu Club helps us to do that. It may not work for everyone, but it definitely works for us!