Birth of a Dream
The Birth of a Dream.
o this day, Steve and I both still have a hard time trying to identify an exact moment or date when the idea of cruising the worlds oceans entered our minds. It didn't happen occur as a split second decision, nor a burning desire to fulfill a lifelong dream. Rather, it came to us at a time when both of our adventurous clocks seemed to tick in time together. We were on the same wavelength and were looking for a new challenge. It was then that the idea to cruise in a sailboat evolved.

That was nearly three years ago. Back then, when we made our decision, we realized that we were taking on a project that was something huge. We didn't think getting a boat or ourselves ready for an adventure of this magnitude would be easy, and we had a hunch that there would be many obstacles along the way. But somehow, we felt that no matter what it would require, this was something we wanted to try, and now, while the opportunity was there for the taking.

Of course buying "the right boat" was the first step. After about a year of searching, we found "Sojourner", a 1974 Hallberg-Rassy sloop built in Sweden. We wanted a boat we could afford, yet one that had a reputation for being a good cruising vessel. So, an older, but sound boat became our choice, rather than a newer boat that had more equipment and features that we'd be making payments on forever. At first glance our newfound vessel seemed to be perfect in every way. For starters, she was a Hallberg-Rassy; a well-known reputable builder of blue-water cruisers. And her design surely spoke for herself with a full keel and incredibly thick fiberglass. The deep mahogany interior had a rustic, stately appeal, and an impressive inventory of sails was a main feature. As for the equipment on board, well……O.K., it was lacking! But in our excited, naïve states of boat purchasers, the equipment seemed to be adequate. Besides, all we felt you needed then was a good sound hull, some decent sails, and a wind vane (self steering device powered by the wind), which was one (one of the only!) equipment features she had!

So, off to Catalina we went; our first big trip on Christmas Eve with a boat full of presents and the anticipation of really testing out our newfound vessel. She sailed beautifully through a full-mooned Christmas Eve, to arrive in Catalina Harbor at around 10:00am on Christmas morning. As we were anchoring Steve shouted for me to put the boat in reverse (full astern in nautical lingo) to set the anchor. I shouted back, "I DID!" and we discovered to our horror that the unthinkable had occurred - the prop-shaft had separated from the engine, slipped back and jammed the rudder.

That Christmas morning surprise was just a small sampler of all of the rebuilding, refurbishing and refinishing that was yet to come. Still, we decided not to let it get us down, and had a fabulous Christmas Day on our (older) new boat, with the realization that boats, whether old or new, require work, and LOTS of it! So, the three year resurrection of Sojourner was begun!

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