T he three years of preparation flew by, deadline after deadline passed and money flowed out of the kitty like a waterfall. They say sailboat racing is like standing in the shower tearing up $1000 dollar bills; well sailboat cruising is no different. That is if you want all the luxuries like engines, refrigeration, radar, HF radios, computers, email, autopilots, watermakers and all the other gizmos and gadgets that us technophiles find irresistible. We've read all the "cruising on a budget" books, such as those by Lynn and Larry Pardey and other books by the purists who say keep it simple. They have some great tips, but we just couldn't get used to the idea of a bucket instead of a proper "head", and no email to keep in touch with friends, no watermaker and, God forbid, - no ice for the vodka, so we kept it complicated instead.
Originally we were supposed to leave in October of 1998, but that deadline melted away as Steve went through the sale of his computer business, and the period of training the new staff. The next December deadline evaporated as Christmas and the new rigging project engulfed us. The first of January was leaked out as the final, final, final deadline, in an effort to convince ourselves we would actually leave. So our great friends on C-Dock in Oceanside threw us a fabulous bon-voyage party hoping we would go soon. Everyone was so generous, the boat went down several inches on it's lines with all the gifts of wine and other essential items. By mid February we were still answering the question "when are you leaving????" Only now, we were giving a generic answer, "when the boats ready!"
So it was on the 25th of Feb. that we cast of the dock lines and headed out of Oceanside harbor. We had cried wolf so many times that only a few friends were there - the real die hards who still believed we would set sail.