If you're lucky enough to live to 100, the years between 50 & 75 are your third quarter. That segment in life could be the waning of your physically agile years, so it's a good idea to stay active. It's also a good time to challenge your brain to keep things limber up there - by mastering something new. We decided to go sailing, and this is a chronicle of our journey.


Learning about Sailboats Online

Don on board Tom's Cape Dory 31, Heiress, contemplating boats and sailing in his Third Quarter.

After our initial pondering about buying a boat, we shared the idea with a handful of family members. Folks were surprised and curious,  and we were even asked if this idea was a symptom of mid-life crisis.  I explained that we had always planned to do something in our Third Quarter that involved either a motorhome, a motorcycle, an airplane or a boat. Since I nixed the airplane and the motorcycle options over the years of this discussion, being the nervous nelly that I am, that left the motorhome or the boat. After talking about it a little more, Don thought the motorhome should be part of our Fourth Quarter plan - between the ages of 75 and 100 - if we're lucky enough to live that long. :) Maybe by then, when we're maybe not so physically agile, the activity of sitting in a big, cushy chair steering a rig while we drive through terra firma all over the U.S. might be a groovy thing to do. So, from the original four 3rdQ categories we were saving for, that left only one: a boat.

Tom and Don talking about Cape Dory sailboats and getting her ready to sell.

Over the next few weeks, Don and I spent our evenings researching boats online, looking at sailing videos on YouTube, and meandering the Cape Dory Owners Association site. Along the way, we discovered sailing blogs, and we subscribed to several of them.  The blogs were a wonder for us; by reading them, we were virtually invited aboard to see everything from maintenance practices and mechanical challenges, to provisions planning and sweet anchorage spots. Sailing blogs are a relatively new thing; they certainly weren't around in the late 80's when Tom was sharing his sailing experiences in the Bahamas with xeroxed hard copies mailed to everyone in the family. I love these blogs, and along with the books and message boards and videos and web sites, we spent the next few months marinating in everything we could find on the subject of sailing and boat ownership. It pretty much sealed the deal; we started looking for a used boat before the end of the summer.

Tom's boat the Heiress in the Chesapeake Bay in about 1989.  I crewed for Tom with two other friends along the Intra-Coastal Waterway, and it was a glorious and unforgettable experience. Except for one squall. I admit it; that was a green sort of not fun.

Tom's boat in the broker's slip in Channel Island's Harbor earlier this Fall.

Tom donated a pile of books to our expanding collection, so we cleared a bigger space on the book shelf. We figured we should start learning everything we could get into our brains immediately, and our book collection is now three shelves and growing.

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