John & Mary aboard the Marylee

Even from an early age I was always attracted to the water. Growing up in Madison, Wisconsin with its many lakes at my disposal, it was hard not to be involved somehow. Both my family and Mary’s, had small power boats. Many hours were spent fishing as well as pleasure cruising around Lake Mendota. In the late 1950s, my family began vacationing in Florida every Christmas. It was here that I had my first exposure to sailing. My little Sunfish blissfully slipped through the waves ahead of the off shore breeze. Land slowly slipped away and it became apparent it was time to head back. No one had mentioned that you couldn’t sail against the wind! Instinctively, I quickly learned to tack and slowly made my way, back and forth, towards shore. There was a lot to learn but one thing for sure, I was hooked.

Over the years I had many opportunities to sail but my experiences with the Boy Scouts of America’s High Adventure Sea Base program in Islamorada set the course for my future. Sailing the large boats for a week on the water; snorkeling the reefs, enjoying unbelievable sunsets and living a much less stressful life, showed me that there was much more to life than work and the accumulation of stress. I didn’t know how it would happen but this dream had to be fulfilled.

Fast forward ten years. I had an opportunity to pick up an O’day 23. A sailboat of my very own! I could hardly believe it. Mary and I had great fun sailing all over Lake Mendota.

We took the boat up to Bayfield and spent a week exploring the Apostle Islands. The sailing was incredible but having to watch those “big” boats anchored out in Strawberry Bay have so much fun, was too much. We needed a bigger boat.

Retirement was looming. Mary had worked for the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center for almost thirty years. She was fully vested in her retirement plan. I was just worn out. The doctor said I needed rest; three to five years of rest! It was time.

We bought our Oday 40 in 2005 and spent two years fitting her out for our needs. Our commitment to our new lifestyle would be 100%. The house, the cars, the furniture and all the stuff that goes along with life on land was sold or given away. We set out in August 2007. The rest of our exploits are covered in the posts on this blog.

Come sail with us!

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