My sailing ability before this trip was limited to lying on the cabin floor and occasionally heaving up off the back chumming the water for the fish. I had 2,800 nautical miles under my belt (before this big ocean trip) and I had kept it pretty under wraps that I had no idea how to put up the mainsail or that I didn’t know how to work our wind vane. I had no idea what so ever on which way to put a headsail out for the wind direction, or how to use the GPS chart plotter. I had huge difficulty in trying to turn the motor on and get the ignition to click over and I had trouble in general at keeping my stomach contents down or, emerging off the floor. However I did know how to set a heading on a paper chart and how to turn on the auto pilot. Basically what I am saying is that, I was absolutely useless at sailing , I had given up on trying to learn the day we brought the boat and I hurled for hours and hours, while SM yelled at me to grab a sheet. I grabbed a sheet and wrapped myself up in it, but apparently that’s not the sort of sheet he meant.
“I’ve got a sheet,” I yelled at him, “Just go away.”
“ A sheet is a rope,”he yelled at me with expletives..
”You can jam that sheet where the sun don’t shine,” I yelled in reply, and went back to lying on the floor hating life and in complete misery.
We then gave each other the silent treatment and SM went about sailing us home. That was my welcome to sailing. I then refused to sail with him and so he went day tripping while I sat around the marina heavily pregnant waiting for him to return. Yes that’s right ,I would sit on the cement finger at 9pm at night waiting for my home to return, with a stomach that was so large I looked like a walrus.
SM had enough sailing experience to get us from point A to point B in a round about kind of way. We had only ever day hopped and never sailed overnight. For us to get out there and do what we had just done was huge.
We spent 10 days on the ocean in total from Mooloolaba to Port Mosselle Noumea. We had conquered our first ever ocean passage. We were hit with squalls almost every day. We endured a 40 knot blow on the first day, a day becalmed, and everything in between. We dealt with everything that was thrown at us as if we were naturals and had been doing this for years, the ocean somehow magically made me a sailor.
The kids were the most well behaved little girls there could ever be, they handled the ocean fine and loved every minute ,not once were they bored and they were very aware of our sleep deprived states so never pushed their luck. We didn’t come away from this passage with “what could we of done better” we walked away with a world of knowledge and a new found confidence and a “we totally nailed that”. I walked away a sailor not just a lay-on-the -floor sailor but a true proper ocean going Sailor. What an experience. I think I was the scaredest most petrified brave person you will ever meet.
For four years I’d lost sleep over this passage. For four years I was petrified to the core and on one hurried day on the 3 of August I had the courage to sheepishly tackle that fear. I was petrified from day 1 till the moment we hit land and I am still scared knowing we have to cross the ocean to return home. It doesn’t matter if you tackle the fear hiding under a doona and security blanket, all that matters is that you tackle it, and that we did.
This will be the biggest achievement in my life, the moment I look back on and realise that I am not all the negative things I think I am, but in fact I am a courageous, strong woman.