Last week it occurred to me that I have rounded a bend in my career and life. In a room filled with professional mariners and USCG Boatswain's Mates at an unholy hour of the morning, (some of the finest sailors I have ever met or known), I found myself standing at the front of the class lecturing the students about the finer points of the CFRs and navigation rules for professional captains. And it dawned on me then that I have attained a level in my career as a captain that I only hoped to ever achieve. I was teaching the USCG about boating and if you think that is any small thing, you would be wrong.
These guys and gals know their stuff when it comes to boating because it is their job to hit the waves when all hell breaks loose on the sea and they've been doing it for 20 years. And I was tasked with the job of getting them past the USCG 100 ton exam, and I did- they all passed.
But it wasn't just the fact that I was teaching the teachers about boating, it was that the stars have all lined up and I am now a "real" God damned captain.
I have a boat that can go to sea, a license that says I can charge people to do it and a pile of knowledge I have acquired from decades of striving to be the best. And I think given what I was doing last week, I am pretty God damned good.
And so this week, on Good Friday, my wife and I will be heading down to Florida to inspect and prepare the boat, a 2010 38' Leopard named The SV Southern Comfort, to begin offering inshore and offshore lessons to those who wish to learn how to live the cruising lifestyle on a catamaran. We will bring it back up to Beaufort where we will host our first clients from Virginia. Later this season we will be hosting a couple from Panama and it is our hopes to bring people to Beaufort from all over the world to enjoy what I have termed "The Best Little Patch of Sand and Water I ever Saw" Its what I have always wanted to do" be a real captain and share my love of the sea with others. And I can now do it, both legally and emotionally.
I think the thing I learned last week is that for you to do anything like sailing, you gotta believe in yourself. And last week in the middle of a class at USCG Base Fort Macon, I started to believe in myself because I realized it has all come together to make it a reality.
They say the toughest part of sailing around the world is getting off the dock. And they are right. A hundred things stand in the way to going to sea. Not least of which is you have to convince yourself that you can do it. And while I have wanted to go to sea for as long as I can remember, I am only now just realizing that I can do it. All the parts have come together and the stars have aligned to allow me to do it.
Its exciting but also a little scary- so I can only imagine what its going to be like for my students. To set sail with the only barrier remaining in your way is the horizon. Most times you have to stop at the next shore, but when you're on blue water, your next stop is either France or Africa. And that is a little daunting. But big adventures call for brave souls.
So if you want to learn to sail the big water- and you want to do it with a "Real" God Damned Captain- Then given me a call- cause we're open for business.