Life Lessons (in Portland, Maine)

Confession: Despite the months & miles we’ve had on Brio, sometimes it’s still a little scary to go sailing. Not the actual sailing part, mind you — that part I’m okay with — but the get-off-the-dock, maneouver-out-of-the-tight-marina bits. Those get my blood pumping and heart racing like nothing else.

Sailing in Casco Bay, Maine - by Fort Gorges

But Saturday dawned a picture-perfect sailing day… 10 knots of breeze, clear blue skies, a sparkly bay just *calling* our names… there was no way we couldn’t go. Docking be damned.

Jon sailing on Brio

While the whole state of Maine seemed to have the same idea (literally don’t think I’ve ever seen SO many boats out sailing!!), one huge advantage for us is that Mainers seem to be afraid of anchoring. Or if not afraid, just not inclined towards it. So we had a glorious downwind sail and then dropped the hook a little ways up Casco Bay, just a mile or two from a mooring field with hundreds of boats tied up…. and had not a neighbour in sight. #heaven

Casco Bay anchorage

This of course was the cue for a giant thunderstorm to come and POUR on us all night long and into Sunday… but that was a chance for Jon to try out his new foul weather gear, so it was okay too. There’s nothing quite like waking up to soft rain pattering on the hatch, the smell of coffee and bacon drifting over from the galley, a warm bed to cuddle up in, and just the guy you picked for life to share it with.

Thunderstorms in Casco Bay are beautiful

In fact, all was pretty much perfect until we got back to DiMillos. Then I performed one of my absolute worst docking jobs in recent memory, and literally drove Brio *smack* into a piling. Oops.

Not what I’d intended. Exactly what I’d been heart-pounding-worrying-about 😉

Rainy sailing in Casco Bay

The great thing about screwing up docking though — or most things boat-related, for that matter — is that so long as you’re going kind of slow and can survive a little embarrassment, there’s really no harm done. A kind neighbour came running, Jon performed some he-man-manoeuvers, I drove the boat into the dock a few more times, and then it was all over and we were tied up and back in our slip. Done, complete, lesson learned.

But that fear of screwing up — the fear of doing a crap job of docking or departing, or navigating or sailing — that’s the same fear that could keep us glued to the dock. I think it’s probably the same fear that keeps dreamers stuck dreaming while others are out there doing.

Leah - Brio selfie

So sometimes I just have to stuff the scared little girl in a corner, remind her that screwing up is a natural part of learning and living, and then hit a piling or two just to prove my point.






Life Lessons (in Portland, Maine) — 10 Comments

  1. You have to hit a dock sometime – rite of passage. The lesson, as was told to me many, many years ago, was to come in at a speed at which you are comfortable hitting the dock.

    We went in the water last Friday. A few last minute boat tweaks and we’ll be headed from the yard to the mooring on the north end of Falmouth. We are practically on Sturdevant Island. I guess this fat catamaran swings and dances too much for the rest of the field.

    See you on the water.

    • Oh that’s good — “the speed you’re comfortable hitting the dock”. I like it 🙂 What’s your boat’s name? We’ll keep an eye out for you next time we’re tucking behind Sturdevant!!

  2. Thank Leah
    We are into winter in melbourne .however not as cold as maine can be.
    Only 5degrees celsius at night 13 during day cold northerlies
    Regards ian and maralyn

    • Ian that sounds pretty good compared to Maine’s sub-zero winter!! But it’s summer now so who can remember what winter was like?? How’s Meltemi? Any winter sailing? Big hugs to you and Maralyn!!

  3. We miss it, Leah, even the crappy docking and elusive mooring balls. Not so much joker valves. Take care. John

    • HAHAhahahahaha… I can laugh because we are *literally* in the process of ordering a brand new toilet (complete) JUST to avoid having to rebuild the joker valve nonsense. There’s just so much sh*t a girl can take before $140 for a whole new pot seems like a smoking good deal 😉

  4. Wow. You said it girl. Right now we’re less than a week and a half before we head off and I am freaking out. Time to put the scared little boy in me back in the corner and soldier on.

    Thanks for the post. Good to see that even seasoned cruisers get a little freaked out.


    • Woot-woot!!! SO excited for you guys Darryl — nothing feeds the cruiser soul like others getting started on their own journeys!!! You know I stalk your blog continuously so keep letting us in on the inner workings… it’s all gold!!

  5. Great to hear your enthusiasm. At our stage 5usd for a new joker and an hour or two’s worth vs 140 for a new toilet is a no brainer. But I’m a nurse so the smell and getting my hands dirty is nothing. All the best for your adventures x

    • Oh Ruth I’m feeling guilty already… Leah of two years ago would definitely be “tsk-tsking” our money vs time decision making!! Although I have to say I’ve never found a joker valve for $5 bucks… only the $70 rebuild kit. Do you have a secret supply source you’d be willing to share?? 🙂

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