Mark's Survival Guide to Cruising Lesson 1: Get to Know Your Community

  Monday, March 25, 2013 / Stephanie / Uncategorized  

Brian and I had welcomed Mark aboard Rode Trip for a vacation unlike any other! He'd have the opportunity to haul sails, haul the anchor, haul the dinghy and outboard, spear our supper, fetch salt water, sweep the floors, hang the clothes, and all the while I'd be basking in the sun finally reading that book I've been hoping to start. Ahhhh...I love vacations! Ok, so we didn't put Mark to work...well not all the time. He was eager to learn and eager to help. Mark wanted to embrace the cruising lifestyle; a change of pace from the hustle and bustle of Chicago. And so on day two of his vacation, we began our adventuring by first repairing the main sail. Because how else could we possibly adventure if we cannot sail!? And how best to repair the main sail but through the art of socialization. Let me explain. Brian and I have met amazing cruisers along our travels. It is always exciting to get acquainted with new friends and always bittersweet to sail onward not knowing when or where our paths may cross again. While anchored between Big Majors Spot and Little Majors Spot, Brian and I spotted a familiar sailboat, Stormy Petrel. We'd last seen Ron and Kathy at Cumberland Island just after Thanksgiving. They've since traveled to Florida and through the Keys on their route to the Bahamas. Ron and Kathy visited Rode Trip for an impromptu reunion. I was thrilled to catch up with them! During our chat they offered us their sewing machine to repair our main sail; a huge relief since hand stitching would take hours and the main had some other areas in need of extra love. Ron and Kathy also suggested we meet the couple aboard the neighboring sailboat, Asante. "...they're young," they shared, "and heading south in your direction." Fantastic! And so when it came time to repair the main sail, Ron and Kathy were out and about. We had spare time but didn't want to stray too far from the boat so that we could be ready to dinghy to Stormy Petrel when they returned. We spotted activity aboard Asante and thought it a good time to go and introduce ourselves. We were soon cozy in the cockpit of Asante getting acquainted with Scott, Brittany, and Isla. We felt good vibes instantly and even Mark felt right at home talking about familiar places in Chicago. We'd soon overextended our stay through lunch and had to get going to complete our repairs. Scott and Brittany offered us their sewing machine too! Talk about a great community passing it forward! We loaded the sewing machine into the dinghy as if it were as precious as gold, taking care to keep it dry and stable. Back at Rode Trip we set up shop and got to work. Brian and Mark read through the instructions to thread the bobbin and the machine. Then we very carefully pushed our sail through to stitch the torn seams. Brian fashioned a patch to mend a tear and stitched along the leach of the sail which was also quite tattered.

As we rigged our repaired main sail, we had a visit from Cliff. He was checking to see how our day was going as he and Brian had been comparing fishing notes. We'd been slowly getting acquainted with Cliff and Jennifer aboard sv/Kluane since we'd first introduced ourselves several weeks ago at Big Majors Spot. We were happy to see them again, thinking they had already headed north. After chatting and completely rigging the main Brian and Mark returned the sewing machine. Thanks, Asante! Brian and Mark rewarded their good work with a bit of swimming and snorkeling. That evening we visited Stormy Petrel to thank Ron and Kathy for their offered sewing machine and explain the outcome of our afternoon. Ron parted with some extra track cars and gave them to us so that we could add them to our spare main sail. Thanks so much! We'll be adding that project to our "after vacation" to-do list. We dinghied to the west side of Big Majors Spot where we'd been invited to join our new friends at Pirate Beach. The campfire was already blazing when we arrived. We found another, more recent, familiar face. The crew of sv/Night Music, Nick and his wife, Stacy, and son, Ethan. We'd previously met Nick at Georgetown. We were also introduced to Patty and Fred. The community that keeps on growing! We so appreciate being part of the cruising community and enjoyed sharing this aspect of cruising with Mark.


  1. From stephanie on Mar 26, 2013
    Thanks so much, I'm glad you are enjoying and sharing in our adventures with us. Now planning our next move, there are so many places to see!

  2. From Jane and Paul Creteau on Mar 25, 2013
    I look forward each morning to reading about your adventures. When we were first married in the 80"s we bareboated in the Virgin Islands 3 times so we can appreciate what you are experiencing. Thanks so much for the entertainment!!!