Adventurous Mom “Sails Away”

By: American Sailing Association, Schools

I’m compelled to share this heartwarming guest post by Anne Fulton-Cavett, about her baptism by the sea with Sunshine Coast Adventures in the Florida Keys:

I heard it repeatedly for days leading up to my departure; “I never knew that you wanted to learn how to sail!?”

“I didn’t either,” was my response.

After a couple of more-grueling-than-usual months at the office turned into complete overload between work, children, home and husband, I needed to get away. Alone. Perhaps it was the extremity of the state I was in or that I have finally matured enough to recognize that what I need, for me, is as important as what my family, friends, community and clients need from me. While sheer exhaustion made relaxing beach-side and being served Mai Tais a very attractive prospect, I knew that I needed, at this point in my life, to push myself outside my comfort zone.

Under beautiful blue skies, Tuesday morning found me approaching a marina in the Florida Keys, ready to embark on a five day, women-only, learn to sail adventure. I had no idea what to expect, and for my type-A personality, that in and of itself was a challenge.

I immediately liked our gregarious, 30-something Captain Jenn when I read her t-shirt; “Well behaved women rarely make history.” She was clearly my kind of gal! Our sailing vessel, or “S/V” as I would come to learn, was the 40 foot sloop Coeur Volant. After couple hours of “classroom” instruction (held in the marina tiki hut) on the utterly foreign language of sailing and sailboats, we cast off the dock lines, sailing swiftly into our adventure.

We spent our days sailing under our wonderful Captain’s instruction and in short order, it was clear to me that I had found a new love. I have always loved the water, having spent my summers as a kid at the Jersey shore, but sailing took me to a whole new level. It challenged my brain in a way that I have not experienced in a long time. The physical efforts of trimming sails, jibing and tacking were invigorating. The sunny skies, turquoise water, and intermittent boat-side dolphin visits literally put the wind in my sails. Each night when it was time to anchor, I wasn’t ready. I wanted to sail more and learn more. I was continually amazed at how quickly the daytime hours passed. If only time could have stopped or at least slowed…

Evenings began with our Captain miraculously creating gourmet dinners in a galley so tiny it wouldn’t store my shoe collection. The other student and I spent the evenings on deck studying our sailing texts in preparation for the American Sailing Association certification exams. Though the rocking of a boat has always provided me comfort, I found it difficult to sleep. There was so much to learn and so little time. The night time breezes, abundant stars and nearly full moon provided fodder for hours of reveling in my thoughts. Despite the lack of sleep, mornings found me invigorated and hungry for more than breakfast.

For the first time since becoming a mother, I was not in a hurry to finish the vacation and return to their little arms around my neck. Now THAT, is saying something! For me, being back on land was the bitter end!

Alas, five days of sailing instruction does not a sailor make. I’m afraid the sport is more akin to golf. One must do it repeatedly and consistently to gain, let alone master, the requisite skills. Despite my Sonoran Desert residence, I am determined to find a way to feed my soul on a sailboat as often as possible. Never before has stepping out of my comfort zone felt so good. I am now, finally, back on course. May you too, find yours. Fair winds, my friends.