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Sailing Pristine

Colin grew up as a fish. Cheyenne had a dream. Together they set off on the adventure of a lifetime.

THE MIDSOMER FANTASY TOUR Jul 18, 2018

Once upon a time, when I worked 80+ hours a week for a fast-paced startup, I ended each day completely exhausted.

How did I decompress enough to get up and do it all over again?

While fellow Type-A’s might have cuddled up to one of those basketball-sized wine glasses, done hot yoga, or beat the stuffing out of a heavy bag, my secret technique was watching Midsomer Murders.

For those who don’t know the British show, Netflix or iTunes can fill in the shocking gap in your...

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WHO’S DRIVING THE BOAT? Jun 21, 2018

I was beyond confused.

It was dark. Colin was lying next to me, snoring. If we were both asleep, no one was at the tiller.

How had we let that happen?

I tried to remember where we were going, but the situation only came to me slowly, piece by piece. Pristine was safe in her slip in San Pedro. Colin and I were in a bed—on land—in his mother’s house. No one needed to be driving because we’d already arrived. Phew.

I put my head back on the pillow and slept for twelve more...

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WAR GAMES Jun 17, 2018

Colin and I are pretty diligent about planning passages, but this one threw us some real curveballs.

We use cruising guides, paper charts, and electronic ones. One of us sets out the initial waypoints, courses and distances and the other one checks their work. We’re obsessive with weather forecasts and—now that we’re far enough south to have options—finding backup places to tuck in if we don’t make it as far as expected by dark.

One thing we hadn’t...

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POINT CONCEPTION IN OUR REARVIEW Jun 10, 2018

We were screaming downwind at 25 knots with following seas.

The jib was giving us six knots of boat speed and we were surfing eight foot swells with two fingers. The sun was out, we were flying and the boat was bouncing along with all the joy of a Labrador chasing a tennis ball.

“This is amazing!” I cried. “Can you believe our most glorious day of sailing so far is around Point Conception?”

If I were writing fiction, this is where I would insert the distant rumble of...

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SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED Jun 05, 2018

We said the California Coast would be our shakedown sail and here we are: shaking away. 

The planned passage from Monterey to San Simeon went well with two exceptions: it didn’t end in San Simeon and we’ve probably added both our names to the government watch list.

Let me ‘splain.  

The intention had been an all day sail along the Big Sur coast, beginning at first light and ending before sunset about 90 miles south. We had to time it just right for daylight at both...

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“WHAT’S THAT NOISE?” Jun 03, 2018

That is our affectionate name for a new game we’re learning to play on the boat. 

Points gained for correctly distinguishing slapping lazyjacks from slapping halyards without leaving the cabin. Points lost for asking out loud if our refrigerator just kicked on, when the sound is actually someone starting their engine a hundred feet away.

Water is a unique conductor of sound.

We’re still working on who’s winning our game, but my best guess is Colin is ahead by a few...

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“I’M JUST LIVING THE DREAM RIGHT NOW.” May 30, 2018

That was all I could think to reply to Colin’s concern after my fourth round of feeding the fish off the leeward rail. 

It wasn’t baptism by fire, as much as by fifteen foot swells. 

We’d carefully evaluated and discussed the forecasts before our first night passage from Half-Moon Bay to Monterey, a 14 hour trip. Late May weather gave us two options: we could go out in the gales or we could go out in the calm between the gales.

Simple choice, right?

Funny...

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AND THEY’RE OFF! May 25, 2018

The journey —a lifetime in the making—has finally begun.

It wasn’t always clear it was going to happen. 48 hours before departure, we were still on our hands and knees, scrubbing when I thought our dream was dead.

We’d been living on an air mattress in the living room for a week. We’d sold every stick of furniture, trimmed every hedge, and pulled every weed. Every book and plate and knickknack had been given away or donated. We’d driven the car to...

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T-MINUS FIVE. OR THREE. OR EIGHT. May 11, 2018

Colin and I find ourselves awed every day by the number of people who want to support our send-off with goodbye parties or barbecues or escorts out the gate or down the coast. It’s beyond touching the number of family and friends and people we haven’t seen in years who want to toast the beginning of our new life adventure.

We love you! We have no idea what we did to deserve such support, but we’re feeling it. Believe me.

The challenge is we have no idea when we’re...

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OUR PLAN Mar 28, 2018

Simply put, our plan is to not have a plan.

I was a project manager in a previous life and found some success in jobs where they set the targets high and your task is to make it so. I am a planner if there ever was one.

But this adventure has no goal other than happiness. We’re not heading out on Pristine with any kind of target or a timeframe, so the planner in me gets to take a backseat to the relishing-the-moment human being.

We’re two people who love sailing, love the...

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MEET PRISTINE Mar 27, 2018

She is a stout blue water cruiser, designed to cross oceans in comfort and safety.

For our non-sailing friends, you may now skip to the pretty pictures below.

For those who crave details, she’s a 1990 Pacific Seacraft 37, a double-ender with a cutter rig, graceful sweeping overhangs, a fin keel, and skeg-hung rudder who displaces 16,000 pounds. She’s pretty trim for a cruising boat, with a well-protected rudder and multiple sail options, renowned for her comfortable motion...

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