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Our First Season Sailing

As lifelong power-boaters, could we catch on?

Kim and her parents, Nanette and Leslie Sutbbe, aboard their Vision 42 sailboat.

After a lifetime of power-boating on a variety of vessels, my wife and I sold our 28-foot diesel powerboat to try our hand at sailing.
    You read our story — Trading Our Combustion Engine for the Power of the Wind — in Bay Weekly’s spring Back to the Water issue (
    How did we fare?
    My first challenge was convincing my wife, Kim, to follow me on the adventure. It took me years, but I am nothing if not persistent. Each time we decided to upgrade, I brought up the idea of a sailboat.
    She replied that sailing seemed like an awful lot of work. Having to chart a course based on the wind and current, figuring out which line to pull or let go of — all detracted from her concept of pleasure boating. Top it off with her fear of tipping over in a strong gust, and it simply wasn’t her cup of tea.

The author under sail.

    I couldn’t argue with her conviction that sailing was more work. So I used that argument to my advantage. We need to try this while we’re still relatively young, I countered.
    With more discussion peppered with the fear of regret, Kim hesitantly agreed. After looking at used sailboats, we opted to buy new. We took possession of our new Bavaria Cruiser 37 in April and spent spring and summer teaching ourselves the basics.
    We loved every minute of it.
    It has been an adventure. For example, I read that if you’re thinking about reefing your sails, you should’ve already done it. Remember that Kim’s biggest fear was tipping over? Once or twice, I shared that worry. Don’t tell Kim.
    By midsummer, however, we learned what the boat could handle — as well as what we could handle.

Jumping in with Both Feet
    Purchasing the 37-footer was dipping in our toes to test the water. By late summer, we were taking the plunge.
    Along the way, I had kept up with Brad, our salesman at Bavaria. He had taken time and pains to make Kim feel comfortable with our Cruiser 37, especially when we had gone out for a lengthy test sail. Outside of her earshot, Brad and I had also discussed my love for the 42-foot Bavaria Vision. He hinted to me that if we really enjoyed sailing on the 37, he could probably work a deal on the Vision 42 before the end of the season. We hadn’t shared our secret. Don’t tell Kim.
    Yet Kim — always more financially prudent and conservative than I — didn’t take much convincing. Soon, it felt like she was trying to sell me on bumping up.
    Not only did we jump into sailing with a brand new boat, in less than six months, we sailed away on a new 42-foot Vision.

Final Seal of Approval
    Between the two boats, we had an amazing spring and summer introducing friends and family to our new adventure. Many who joined us for a day, convinced that sailing was a complicated or even daunting experience, quickly had their concerns put to rest.
    Perhaps the most skeptical were Kim’s parents. They had spent a lifetime power-boating in small outboards on the Great Lakes, but sailing was another matter. After a beautiful day on the water with just the right amount of wind, they had smiles from ear to ear. I got a wink and a nod of approval. When it was time to furl the sails and motor back to the marina at sunset, Kim raised our Jolly Roger flag and we all sang Yo-ho! and A Pirate’s Life for Me.

One Last Secret
    Now, I am eager for the Annapolis Sailboat Show. Bavaria has a new 57-foot cruiser making its debut at the show. It can’t hurt to just look, right?
    Just don’t tell Kim.