Come sail away

DSC04641It’s true, I bought a sailboat without actually knowing how to sail.

When my sailing 101 class of nine students went around giving introductions, my instructor paused after learning I owned a boat.

“Wait a minute, so you bought the boat, but don’t know how to sail? Well, we all know who we are becoming friends with during this course!” said instructor Jordy.

Ten months after buying Oswin, I signed up for a sailing course that lasted two days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. I learned the rules of the water, how to control a sailboat’s speed and course, and how to safely come about going upwind.

I walked away from that course knowing new terms like, “coming about” and “beam reach” but more importantly, I earned a sense of confidence.

Before the class, I was intimidated by Oswin. I had absolutely no prior knowledge of sailing and this boat contained all of my life possessions. If it sank, my whole lifestyle would, too.

I had many nightmares where Oswin would sink in the marina slip. I would have to yank the boat by the bow, up to the surface, to save everything inside. Obviously not possible outside of dream-world, but I woke up terrified.

I actually let down Oswin’s sails once before the class with Rory, Paul and Kelsey on the Puget. Right after I put the Oswin decal on the stern of the boat, I knew I needed to let down her sails to signify the start of a new adventure.

Although fun, I still didn’t quite understand what I was doing.

Letting her sails down after my 101 course was an awakening experience. Sailing knowledge came pouring out of me and I realized how independent and powerful I had become.

I was in control of a 28 ft. vessel, steering with a teak wood tiller (looks like a wooden pole) and using the wind to push us along. The best part about turning off the engine and using the wind: Silence.

Hearing nothing but the waves brushing Oswin, I felt connected to my surroundings. We happily broke that silence by turning on The Black Keys Pandora station and sailed back and forth on the Puget Sound, watching the sunset behind the Olympic mountains.

I was officially Captain Ernie.

Mini fridge, it is!

My galley (kitchen) is fully equipped with an alcohol stove, sink, icebox and drawers. The icebox is hidden underneath my counter space with a tiny latch that I can open and close to keep my food cool.

At first, I thought the icebox would benefit my diet since I’m not able to keep food refrigerated for long. This means I need to buy fresh ingredients when I want to cook and I can’t keep leftovers.

I started going to the market in Pike Place and bought fresh veggies, bread, and sometimes seafood. Along with these groceries, I also bought a bag of ice on my way home at the 7-eleven located along the main road to the marina.

At the time, I didn’t have a moped and buying ice and groceries meant a heavy walk home. I would occasionally stop by Trader Joe’s instead of the market since they had delicious frozen meals I could make for the night, instead of buying many ingredients.

I bought a moped in December 2016 and felt relief when I could store groceries in the seat. Grocery shopping wasn’t such a chore anymore and I could fit the ice inside as well.

My ice would last about two to three days when the Puget water surrounding Oswin was cold enough. Even though the Puget never froze in the winter, it was cool enough to keep my ice frozen a little longer than normal.

But I knew the Sound would eventually warm-up and around April, I debated getting a mini-fridge.

Buying ice was a hassle already, especially at $1.99 a bag, everyday. Ice would soon become a huge pain in my routine to keep my food from spoiling.

I also considered converting my ice box into a refrigerator. Although possible, the refrigeration conversion kits started at about $679.99. It might add value to Oswin overall, but I decided against the kit because of the cost.

IMG_4395A mini fridge was my best option. I bought the mini fridge for $90 and stored it in my aft berth (bed area) near the galley. My electric bill maybe increased by a couple dollars but this small addition was life changing.

Milk, eggs, cheese, and meat are now easily accessible for any kind of breakfast, lunch or dinner. I can also store leftovers, like a delicious peanut butter burger from 8 oz. Burger, and not have to worry about food spoiling. I even have the tiniest freezer in the top left corner of the fridge that I can keep tiny pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

The little things truly make you comfortable at home.


Poseidon stole my ID badge

When stepping onto Oswin from the marina dock, you have to mind a small gap of Puget water. It’s not large enough to fall in, but small items like a work ID badge, ORCA transit pass, boyfriend’s multi-tool, cockpit seat cushion or a shoe (lost while sailing) can fall and sink to the bottom of the marina.

What I did not expect was to one day possibly see these items again.

In December 2016, I climbed aboard Oswin and as I stepped over the lifeline to the cockpit, I heard a metal ting and then plop. I instantly knew something fell into the water, but I searched around my purse, jacket pockets and still had everything I had placed there before.

I thought maybe it was something from the dock. But when I got inside my heart dropped–my work ID badge that allows me to get into my office building and carries my ORCA transit card getting me to work in the morning was missing from its clip.

The next day I had to go sneak onto my building’s elevator to floor 38 to get a temporary pass for the day. It didn’t take long to replace my ID badge, but replacing my ORCA transit card was costly (considering I had already misplaced it once before that year).

After giving my explanation as to why I needed to replace my badge and ORCA card, Jim the office administrator said, “well, losing it in the puget sound has to be the coolest reasoning I’ve heard yet.”

It definitely is cool, but a little inconvenient.

I went on the next couple months using a necklace badge holder instead of a clip, avoiding the risk of another Poseidon casualty.

In April 2017, the weather had finally started to clear up and I took the boat out with Paul to empty the sanitation tank.

When we returned, I saw something bobbing up and down in the water near Oswin. It looked like a rectangular card and as I got closer I recognized my face underneath the cloudy plastic covering.

I grabbed the rusted, metal clip and found my ID badge and ORCA pass four months after dropping it overboard. What I found most surprising was that it stayed in the same area for those four months.

Now I have a back-up in case I drop it in again.