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October 14, 2001

As so many voyages do, my upcoming cruise started as a dream. A big idea painted with wide brush strokes of Caribbean blues and greens. But, as my hopeful departure date of early November approaches the picture is quickly shrinking, and I find myself mired in the all-encompassing details. 'To Do' lists and 'To Buy' lists are being written and re-written. Projects that would have taken me weeks to accomplish are squeezed into days. However, the stress of preparing for an ocean voyage is punctuated with moments of satisfaction each time I cross an accomplished task off the list!

Baggywrinkle, my 33 foot Sloop, is currently hauled on the shores of the Magothy River in the Chesapeake Bay and my immediate priority is completing all of the jobs that require she be on the hard. Painting the topsides was first on the list. I approached this job with some trepidation as every person I talked to had different advice on how to attain a professional looking finish when using one part polyurethane paint. Sanding the old paint and repairing the chips and gouges in the gelcoat was the tedious and time consuming work. I'll tell you that the quickest way to feel like you have a big boat is to repeatedly have to sand it. In the end the painting was the easy part. With some help I was able to roll the paint and have a person follow behind me tipping it off, completing an entire coat in under an hour.

The boat is scheduled to return the water at the end of this week, and the work certainly does not end there. But, before I leave the yard the bottom must be sanded and painted with anti-fouling, new zinks must be installed, the prop shaft packing must be replaced and a myriad of other little chores must be completed.

As I work to prepare for my journey I remind myself of something John Steinbeck wrote in Travels with Charlie: "We do not take a trip; a trip takes us." And this must be doubly true for sailing trips which are depending on the wind, current, and weather. So, I watch the bright red leaves fall against the backdrop of a crisp blue autumn sky and land on the deck and think about the coming winter I am hoping to escape. At the moment I'm still amidst the work of preparation, but I look forward to moment when I will turn myself over to the trip and let it take me.