Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Deal Is Done

The Deal Is Done!!!

It's a Endeavour '42 and you can see pictures of her here.

I've been in "silent mode" while the negotiations were going on, but we got it done and I signed closing paperwork yesterday.  I have been keeping detailed notes over the past few weeks and plan to blog and back date the entire process so other people can understand and learn from how I took a major step forward to realizing the sailing dream.  This is the beginning, not the end, and there is a lot of work to go before I get to sail the oceans blue for extended periods.

Special thanks to Dylan B for his expertise and Doug C. for helping us get the deal done.  The Live Aboard Facebook group gave me tons of suggestions and useful information that helped me move forward with confidence.

Most of all I want to thank Kerry and Kathy - her previous owners.  I know you wanted to sell her to someone who will cruise and appreciate her, and I will most certainly do that. Kerry went out of his way to educate me on the boat and its systems so I don't have to learn it all by trial and error.  I can't thank you both enough for leaving all of the small equipment on board which will also be put to good use.  You have an open invitation to come join me on an adventure anytime, and I strongly encourage you to take me up on that.

I'm planning to move her from St. Augustine to Jacksonville next week.  She'll be on display on the north bank of the Riverwalk venue of the 2015 One Spark festival April 7 - 12.  You can read about my project here.

There will be 3-5 tours per day if you want to see her up close and personal. Better yet contribute to my project and you can go sailing on her for either a sunset cruise or a week in the Caribbean. Check out the rewards section for more details. That would not be a charter, just like minded friends getting together to enjoy the water and live the dream.

Ever forward.

Captain V

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sailboat Buying Update - One Spark Campaign

As I said before I never thought my journey to sail around the world would start in my kitchen, but it did. The kitchen renovation on my home was finished just before Christmas 2014 and my house is about to go on the market.  I've looked at more than a dozen other boats since my last post about boat shopping and these are some important things I've learned.  This is not intended to be a complete list of what I'm looking for, but highlight some things that I discovered I want, or don't want as I've gone through the process
  1. 1990's or newer design for a more open floor plan
  2. Center Cockpit for a big captain's berth aft
  3. 38' - 42' LOA.  36' would be ideal if I was going to become a hermit but I like people and entertaining
  4. Teak decks are a pain in the butt and a deal killer.  They look great but aren't worth the trade-offs
  5. Renewable power via wind, solar, or both is a must.  6V batteries done well last longer.
  6. Newer sails in above average condition.  Furling jib for sure (Duh). Furling main is nice to have, especially for fast reefing single handed, but most are out of my price range.
  7. Two heads in operating condition make life better for everyone on board. Disabling one and not adjusting the price accordingly is a very bad negotiating tactic for you sellers out there. 
  8. Spacious salon I can live and work in comfortably is critical, and the less table that is in the way when you aren't using it the better.
  9. Windows and headroom are important - otherwise it feels like you're in a coffin. 
  10. Flatter non-stepped fore-decks are harder to find than you might think, but it's important to have a place for catching some rays in comfort when relaxing.  Too flat = no air circulation.
I found Morgan 41' at Christmas I really liked that was at the high end of my price range, but owned by an unmotivated sailor whose wife has already picked out their next bigger boat, and he wasn't willing to budge on the price even though there were numerous issues with all of the above.  I moved on.

My racing partner and captain George C. has been a huge help in my shopping process.  I also need to give props (pun intended) to the Liveaboard Sailboat Group on Facebook (  that has given me great advice on boats I've looked at, and brought up things to consider that weren't necessarily on my radar (pun intended again).  Thanks to you all for sharing your experience, time, and suggestions.

I've registered as a creator for One Spark which will be here in Jacksonville in April 2015 ( to try and raise funding to shoot my live-aboard transformation process as a web based reality series.  My goal is to inspire others to show how they can simplify their life and chase whatever dreams they have, even if it has nothing to do with sailing. 

One thing that was both odd and funny was that I had a meeting with a producer in Atlanta.  I pitched the concept of a Les Stroud  inspired (, self-shot "Survivorman" like  approach to capturing this journey but he was more interested in budgeting $150,000 - $200,000 per episode complete with a camera crew, chase boat, and all of the trappings. He also asked me what I was running away from and I tried to explain I wasn't running from anything - it's what I am running towards that matters most.  He clearly didn't get my concept, and I didn't get his.  

The boat search continues and I suspect it won't be long now. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Halloween Role Reversal - The Pirate Emerges

The kitchen renovation is almost done.  Lots of false starts on cabinet refacing and I ultimately solved my own problems rather than hiring someone else to do it.  The finish line is in sight.

Over the past six months I've flirted with getting sucked into another 5 year corporate deal.  Both of us got to the point where someone had to blink, and neither of us did - thankfully.

For Halloween this year I'm going to dress up as a pirate.  In 2015 I'm going to become one and dress up as a businessman next Halloween.  I'm looking forward to switching roles and being more of one and less of the other.  

I purged a big cabinet today and divided it into donate, yard sale, Craigslist and eBay.  It felt great. The paring down continues, but I still have a long way to go.

The shopping count of sail boats I've looked at is only up from 2 to 4 even though I check multiple times each week.  I'm still looking for a 36-40 ish footer that is live aboard ready, can be single handed and has the engineering to trust to cross oceans. It's a tall order. I remain selective and trust in the fact we'll find each other when the time is right.  I've joined a sailing club and have done some racing this summer that got my blood pumping.

This whole thing is proving harder than I thought, but they say nothing worth doing is easy.  I hate cliché's but I know for a fact this one is true. It also shows me I'm on track.

Fair winds friends,


PS: I'm going to go see Stanley Paris at Epping Forest Y.C. this week which will be my second time meeting him.  If anyone is going to be there- let me know and come shake hands.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Going to look at a boat

I'm so close I can taste it.  I've been shopping for more than 2 years and am only going to look at my second boat.  I've read more than a dozen books, and have even met some of the authors.  I know exactly what I'm looking for.

The owner and I bonded right away in a phone call and I told him I've got the money in the bank, but still may be just tire kicking. I also know I'm looking for a boat that is rigged for crossing oceans which this one is. I told him I'd bring cold beer and would be happy to swing by whenever he's planning to be on board. He said if a sailor is coming to look at his boat - we're going sailing.  Hell yea!  We'll see what happens.

If I buy it I'll post pictures and details at how I decided this was the one. I HAVE TO GET THIS DECISION RIGHT- and I will not rush it.

For those who know me, not much happens in my life by accident.  I'm an organized person and a planner which makes me a great captain, and one day, great pilot. I'm sending white light and butterflies out to the world trusting that the right seller and the right boat will come my way.  I'm confident based on my past experience and research that I'll know it when I see it.  It could be this weekend, or it could be 6-12 months from now. I can live with either and I'll pull the trigger when its time.

A close colleague of mine who is a pilot has been pushing me not to delay getting my license any longer b/c I'm not getting any younger.  Ground school is already done and he says, "What are you waiting for".  He doesn't see the whole picture.  You can't live in a plane and the idea of going 6 knots with following seas instead of 200 mph like I normally do is more appealing.  If I were going to do it, I'd be doing it in a Velocity experimental which I have flown right seat 50' above the Atlantic Ocean. It was awesome.

Free Advice: Don't get too emotionally committed to any transaction (whether it's a company, a house, a plane, or a boat). You'll arrive at the best deal when you're prepared to walk away from it, and nobody gets everything they wanted. The deal you walk away from today might be the best deal you've ever made later. Yes, you can quote me.

For those who dabble in corporate mergers and acquisitions like me, you can see an example of this by learning how AstraZeneca has not jumped towards their first suitor, and rejected 2 offers even as Pfizer was applying pressure.  Not the same realm or scale obviously, but you get my point.

Have a great Memorial Day, and thank a veteran like me for their service,


Friday, May 9, 2014

Breaking away is proving harder than I thought.

When I met with my real estate agents the first thing they told me was that to get maximum value out of my house, I had to renovate the kitchen which is the only room I hadn't renovated in my 1980's era original house. So here I am 5 months later, 75% of the way through the renovation which I'm doing on a budget to be able to maximize the sail boat fund.

I want to break free first and foremost, and hopefully sail around the world once I tune up my skills, which are decent, but not trans-ocean caliber.  I've accomplished my first goal of being able to make a very solid living with a laptop and an Internet connection. I haven't even come close to liquidating everything yet but I have been making some sacrifices, a short list of which I have included below.

These are very first world problems, and I recognize how lucky I am to have to deal with them.  I bought first house in '96 which I renovated and upgraded through 5 others in 9 years while living in them under construction to land in my current waterfront house of my dreams which I've lived in just as long.  The goal in all of them was to move forward with my financial goals, and share them with others.  It even cost me my first and probably only marriage.

It will be my same goal on my floating one.  I have no desire to live exclusively on a self made isolated island of privileged expats.  I want to spend less time working and sit around camp fires, risk catching a disease far from healthcare, cook with strangers eating food I've never seen, and play guitar with people I just met.

That said I know I will have to lean heavily on the community of experienced cruisers because nobody makes it in this world alone-especially when you are crossing oceans.  I can't wait to join the club, and look forward to participating in the virtuous circle.

A friend of mine told me a story about some friends she knew that broke my heart.  They bought and owned a ~50' sail boat which they day sailed for years.  Then they moved on board chasing their "sailors lifestyle" dreams, and bogged it down with so much stuff they boat never left the slip again.  I'm not going to let that happen to me.

I've been doing a lot of reading on the topic of circumnavigation and one of my inspirations right now is from "Captain Fatty" who bought and rigged his first boat, liquidated his belongings, and was left with 2 boxes of stuff he thought he couldn't live without.  He ends up deciding to chuck them concluding (paraphrasing) "Do you want to hang on to this stuff, or do you want to sail around the world?"  Six months under way later he couldn't even remember what was in the boxes.  (I'll add a link to your book Cpt. Fatty when I have time to get back to this - You're the man).

I know I'm not through the toughest part of the paring down process yet, but here are a few sacrifices I have made. As I wrote them down I can't help but think- "Do you realize how many people would love to have these problems? What exactly are you running away from?"

The answer is I'm exhausted by the grinding down of my spirit in corporate America. Everyone and every organization is so lean it isn't fun any more - even when you're well paid.  I'm not going to let chasing the Jonses and consumerism take priority over my need to do something amazing with my life- even if it kills me.  I'd much rather die in my 40's chasing dreams than drooling in a wheel chair in my 90's trapped in a body that doesn't work, tormented by regret of the things I didn't attempt to do.

2014 "Sacrifices" to date
  1. Doing 90% of the work on renovating my kitchen in my "off time" in parallel with a consulting gig that takes 50-60 hours per week.
  2. Taking my first vacation in 2 years.  This may not sound like a sacrifice, but it cost me heavily $ wise, but enriched my life experience account.  Getting the down time verified I am on track with where I am headed.
  3. Renting my guest room on AirBnb to cut down on my mortgage expense.
  4. Sold the motorcycle and deposited 100% of the funds into the sail boat war chest. 
  5. Passing up the Porsche 911 I've been dreaming of owning for over a decade, and was so close to buying I paid to have it transported to Jacksonville.  Conclusion: Do you want a Porsche or do you want to sail around the world. 
My eyes are resolutely fixed on the prize. Ever forward.

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Nod to My First Mate of 15 Years

There has been a lot of things that have lead up to the breaking free adventure, but I can't take a step forward without first recognizing my first mate of 15 years- my labrador retriever Knox I had to put down on Dec 9th.  For those who know me well you boated with him. He always crowded you, especially when he was wet, and probably shook off on you once or twice when you weren't expecting it.  If you got to meet him, you couldn't help but love him.  He and I went through a lot together and here are some highlights of fond memories:

  • For the maiden voyage of my first Boston Whaler, he was there.
  • Ears flapping so fast at the bow of the boat at full throttle that I was a afraid he was going to take flight.
  • He dug holes chasing ghost crabs so deep, all you could see were butt and tail.
  • I got rid of the wife and kept the dog- one of the best decisions I've ever made.
  • One time he spooked, and spun so fast his hind quarters went off the dock, and the rest followed in a long slow drag of claw resisting terror like something out of a cartoon- he was fine.
  • Wading into the water just enough to lay down, cool off, and keep going.
  • He was a consummate gentlemen with other dogs, cats, and kids. 
  • He never told if someone got topless or went skinny dipping.
  • Rolling in really stinky otter poop at a big party - bad dog!
  • Frisbee dog extraordinare when he was younger.  Always up for a game of beersbee, or being the monkey in the middle.
  • Chewing Nylabones, the treat of choice and 24 hour breakfast of champions- even when I was trying to sleep.
  • The summer party where Paul and our friends got him drunk on beer. What a hangover he had!
  • Being in the middle of the mud fight with the ladies at the Rockville Regatta.  I owe you for that one bud.
  • Taking dock baths - and playing the bull vs. me as bullfighter when it was time to dry off. Ole!
  • First time my boat almost sunk - he came to lay down next to me after the excitement was over to make me feel better.  It didn't go down, but it was touch and go for a while there.
  • One time we went boat camping and I left him outside for the night. The mosquito's were so bad he cried for relief he was getting bitten so badly.  I took pity and let him in the tent. That sandy dog made a mess of everything, but got his own tent after that in a rare moment of being spoiled.
  • Falling in the water trying to catch a mullet mid-jump in his teeth.
  • Popcorn- the only people food he ever got when it wasn't an accident.  He loved it as much as his dad does, and could catch it from any angle.
  • Dogsitters - From old friends to near strangers.  Thank you.  He never spent a day in the kennel since he was two years old, even when I was a road warrior.
He was never any good at making coffee.  He couldn't fend off for shit, and whenever I asked him to grab the anchor line he gave me this look like "Nah, I don't feel like it.  You do it".  Still for all he couldn't do, he was great at just being him and that made everyone's life around him brighter- especially mine.  I miss you dude and when I get underway in blue ocean I'll imagine you standing at the bowsprit watching the dolphins with your ears flapping in the wind with that big 'ol smile on your face.  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

V Breaks Free- Christmas 2013

When I announced my sailboat plan to my best friend, the first words out of his mouth were "I think you're crazy".  He's right, but not in the way he meant because I'm just crazy enough to pull it off, and he knows it.

This is the story of a former Fortune 500 executive who didn't take a golden parachute out. He quit his six figure job in 2008, and started his own consulting practice with 1 goal - start and run the business from anywhere in the world.  He's spent 5 years (so far) consulting for the Fortune 500 fixing their most broken projects.  It's not a bad gig, but still too limited, so I'm taking it to the next level.

I'm going to break free- liquidating the waterfront house, luxury cars, and big-boy toys.  V's going to"throw it all away",  stop keeping up with the Jones', buy a cruising sailboat, and take it around the world, AND I'm going to continue my business and make bank. I'm not worried about being able to get it all back.  The exciting question is what if I start sailing, and decide to never stop.  If you can relate to a dream like this, come on the journey with me.