I've been searching your forums here and reading about your travels and I finally have set up an account. I really appreciate the philosophy and look forward to contributing to the community. My boating adventures are getting ready to unfold here shortly and, as you can imagine, I'm totally excited! Here's my story so far:
I first had a tiller in my hand at either the age of 2 or 3 when my family was doing weekend cruises on the coast of Brazil in the plywood catamaran my dad had built in our backyard on the outskirts of Rio while my parents were in the Peace Corps. It was a beautiful, simple, little boat, and I could totally see a sailfar'er on her today were it not for the fact that she met her demise many years ago after we returned to the states, and the person to whom my dad left her care allowed her to quickly rot away, alas, not an uncommon fate for a wooden boat in the tropics. I'll try to scan some pics of her eventually, as I don't know the name of the design.
After Brazil, we lived in Vermont for a couple of years, and then moved to Castine, Maine when I was in the middle of first grade. Here we would often go out fishing on a 10' aluminum skiff with outboard or sail a friend of family's 14' dory with the sail my dad had sewn for it. Eventually, he built two more boats, a 8' plywood flat-bottom sailing pram of unknown design, and a 10' lapstrake sailing dinghy designed by William Atkin which I still have today and taken down to the bare wood this winter to renovate. (Oh, and there was the 9' milk jug sailing raft that we built one weekend and that I spent a goodly part of my summers on.) I plan on using the lapstrake dinghy as my tender, but more on that below. Here is the design and she does have a sprit rig, as pictured:http://www.boat-links.com/Atkinco/Dinks/Vintage.html
Six years of playing in sailing dinghys on Penobscot Bay and then 2 years of sailing off of Beaufort, NC where we later moved gave me pretty decent experience with small boats. It would seem that I was destined to be a sailor from an early age, but then my dad died while building another boat in Brazil:http://thenina.com/
(that's another story, but you should definitely see her if she's anywhere near you)
and my mom and I moved inland to the mountains of Virginia where there was hardly a pond worth rowing on, and the coast seemed always just a bit too far away. Over the next 17 years or so, I was lucky if I sailed even once a year, and it eventually got to the point where I had to be reminded what the difference between a sheet and halyard was. About 3 years ago, I decided that enough was enough, and it was time to bring boats back into my life, and many circumstances had conspired to release the mountains' hold on me. I moved back to the coast of Maine and starting playing with boats again. It's hard not to fall back in love with them up here, and one thing led to another, and I decided to the cruising life a try. I love the philosophy of cruising simply, living at anchor, preparing almost all your own food, having a boat with few ammenities to repair so more time can be devoted to sailing, etc. I did get seduced by a boat that's a bit bigger than I need (and certainly what I would call big -- but other's might not), but I hope to find fellow sailors to join me in my adventures and share the dream that way. I'm sure you know how it is when a boat catches your eye. I won't be getting her in the water till the end of the month, yet, and I haven't even sailed her (bought on the hard) so this is a pretty exciting month for me. I've been catching her up on maintenance this spring even though she had been well cared for, and I've been completely renovating the Vintage to be my tender. Some pics of work in progress are here:http://picasaweb.google.com/sarscolin/BoatWorkInProgress#
Here's pics of Mimi Rose:http://picasaweb.google.com/sarscolin/MimiRose#
And the pics are here, too, with a description of how she has been outfitted; although, I'll be making some minor changes:http://pagetraditionalboats.com/mimirose.htm
So, my plan now is this. I'll spend the summer sailing up here in Maine and get my experience with a bigger boat up to par and learn the skills associated with cruising that aren't really necessary for short, local sails. Then, come early Sept., I'll take her south slowly joining the procession down the East Coast, but trying to go a bit out of the way where possible and find all the anchorages the crowds miss. I'll be looking to meet up with and sail with like minded souls on the way down. Final destination unknown, but perhaps I will just complete the coast migration this year. I do have eventual thoughts to perhaps cruise to Brazil (the land of my birth), but that's still a far off idea. And of course, the whole time, I'll be working with whatever Internet connection I can pull in to write software while I'm in this or that anchorage and keep the funds coming in that make this dream even remotely possible.
Anyway, I look forward to many interesting discussions on here and hopefully meeting some of you where it's best, on the water!!
PS Speaking of on the water, I'll be sure to post more pics when I get both boats in the water, esp. the one with me smiling so much it hurts