Finding Serenity

Location: Forest Hills, Washington DC, United States, North America
Altitude: 76.00 m

Ok, so this blog post is a coming-out of sorts – I’m one of those “crazy” people who has, until now, secretly aspired to live aboard a sailboat. Growing up in Southern Virginia, summer activities often centered around the water. My dad, a jack-of-all-trades, built the first boat the family owned out of plywood and fiberglass. It was a small powerboat, but I remember it seeming huge to me – I was 5 or 6 at the time. Later, my family owned other powerboats and enjoyed spending time picnicking and water skiing on various lakes in the area. I learned to sail when I was ~13 on a friend’s Sunfish – no instructions mind you, I just got in the thing and figured out how to sail it. In the years after that I sailed a variety of small craft including Hobie Cats and learned about sailing from the people around me.

It wasn’t until I was in my mid twenties that I gave any consideration to living on a sailboat when, in college, a group of us chartered a 60 foot ketch (a type of twin masted sailboat) in Miami and crewed it on a 10+ day round trip to the Bahamas – it was amazing! After college I sailed a little on family vacations and there were occasional forays to boat shows and boat yards, but my dream of living aboard got pushed aside by the demands of graduate school, career and family.

When I moved to Washington DC in 2011 I had planned to live in an apartment for a year or so while I scoped out the real estate market and decided my next move. I started browsing the real estate listings, but found that my heart really wasn’t in it. I just wasn’t all that interested in owning another house. So, I dragged my feet, one year became two, then three. Then, in early 2014 while I was on a shoot for the Nautical Channel in Norfolk, Virginia, I travelled to Old Dominion University to shoot a segment with the University sailing team. The jist of the interviews was that sailing was not just for the well-to-do and was within the reach of anyone. Afterwards, we went to the Norfolk Yacht Club to record the annual sailboat parade. While at the club I observed people living aboard their boats and was reminded of my earlier aspirations to live aboard. On the drive back to DC, when the rush-rush-rush of shooting the show was done, my home-ownership thoughts began to gel and a new way forward emerged, but this time instead of a roof my next home would have a deck and sails! I then began researching what would be required and embarked on a ~three-year plan that included formal training, experience, and learning the ins-and-outs of evaluating, buying, and refurbishing a used sailboat.

So, if all goes according to plan, I hope to turn this dream into a reality around the end of this year. What about the name for my new home? Her name will be Serenity 🙂

Stay tuned to this blog (Where is Susanne?) for my upcoming posts related to finding and living aboard Serenity.


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