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I fell into this sailor’s life accidentally, but I will pursue it purposefully. For now, I’m hoping to cross an ocean.

How did a young(ish) professional from Manhattan accidentally end up unemployed, homeless, living aboard a sailboat cruising the Caribbean? When I gave notice at work, one of the partners said, “This sounds like a rash decision. Have you thought it through?” Yes. It’s been in the works for decades.

After my father introduces me as his “homeless daughter,” he loves to tell people that I *hated* sailing as a kid. I grew up on the Great Lakes. I loved the water, was out on it every day, all day during the summer and every chance I got on vacation. But sailing was the last thing I wanted to do… Until I stumbled upon the Manhattan Sailing Club in 2009, and was quickly hooked on sailing as an escape from the city. I met a boy with a boat, fell in love with the boat, moved in with the boy on the boat, resigned from my law firm and sailed away with the boy on the boat.

sailed the Caribbean for nearly three years with the boy on the boat.  I loved living on the boat, loved traveling the Caribbean, loved passage making, loved becoming a member of the tribe of cruisers.

I moved off the boat in September 2017, she was hauled shortly after (how could he leave her alone like that?! and now he’s shrinkwrapped her?!), and I moved to Bonaire to pursue a scuba diving career.

|   brita@lifeiswater.com   |   +1.646.831.8740   |

3 thoughts on “Life

  1. Sea Fever
    I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
    And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
    And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
    And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking,

    I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
    Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
    And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
    And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

    I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
    To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
    And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
    And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

  2. I like Bobbie’s quote, but it hasn’t got quite the same feel as this legendary beginning:

    “Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

    “There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs—commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.”

    Okay, sure, it’s a bit less recognizable without the first sentence: “Call me Ishmael.”

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