5.09.2011

Opportunity knocked: Alaska Eagle

I feel it in the air. It is almost summer and my everyAUGUST adventures are starting to fan their wings. The first adventure is aboard Alaska Eagle, a boat I worked on over ten years ago.

I KNOW! Check out this boat. It is amazing!

When opportunity knocks, it always makes sense to answer, even if it took me a few days to commit.

Over ten years ago I worked at the Orange Coast College Sailing Center (now called The School of Sailing and Seamanship) as a grunt. I was on the crew team and was offered a job. When I first started working there I didn't know anything about boats or sailing. But I asked a lot of questions and said yes when people asked me to help out. Soon I learned how to sail, varnish boats, repair sails and do minor repairs on all kinds of boats. I even co-taught sailing to kids one summer. When I worked at the Sailing Center, Alaska Eagle was one of the boats I worked on. She was beautiful and T and I talked about one day taking a trip onboard. Alaska Eagle is a teaching vessel that sails around the world. "Students" can sign up for different legs of the trip. Currently she is on the way back from Antarctica (check out the pictures on Facebook.)

Fast forward to the present. T occasionally does some work for the Sailing Center and runs into my former co-workers. When he and I dreamed of sailing on Alaska Eagle we always wanted to sail with Rich and Sheri. They were the main skippers on Eagle and we really liked them. Earlier this year we heard they were retiring. A little part of our dream died when we heard. I guess we were kind of kidding ourselves anyway because an Alaska Eagle trip was not cheap! And to be honest, I wasn't sure if I could stand being trapped on a boat with T (as I am sure the feeling was mutual). So imagine my surprise when he comes home one day and tells me he ran into Sheri and she asked if we wanted to help sail Eagle back from Mexico.

What? Really?
Wait... are you sure we want to be trapped on a boat for two weeks with each other....

I admit, I said no at first. I haven't sailed in over ten years, I was worried about the money, I was making excuses because honestly I was a little scared. T kept bringing it up and pointed out this would be our last chance to sail with Rich and Sheri. He finally asked what my problem was and I told him I was worried about not sailing in so long. He talked to Sheri and it came down to this. They were just looking for fun people to be on the boat. If we could hold the wheel and steer the boat, we were wanted. We only had to show up at the dock in Mexico and spend the next two weeks sailing back.

How many times does opportunity need to knock on this one? I finally faced my fear and committed to Alaska Eagle. I always would have regretted not going.

We leave June 4th. Wish me luck!

3 comments:

  1. What an awesome boat! It sounds like a blast! Good luck - what an amazing adventure you will have!

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  2. Good luck!! That sounds like soo much fun!

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  3. This boat is the former "Flyer", designed by Sparkman & Stephens, and built by Royal Huisman Shipyard in The Netherlands. Dutchman Cornelius van Rietschoten won the Whitbread Round the World Race (now Volvo Ocean Race) with this ship in 1977/78. In 1981/82 he won the race for the second time with a new and bigger "Flyer", designed by German Frers and also constructed at the same yard.

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