Indeed it does. But before we get into that, a disclaimer:
WARNING: For any guys reading this – this is Melody – or as this blog’s archives call me, “the girl”. I will not be discussing anything about wind speed, wave height, current, tools, boat performance, or any of the other juicy sailing details that you’ll find throughout the rest of this blog. In fact, there probably won’t even be anything at all about actual sailing.
What? But this is a sailing blog, right? Yes, it is. But Chris opened this can of worms when he signed me on to write the next blog post. So if you care nothing about the number of pairs of shoes I have on the boat, you can stop reading now. (By the way, it’s 15).
Ok, ok. Back to the issue of size.
But first let me back up just a little bit and tell you that 6 years ago, I had never set foot on a sailboat. When Chris and I met, he had literally just finished restoring his first sailboat, STOW, the San Juan 24. She had a cute little dinette area, a v-birth, sink, and a few cubbies and cabinets. She was the perfect little weekend boat, and she sailed like a dream. (So there is some actual talk of sailing in here – happy?) She was so tender and she moved in such light air that we used to joke that someone could fart in our direction from the dock, and she would move. (Sorry honey…not very ladylike to talk about such things, but that’s what you get for giving me your blog password!)
Anyway, it was all I had ever known as far as sailboats go, and I loved her. Chris eventually decided to move to something bigger, and while it was bittersweet to get rid of STOW, he needed something that would take him further than she likely could.
Fast forward to his trip to New Jersey to look at a couple of boats, when he laid eyes on what would then become his next boat, the famed Tartan 27. You can read about his ‘love at first sight’ experience here, where he likens seeing it for the first time to “receiving a hug and a kiss from Brooklyn Decker”. Who?
Guys, if you’re still with me…you’re welcome. Girls, here’s a picture of her picking her nose. (you’re welcome)
So anyway, he gets the Tartan, and keep in mind, I haven’t seen it yet. A week or two later, we fly to Jersey so I can see it and I. Fell. In. Love.
Oh my goodness, she had a bathroom! And a fridge! And hot water! I was over the moon about this boat, and Chris was happy that I liked her so much and we brought her home.
Before the infamous ‘refit’ of the Tartan, we literally spent every weekend on her. She was our little lake-house, and she was so good to us. The only thing that I had trouble with was her lack of storage. Don’t get me wrong. She had plenty of room, but when we stayed the weekend, I had my usual tendency to over-pack clothes, shoes, laptops, books, etc., and Chris had his usual tendency to bring every tool known to man out to the boat. I like everything neatly stowed away, so space could sometimes be limited. Chris calls me the secret squirrel because he can never find anything after I’ve cleaned.
I think he mentioned previously that it took awhile to get me to agree to this whole “let’s sell everything and move onto a sailboat” plan, and when I was finally honest with myself and him about the reason for my apprehension, I admitted that I didn’t want to get rid of my stuff. As soon as I said it out loud, I realized how silly it seemed – to forgo traveling the coast on a boat with my love and our dog just so I could hang onto an elephant figurine I got at Target for $9.99 on an impulse buy one time? Let’s just say it didn’t take long after that for me to get on board, so to speak. However, we knew we would need a bigger boat than Moose, our Tartan. When Chris asked me for my input on what we should get, my reply was basically “I don’t care AS LONG AS THE BOAT HAS PLENTY OF STORAGE. And a shower.”
Can you believe that was probably my only input as to what I wanted in a boat? And the storage was actually higher up on priorities than the shower if you want me to be perfectly honest. I mean, we could always jump in the water with a bar of soap, right? And I knew Chris would never get an ugly boat, a slow boat that ‘sails like a dinnerplate’, nor would he get an unsafe one. I trusted him on all of the performance and safety issues. He trusted me on the storage issues. Okay, okay…trust may not be the right word. He appeased me by letting me make the final call on storage issues. In the end, we found Sonrisa, the perfect boat for us, one which neither of us felt we were compromising, so it all worked out…. or did it?
Which brings us back to the size issue again. Although the Cal 35 was much bigger than our T-27, that was a weekend boat, and this was a live-on boat. I had gotten rid of almost everything I owned, including over 150 pieces of clothing and no telling how many shoes. I sold nearly my entire wardrobe to a traveling nurse in Ohio (she better be taking care of my Stuart Weitzmans), but I still had quite a few items in my boat wardrobe and when it came to packing up and moving what little we had left onto Sonrisa, I worried there wouldn’t be enough storage.
Perhaps I should mention the reason for my concerns at that point: my closet on the boat is only 24 inches wide. (pause for dramatic effect). Yes, I went from having 3 walk-in closets at one time in my life (one whole closet just for my shoes) to a 24 inch wide cabinet, but you know what? It all fits perfectly. Shirts, dresses, jackets, sweaters, scarves, handbags, jewelry, and yes, 15 pairs of shoes.
So next time the question “does size matter?” comes up, just tell everyone that according to your friend Melody, 24 inches is just right.
And on a more serious note, to answer one last question that Chris touches on in the last post that everyone keeps asking. “How’s Mel?”, “What’s she think of all this?”
Well, let’s see…since Memorial Day I’ve gotten to cross the 9th largest body of water in the world on a boat that would fit in some of your living rooms. I’ve been inches away from huge pods of dolphins as they played in our bow wake. I’ve experienced true fear during the storms we encountered which gave me an even deeper respect for nature and a better sense of our own mortality. I’ve seen a rainbow stretch across the water, and at the end wasn’t a pot of gold, but a deep blue sea, and every bit as valuable, so let’s work hard to save it, okay? I’ve spent a whole month in one of the “15 happiest coastal towns in America”. And most importantly, I’ve spent it with the two loves of my life, Chris and Jet.
I guess to sum it up, all I have to say is that I honestly can’t remember when I’ve ever been happier or felt more free. And I am utterly ecstatic.
Wendy Jo O'Barr says
Love it! You guys are really making me want to sell everything and buy a boat! And I especially love the pic of Decker picking her nose. Nice!
Tha ks Melody for your input. I love reading about your adventures. Please keep em comming. You and Chris can do a book of short stories. Smiles
Amanda Hohenbery says
Love this, Mel!
Thanks, Amanda! We need to get you out on the boat for a Werdyab – Vacilando “Dance-Walk-Off”! I’ll start practicing now…
I love what you have written! My man and I are strongly considering the sailing lifestyle, and I so appreciate a woman’s view. I have so many questions I’d love to ask you- would you mind chatting with me a bit more about sailing and your journey?
Thank you, Jess! I’d be more than happy to chat with you on the nitty, gritty details! :) You can email me at melodyleigh (at) gmail (dot) com.
Thank you so much- You are a gem! I’ll email you soon.
Curious Sailor says
Lol.. Very cool… Am I the only male to comment on this post?
I think you just might be! Thanks for reading (and commenting). :)
Hey I loved the post too – great writing Mel, and thanks for the photo…s. :-)
Ha – thank you!
Debbie Cherkas says
Love the story. We purchased a Pearson 323 and love it. Still work but looking forward we can do the long trips.
Keep the blog coming.