Voyaging with Velella: Departure Day

By: American Sailing Association, Equipment, Sailboats, Social Media

Continuing the “Voyaging with Velella” series by ASA writer-at-large Meghan Cleary. Meghan, Prescott and their kitten Nessie are on a planned 9-month cruise in the tropics.

Yesterday, I chiseled off the last of dozens of teak plugs that I replaced on Velella’s decks. I spent days sanding, routing out old caulking, and smoothing in new shiny black lines. Months, actually. The plugs were the last in a long line of deck-related projects, and now she’s snug and dry and ready for sea.

We’re moored right next to the seawall in Marina del Rey’s D Basin, so we often have passers-by calling over the fence into our cockpit. I looked up from sanding when a guy said “So, when’r you leavin?” I said “Saturday, maybe Sunday.” And he smiled wide and said “Congratulations.”

People usually say “good luck” or “have fun” or “fair winds” when they hear about our plans. But this gentleman clearly had done this before, because instead he was congratulating me on how far we had already come.

I get close to tears when I realize it’s finally, finally here. (Who am I kidding? I bawl my eyes out.) This day came so suddenly and quietly after months and years of work–the list just evaporated and all that’s left is to turn in our keys. Our good friends Anna and Brad flew down from Seattle and drove away with our car, and just like that, we were back in cruising mode. On foot, slowed down, forced to deal with the moment rather than the future.

Since I had been going 60 miles an hour since I woke up yesterday (this whole month really), I was jittery when we went to bed. In order to help me fall asleep, I asked Prescott to tell me a story, because he’s really good at that. He asked if a story about the Gold Rush would be okay. I looked at him warily. He began: “Once upon a time, there was a prospector looking for gold. But he wasn’t rushing.”
I asked him to stop the story right there, because that was perfect. As I fell asleep, I congratulated us on arriving to a place where we are no longer rushing, and no longer looking forward to what’s next.