Captain of Your Own Vessel

The wind in your sails and water moving under the keel. What better feeling of freedom can there be?

For Fawkes it’s been so long since we’ve moved the boat strictly by wind. You see we’ve spent the last three months moving the boat east. There’s a reason they’re called the Trade Winds.

Once upon a time the pirates plied the Caribbean waters looking for treasure. Some were sanctioned by governments or more commonly called Privateers and given a letter of marque which meant they weren’t hung on the spot when captured. They were all looking for the same thing. The Trade routes moved rum, slaves and manufactured goods. They moved with the wind, not against it. There’s a pattern and it blows consistently in a circle. Between the wind and the flow of oceans, the sailing ships moved from Britain, France and Spain down to Africa, across to the Caribbean and north to the United States.

This path wasn’t without it’s challenges, but minimized the dangers greatly.

So why is it we took what’s commonly called the Thorny Path to get to our version of paradise?

Mostly because we weren’t going to Europe first. We chose to minimize our time at sea. It meant changing our rhumb line from an 8 day sail south to a three month journey. It meant we waited for favorable weather and motored east, against the trade winds.

We’re almost to the north end of the Leeward Islands and can use the sails. I can’t wait to feel the wind aloft and the seas below, taste the freedom of sailing once again.

How often do you choose a path contrary to the norm? How has it worked for you? Is it better to take the path well traveled?

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About Nancy J Nicholson

Nancy J. Nicholson is a wife, mother, writer, and full-time sailor, writing of her adventures and creating contemporary mysteries along the shores of the eastern United States and Caribbean. She fills her time with new friends, exploration, food, knitting and reading.
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15 Responses to Captain of Your Own Vessel

  1. I have to say if your gut tells you to take the path less traveled and your common sense sees no dangers then go for it, you can change course as you go. So many good things have happened to me when I’ve taken the other path. One of the best things that ever happened to my writing was NOT going to New York with my buddies for a conference last year and deciding instead to be the oddball and going it alone at a week long seminar with Donald Maass in Louisville Kentucky. My common sense told me it was the right thing to do at this point in my career and my gut told me it was right but it was scary and hard. It turned out better than I ever could have imagined in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I think it’s interesting that you and your husband make these types of decisions often, it has to be exhilerating.

    • Kate, I think you hit the nail on the head. It’s what your gut tells you that’s important, despite what others are doing. Which of course makes your decision scary. I’m glad your choice to go to Kentucky was a good one. In my opinion, I most likely would have made that choice as well.

  2. Forgot to say I’m so glad to know where you are right now. I can picture you on each big sailboat I see.

  3. The road less traveled is often the path of writers … whether we like it or not. It’s fascinating to hear your bits of maritime history and gain a somewhat greater understanding of the journey you are taking. Thanks for bringing us along with you.

  4. Beautiful post Nancy. I love reading your posts because like Patricia’s, I feel swept away in your adventure. So relaxing and stunning.
    I think traveling the road less frequented is always the way to go. One must always trusts one’s instincts and follow the heart to find happyness and peace. I have found dancing to my beat to the most liberating experience. :)

  5. How cool! I never knew why they were called Trade Winds. I also didn’t know if you go against the wind it takes that much longer. Kind of cool, but could be frustrating as well. It’s so much fun to learn sailing from you. Be safe and happy winds!

    • Tameri, I’m glad I could help explain some information we all take for granted. The fact this trip takes longer has it’s ups and downs, but we did get to explore new places while we waited for the weather to settle down. So that’s a definite plus.

  6. Debi says:

    Hey Nancy,
    I really enjoy hearing about your travels. I’m glad that things are going well.
    I’m not sure about the path contrary to the norm, I guess I can relate in that the path to becoming a teacher was against expectations for me, but I can’t imagine being anything else.

    • Debi, We can’t all take the path less traveled, but as you discovered sometimes it’s the thing to do. But, not necessarily all the time. I’m glad you’re aboard Fawkes, we enjoy the company.

  7. Carol Roe says:

    Being something of a chicken I usually take thewell established path! Not to say that it is always the better way to go. The path less traveled can offer so much more – adventure and new discoveries! Hugs…

  8. Dannie Hill says:

    It seems I’m always rooting for the underdog or seeing what’s in the other room.
    I envy you when you raise the sails and cut the engine but your line of travel was for you and not for time– Great post, NAncy

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