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An Update on Cruising Plans: 2017’s Sailing Goals & Projects

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Best guesses on what’ll happen next for my continuing sailing trip

I published a Facebook post recently about last year’s trip to Dominica’s Indian River.  Was that really last year?  No way.

But yeah, it just over one year ago.  It sure as hell feels like it was much longer since I left the Caribbean; so much has happened!  Let’s take a look at what went down in the last 14 months since that trip:

  • Nearly died from a surprise blood clot that left me with one less rib and made me doubt I’d ever sail again
  • Sold my condominium in north Lake Tahoe and moved to south Lake Tahoe
  • Started flying again for the helicopter company I used to work for, which I left in 2015 due to some disagreements with management (like not getting paid)
  • Left the same helicopter company after one year, again due to disagreements with management (like not getting paid)
  • Survived the craziest winter in terms of snowfall I’ve been through since the 1990s
  • Another trip to my favorite Hawaiian island, Kaua’i
  • Joined two search & rescue teams, which has taken me on some pretty amazing adventures and led to some unique qualifications
  • A number of road trips to the California coast & through Utah’s national parks

So what’s next?

First a message to those who contributed to my Kickstarter five years ago…

I haven’t forgotten about you!  Life has thrown me quite a few curveballs since then but I refuse to quit.  I will get Saoirse back to the Pacific one way or another, and at that time I’ll consider the first part of this journey complete.  So let’s take a look at how we’ll get there.

Projects for the sailboat

Cruising shopping lists seem to have less food and more parts

I made some good progress on my last trip – installed a watermaker, new chartplotter, replaced my depth sounder transducer, new solar charge controller & solar panel with new batteries, an electronic waste pump, and a new inverter.  Little things that as a sum improve daily life quite a bit!

I don’t have quite as much planned for this time, but they’ll definitely continue to improve life aboard:

  • Install a permanent wind generator on the stern and replace the giant clumsy solar panel with smaller ones
  • Install a WiFi antenna at the top of the mast
  • Have a new jib made – a lighter, slightly larger one to replace the heavy one that tore
  • Find a solution for a new tender – to replace the dinghy I lost in a storm in Dominica which probably wound up drifting to Cuba

Short term cruising plans

sailing dominica

Sailing towards Portsmouth, Dominica

Dominica rainbow

Morning in Portsmouth

I should be able to get back in the water quickly, as soon as I get back to where Saoirse is in storage in St. Kitts.

I’ll be heading straight to Dominica after leaving St. Kitts.  I made a quick stop through the island on my last trip as a scouting mission and it confirmed my suspicion that this is an island I need to spend some more time on!  Quiet, lush, beautiful, friendly…I could go on.  I don’t know how long I’ll stay but I’d like to explore every trail, beach, underwater preserve, and park, to include Morne Trois Pitons UNESCO World Heritage Site.

emerald pools

Emerald Pools in Morne Trois Pitons National Park

Depending on the timing, I may or may not hit up Guadeloupe for a couple weeks.

Some time around the new year I’ll be leaving Saoirse in storage while I shred the winter slopes in Tahoe.  I’ll either be leaving Saoirse in St. Kitts where I’ve been storing her for the past few years, or venture out to St. Croix or Puerto Rico.  That decision is still up in the air.

Upcoming destinations

Long term sailing goals

Get Saoirse back to the Pacific, of course!  My two options for doing this:

  • Via the Panama Canal.  I need to get my engine in better shape if I’m going to attempt this.
  • Ship overland through Panama.  This’ll be more of a logistics nightmare and I already know I’d have some serious trust issues with the driver.

Upon reaching the Pacific (yay!) my next big cruising stop will be the Sea of Cortez – 2,000 miles from Panama.  I’ve read Steinbeck’s memoirs, and although much of it is different now, much of it is still the same.  I’m really looking forward to exploring this remote area.

sailboat orion

Home at sea

From there…who knows?  Suggestions?

“The lovely thing about cruising is that planning usually turns out to be of little use.” – Dom Degnon