From Zero to a Hundred
They weren’t sailors, but they had spirit, and they were ready for a big change. A new catamaran and a couple of continents later, they got all that and more.
Now the odyssey was transformed. “Our next life adventure,” as Laurie calls it on her blog, was taking shape. Details were thought through, debated, pinned down. In the next two years, the couple flew to Argentina four times, did deliveries with other owners aboard their Antares cats, and took more sailing lessons.
In October 2010, they quit their jobs, rented out their house, and acquired additional marine licenses. They flew to Buenos Aires, oversaw the stepping of the mast, and soaked up as much as they could from the yard workers. And they got out into the city, enjoying the street scenes and the nightlife, the restaurants and the wine. They grew to know the boatyard owner and managers and were invited into their homes and into their family lives. On the day Alberta Crewed was launched, the factory threw an assado, a big barbecue, and aromas of grilled loin, flank, ribs, and sausage filled the air.
They shoved off in December after participating in a session of Antares University, a custom program for current and future clients, where they continued to learn more about their boat and how to handle it, and met and networked with other owners. After a book-length list of final details and provisioning—which included no fewer than 45 bottles of Mendoza wine—they set out on their maiden voyage, with the goal of inviting relatives to meet them in the Caribbean, on the island of Trinidad.
Of course, it never goes as planned, but for newbies, Craig and Laurie did pretty darn well. Australian friends Greg and Wendy Rodda helped them sail the boat north to Brazil, which was great. From there, others joined the adventure from time to time. The Antares factory crew had sent them off with a network of contacts, routing, and weather advice. There were kinks: Laurie did get seasick, but she learned to manage it with Bonamine (meclozine). Neither of them spoke Spanish or Portuguese, which gave rise to communication woes. At times, the customs and immigration paperwork confounded them.
“I can see why people do run away from this,” says Craig. “We’re still learning.”
“I knew it was going to be hard,” says Laurie with a smile, adding that they were humbled by the generosity extended to them everywhere they made landfall along the South American coast. Most important, they pulled it off, arriving in Trinidad in June 2011, then leaving the boat buttoned up for hurricane season.
When they talk about their trip, they keep coming back to how they lingered off Brazil, especially at Ilha Grande, southwest of Rio de Janeiro. “We didn’t want to leave,” says Laurie. And they met their personal design brief: “We sought three criteria: heat, simplicity, and adventure,” she writes on her blog.