The Independence Experiment

Sailing a Lagoon 380 catamaran in Key Largo
Sailing in Key Largo, 2015
11 years and 7 months ago we walked past crowds of Bush and Kerry supporters to get married at the courthouse. The Justice of the Peace married us and said “Congratulations and good luck” in much the same tone as “See you back here in a week for the divorce”. Many might say that it’s not the best idea to get married at 21, and I would agree with them. However, finding a partner in life all those years ago has been my favorite mistake.

Fast forward to the present: we have pretty fabulous jobs, and work with somewhat OK-ish people. Ha, just kidding, our coworkers have been the best! We live in one of the most sought out regions on the planet. It seems a little silly to give it all up and sail off into the sunset. When will we ever be lucky enough to have such great jobs again? Maybe not. When will we ever be so lucky to live our lives again? We work to live, not live to work!

A few years ago, Matt found a blog of a couple who quit their jobs, got married, and sailed to Australia on a Lagoon 380. That looked amazing! We'd been planning to do the Great Loop by trawler one day, but sailing to Australia? That seemed fantastic! We immediately decided to plan our own sailing voyage in 10 years. A few days later, I fiddled some numbers and concluded I could make a trip happen in 3 years if we sold our house right away and moved into a small apartment to save money. I didn't actually expect Matt would agree to this plan, but he did. We had surprised each other and then moved forward as if it would just all work out. We printed out pictures of dream boats and put them on our refrigerator. We sold the house and got rid of a lot of c.r.a.p. during the move to a small loft apartment. We stalked yachtworld.com and read sailing blogs. We saved money. We took sailing lessons to refresh our skills (we'd been power boaters for 11 and 20 years, but it had been 10 years since we owned a sailboat).

We started looking into insurance and financing, and then Independence popped up. We weren't planning on buying for another 6-12 months, but here was a Lagoon 380 owners version just down the street from us, and our broker needed to finance a safari. What’s a humanitarian to do?

We moved the boat to a marina in North Palm Beach and moved aboard in April 2015. Commuting 90 miles a day through some of the worst traffic in the nation hasn't been fun, but walking down the docks each day to Independence has been worth it. We've also had a year to get some projects, upgrades and fixes done (and make money to pay for all that!)

Planning and executing this plan hasn't been particularly hard. Sure, Matt's done some sweating and cursing over plumbing, which put his margarita serving schedule behind. It was rough, but I got through it somehow. We’ve just put our best foot forward and things have fallen into place in ways we couldn't have anticipated on the first step.

Now all that's left is to sail into the sunset! So, what's our plan? To go where the currents, wind and waves will take us! We're headed to Elliot Key in Biscayne Bay and Key Largo for a week or so of "vacation", then we'll head north. Possible stopping points include Savannah, GA, Charleston, SC, and Beaufort, NC. We'd love to check out New England and Nantucket, and Lucy would love to make it to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, but we'll just have to see how it all shakes out. We'll definitely end up in the Chesapeake towards the end of Hurricane Season to haul out and do bottom paint and whatever else has cropped up.

After that, we'll head south to Florida and then the Bahamas. We're not sure where 2017 will find us. But like getting married, we’re in this for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in boat project hell and dolphin jumping heaven, and we’re going to need all the luck the sarcastic JOP can give us. What larks!

Sailing a Lagoon 380 catamaran in Key Largo

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