We are very excited this week to have a guest article on the blog. Sue Williams is a woman sailor and author and has written her memoirs, Ready to Come About, about a North Atlantic circumnavigation on a 37′ yacht with her husband David. Here she describes the events that led up to the trip and some of the mishaps they had along the way.
What’s Love Got To Do With It by Sue Williams
In my case, it’s everything!
Twelve years ago, while in our early 50s, my husband, David, and I circumnavigated the North Atlantic in a 37-foot sailboat, starting out May 2007, crossing our wake on our return to Canada, May 2008. A journey of 11,000 nautical miles, 14 different ocean passages, two transatlantic crossings, 86 days at sea, all within the space of a year.
Ocean sailing was David’s dream, not mine. The plan had been that he’d do a crossing in retirement for which he’d find crew. And I’d fly to the other side, and sit on some distant shoreline, perhaps sipping something cool, while waiting to catch his dock lines.
But Christmas Eve 2005, while doing last-minute shopping at our local mall, David had a medical incident that ultimately would change our lives, profoundly and
When he recovered, I said, “Dear, you need to go now.” And I followed with, “And I’ll go too.”
Right then, my motivation was love; but not of the sea, or of adventure, or of sailing, for that matter. Truth be told, before our trip, I didn’t even really like boating! It was out of love of him. Also of our three young-adult sons. Suddenly I had become convinced they needed freedom to chart their own courses and, out of love, I had to ‘let go’.
The following May, David and I, without any night sailing or blue water experience, cast off the dock lines in the western-most point of Lake Ontario and headed east; destination the North Atlantic Ocean.
We didn’t expect the trip to be easy, but what we experienced was far beyond what we had bargained for. During our year on the high seas, we encountered just about every type of problem imaginable. There were the human challenges; seasickness, sleep deprivation, dehydration, and exhaustion. There were the weather challenges; storms, calms, a Nortada, the Harmattan. And then there were the mid-ocean mechanical challenges; a forestay breaking off in high winds due to metal fatigue, a rogue fishing net fouling our prop, our exploding holding tank (a long story!), to name just a few. But, it wasn’t all bad, far from it. In addition to problems, so too did we experience star-filled nights, dolphin and whale-filled days, the beauty of solitude, the joy of quiet, the luxury of time, the awesomeness of space, the sheer romance of a shared adventure.
In short, it was a journey marked by the lowest of lows and the highest of highs through which I grew and we grew together. And, I fell helplessly in love with sailing and the sea somewhere along the way.
On our return, I wrote a memoir, Ready to Come About, about my improbable experience on the high seas. Here’s what some folks are saying about my book:
“It is a fun read, a thoughtful read, and somewhat of a study on the human spirit. I would totally recommend this book to anybody who wants to, at the end of the book, close it and go, ‘ahhh, that was soooooooo good’.” Sharon – Goodreads review
“An entertaining, deceptively profound memoir. I love Sue’s book, a startling, swashbuckling sea adventure, and all the hilarious and terrifying details of that, combined with the very personal story of
lost connections and deep love. It is a remarkable story — heroic and inspiring.”
Miriam Toews, New York Times best-selling author of Women Talking
“A thrilling adventure, a profound love story, and a testament of self-discovery that will
make you cheer. It is not only an empowering memoir but also a very fine book.”
Barbara Kyle, author of The Traitor’s Daughter
“A great page-turner and a MUST read for any woman who thinks that she couldn’t
possibly go cruising, cross an ocean, or who needs to get out of her comfort zone to
grow and have an adventure— possibly learning more about herself. This isn’t to say
that men won’t find the book interesting and enjoyable, as they certainly will!”
Katherine Stone, Canadian Yachting Magazine
It is available online through Amazon and other e-book sellers worldwide.
Lovesail is not connected or affiliated to Sue Williams, we do not benefit in any way from any sales of the book mentioned in this text. We just thought her story was so good we had to share it.
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