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The Cruising Spirit

Ready to get back out on the water? In a roundabout way, the lessons of 2020 prepared us for the uncharted waters of 2021.
Helm-North-Pacific

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Say what you will about 2020. All things considered, for some, it turned out to be a decent year of cruising. For me, I think back to a year ago. That’s when I, like many of you, was scouring the slips at TrawlerFest, inspecting the array of timeless trawlers on display over a warm March weekend in Stuart, Florida. The spirited chatter along the dock was as familiar as the rhythmic cadence of halyards slapping against the masts of neighboring sailboats as we readied ourselves for another satisfying summer of cruising.

Instead, our summer here at the magazine quickly went from boat tests and rendezvous to scrambling for new plans to get us out of the house and back out on the water, doing the only thing we really knew made sense in the pandemic: messing about on boats. Somewhere in the middle of all of that, we found the cruising spirit to be alive and well, and we sought to showcase the best of that spirit here at Passagemaker. We chose to celebrate the mariners still out there living the dream, affording a glimpse of the great life afloat even to those who could only experience it vicariously.

Those mariners include a few you’ve met in recent issues. There’s the Schulte family, once-landlocked Midwesterners who sold the house to go cruising for a few years and were suddenly consigned to spend the summer gunkholing in the Caribbean aboard their Grand Banks 42 Classic Bumfuzzle. And mariners like Felicia Schneiderhan, who, in the sea of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, sought solitude with her family in Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands aboard their 38-foot Marine Trader Mazurka.

The Schulte family in the Caribbean aboard their Grand Banks 42 Classic "Bumfuzzle"

The Schulte family in the Caribbean aboard their Grand Banks 42 Classic "Bumfuzzle"

The Schneiderhan family in the Apostle Islands last summer with their 38-foot Marine Trader "Mazurka"

The Schneiderhan family in the Apostle Islands last summer with their 38-foot Marine Trader "Mazurka"

We were excited to share those stories and more, and we’re thrilled that there is still plenty of storytelling to be done before we finally close the logbook on the pandemic era (and then hurl that damn thing into the ocean).

For starters, I look to the crews of some of the 106 documented boats that passed their wakes, completing the Great Loop and earning the coveted Gold Burgee as part of the America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association verified fleet of 2020. Each of these mariners, representing a variety of cruising styles and boats, recognized the challenges facing our cruising community during the past year. But instead of packing it in and accepting a sentence of 12 to 18 months of social confinement, they each did what they always have done when the walls (be they the workaday routine or general anxiety) begin to close in. They tossed their lines and headed out to sea, albeit this time, by also masking up.

That spirit of perseverance is not only worth celebrating, but also should be inspiring to each and every one of us as we traipse tenderly through the uncharted waters of 2021. I applaud that spirit, and I encourage you to get out there and embrace it, too.

AP shot
andrewsigfinal

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