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Two years grinding, sanding, cursing, doubting, repeating…. And then she sailed.

S.V. Raggamuffin | First Sail

It’s a big deal to have spent 2 years in the hot, in the cold, on the hard, covered in paint, covered in fiberglass dust… and then, just like that we were flying across the water with sails up.

I made myself a personal challenge this past year: Get the boat in the water and get her sailing before the year is done. I had some loftier goals in between, but I got real and said that sailing her is my line in the sand. She doesn’t need to be perfect. Just get some cloth up before the new year.

And while getting her sails up was a HUGE step, it's certainly not the end. Her interior is a work zone. The head is gutted, the galley needs a complete makeover, the salon is getting redone, and I plan to tackle all of that this winter/spring.

Achieving the first sail on my boat (Raggamuffin) after so much hard work was very emotional for me. The past 3 years have been rough personally but this boat has been my therapy. I have questioned myself and my abilities more than a few times but I've stuck with it. And just like that I was out there, sails up and moving across the bay. I am very proud of myself. It has not been easy.

The path of her refit has been very similar to my own personal refit path. Constant metaphors for her condition as it relates to mine. I’m still finding my way towards strength, confidence, and happiness but now I am making a push to forge some inner progress. To stand up taller and believe in me as much as I believe in her.

Mike D at the Helm

To be blunt, fighting depression is a mother fu%@r but this boat has been my place to retreat, to work with my hands, and to be creative. It has given me an outlet to slow down, to relax, and to feel fullfilled.

So after two years of hard work, I pulled her out of the slip with my brother, and we took her out into the waters of the Chesapeake. She wasn't perfect. I had to jury rig a few things, but she was ready enough. We hoisted the sails, turned off the engine... and all I heard was silence.

She was heading downwind like a gliding bird. Even in light winds she took off. It took a minute for me to let it sink in. I was waiting for something to go wrong, but it didn't. She just sailed. She was perfect.

When I brought her back around into the wind to head back towards the marina, she loved it. I brought her way up into the "no-fly" zone and she just stayed on the wind. She is a serious sailing boat and I can see that she will really fly.

And while she is a serious boat, she is also a becoming a serious friend. We are becoming symbiotic just as I'd hoped we would. I know it's the old dreadlocked rasta hippy-kid in me coming out, but she has a soul and I am connecting with it.

I could have bought a boat in a better condition, a boat that needed less from me, but that would have been a shame. So much of me is becoming part of this boat, and so much of her is becoming part of me.

And now I'm looking forward to my journey very much. That is a different headspace, and it feels good.


Mike D. is the founder of Sail Junky Magazine. Striving to find more purpose in life, Mike writes and shares about his journey to rediscover his passion for living a fulfilled life, especially through the medium of sailing.

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