Monday, December 14, 2009
Catherine's Sailing Dream Comes True! - It all starts in French Martinique
"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."
Catherine has sailing and the sea in her blood. She comes from a long line of seafaring family with heritage on Nantucket Island. Now living in New Mexico, Catherine is a writer, photographer, artist and sailor. Each summer in the month of August she makes her way back to Nantucket to visit family and sail her Beetle Cat. Catherine has sailed with me in the British Virgin Islands and Belize and since then sailed with friends in Greece, Corsica and the Caribbean, Martinique to the Grenadines.
Since those sailing experiences, Catherine has held the dream of chartering and skippering her own boat. Moving at her own pace, inviting her friends to share the experience in a calm, fun, and relaxing way.
Catherine actualized her dream and is now sailing from French Martinique to Tobago Cays and possibly beyond. Congratulations Catherine! How did she do it?
Taking that step was not very comfortable so she decided to hire me privately for 8 days for a personalized women sail training intensive. It has been a steep learning, yet worth all of the effort, time money and energy to make it all happen. Getting to know the charter boat inside out, working out the details of passage making, weather forecasting and all that it takes for Catherine to take on the responsibility for the safety of the boat and the crew and ultimately BE the Skipper!
I had just sailed in Belize and timing worked out that I could detour my travel plans to head over to French Martinique. All I knew was that I would find the boat somewhere on the leeward side of the island. I arrived late at night and trusting all would be well...there was a driver with my name. He took me to a small village with a dock. There was no one there and Catherine's cell phone was not working. It was so quiet and still and of course my French is much to be desired. I asked the driver if there was another village and was insistent that he take me there. Sure enough, Catherine came out of the dark. First stop Anse d' Arlet. It was now close to midnight and there was a tiny dinghy at the end of the wharf. The evening was clear, moon was full and Catherine rowed me to her floating home.
The calmness left us for rolling seas and many rain and wind squalls. The first thing I did was let out more rode to ride out some of the swell and high winds. The rainbows and sky were beautiful.
Catherine's friend made the arrangements for the boat, a 361 Sun Odyssey mono hull and even helped her bring it to the anchorage....here she was waiting for me. She was excited and yet scared to say the least. Catherine has taken lots of formal training, many passages and years of sailing experience. She just needed confidence and learning in a way that best suited her communication style. Most importantly, a ,calm, easy, collected and step by step process.
Catherine had grand plans of us sailing up to Dominica....but the next day I realized that there was so much more to accomplish before we could head off on any passage making. We spent the next few days, going through the boat, all of the systems. One of the challenges she had was running the dinghy motor. She loves it to be quiet, calm, fume less so she rows. Well, when the wind is up and you need to get to the beach having a motor and knowing how to start it and use it really does come in handy not to mention a safety feature. I felt that she needed to be able to captain that small boat before heading off in the big one. Thus we spent the morning getting her up to speed on working the motor, running it around. By the end of our time together Catherine was happy to have that little boat and motor and got really good at using it both day and night. It all seems so simple to think about running the dinghy, yet another thing if it is not something you are use to. She is a pro now!
Every part of that boat, every system was covered, chart work, passage planning weather. It was a steep learning curve learning about the chart plotter which is not something Catherine had every used before. Plotting the courses on the charts for the passage making. Interpreting the weather. We found some great weather sites on the Internet. Everything is in French and if one does not speak the language it is not easy to gain the information.
We ventured off to sail the areas around the French Martinique. Each day a new adventure, testing the boat, changing sail combinations, trimming the sails for optimal performance for the wind conditions, reefing, anchoring techniques, hand signals and much more. We enjoyed evenings out in the quaint villages...yet as soon as we got back to the boat we were back at study time again late into the evening. Then the nights were squally with rain and gusts....so the night anchor watch was on.
Catherine got a quick insight to the responsibility of being the skipper on the boat. So many things to consider with the boat, how it works, safety, provision, where to get water, fuel and pick up crew from different airports, clearing customs. So much fun yet challenging too.
We found a beautiful hammock and Catherine learned the rolling hitch and how it can be so useful at times. Now she can enjoy the view from the bow of the boat while at anchor.
The evening sunsets were fantastic and a swim in the warm Caribbean ocean was a blessing to clear our minds and body.
We started our mornings off with Qigong and light Yoga, building core strength, stability and proper breathing techniques. As Catherine says 'when in the territory of the French, take advantage of their wine, breads and culinary delights. And we did!
After an intensive 8 days I left Catherine at Le Marin. The charter boat base. We took it in with a list of requests to fix on the boat, charge up, fuel up, pick up her new crew member Edie, customs clearance and then she was on her way to sail to St Lucia and beyond.
I am now back at my home in Baja and this morning I received an email from Catherine.
"Bonjour de les Pitons, we made it...two fabulous sails. Thank you for your guidance...hope you had a good return. We are on our way! Con Amor,
Catherine, Skipper of SV Melite, and first mate Edie"
Every day in every way I feel blessed to be in service. To know that I have skills and gifts to share with women that have a desire to go beyond their wildest of dreams. Thank you to all that have faith in me to offer them guidance along their journey. Cherish the journey, know that all is possible. Keep the dream and the vibe alive.
With radiating light Valma
Offering peronsalized sail training for women around the world.
Posted by Valma Brenton, HERIZEN™ Life Adventures
- Valma Brenton, HERIZEN™ Life Adventures
- I have created this amazing life, attracting incredible women into my space. All of these women are unique and ready to live their real life too. My definition of success is like a river flowing with freedom, magical adventure, creativity, curiosity and recognition. My personal mission is to travel and create an enlightened world by spreading the light of consciousness. Everything that I choose to BE, DO and HAVE meet this mission and every day in every way I remember who I really am. I love my life! www.herizenlifeadventures.com