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Finding and buying a suitable sailing vessel was an adventure, followed by years spent learning to care for and handle the boat. Learning to appreciate that boat, the sea, and fragile North Carolina coastline filled my spare moments.
In early 1993, my buddy Ramon (Ray) Atkins and I found, and Ray purchased Irish Mist, a tired but sturdy 1964 Pearson Vanguard 32-foot sailboat. For three wonderful years, our combined families restored and learned to sail our boat. I became the new owner of Irish Mist as Ray advanced to a Heritage West Indies 38-foot sailboat named Mariah.
In October, 1993, I began to write a weekly sailing adventure column in our local daily newspaper, The Daily Southerner in Tarboro, North Carolina. Chronicled in over 150 weekly columns, I related the increasingly adventurous forays into the nautical world as we become sailors.
Welcome aboard, as I present 37 of those original articles.
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About the Author
Circumnavigations of Sir Francis Charles Chichester and Joshua Slocum have always fascinated me. As a young adult, I followed the circumnavigation of 16-year-old Robin Lee Graham in his 22-foot sailing sloop. His book, Dove, tells the story of finding maturity and a seafaring wife. I restored and sailed a wooden 21-foot Lightning Class sailboat, owned small runabouts, leased crewed and bareboat sailing yachts, and restored and sailed a classic 32-foot Vanguard sailboat, Irish Mist. I have extensive experience sailing rivers and sounds of eastern N.C. However, an ocean sailing crossing had eluded me. After college, I became a Certified Public Accountant, practiced with a large national firm, and then ran my own CPA firm. I worked in a commercial construction firm, then owned and operated a construction company in which I built several McDonalds and other fast food restaurants. In the 1980s, I closed my construction company, obtained a Masters in Community College Education degree, and taught accounting, auditing, taxes, and computer subjects at a local community college. After 15 years of teaching, I took an early retirement and settled into a waterfront retirement community near Chocowinity, NC. After crossing the Atlantic (Trinidad Express), I sailed Irish Mist on a 13-month, singlehanded circumnavigation of the eastern US, a trip known as America's Great Loop.