I have had this idea to go sailing and live-aboard for more than 2 decades. The funny thing is I still remember the day when this idea “came” to me. It was the summer of 1986 and I was on a holiday with my family. We stayed in the small town of Stari Grad on Hvar island, Croatia (back then it was still Yugoslavia). That summer was special for me! I met Andrea, the very first girl to hold hands with.
If you had ever been there you’d know how small the local marina really is. Every day we took a short walk along marina and had ice-cream. My uncle, who was also with us with his family, was a really special person. He and my dad spent hours back then playing chess and discussing various subjects related to sailing in general. Not to be mistaken, I grew up at river of Danube as my dad has always been a “Barnacle Bob” kind of person. One day my uncle who was never fond of ice-cream went ahead and waited for us while everyone had theirs favorite flavor. I was the first one to be served so I joined him at the dock. And then he said:”It would be nice to live on one of those sailboats? Don’t you think?” For me that was the greatest idea ever and in years to come I often went to sleep imagining myself living that dream.
Unfortunately many horrible things happen in my former homeland and so many plans were never accomplished. Chasing the same dream my dad went ahead couple of years later and build on his own 34-foot sailboat from the scratch. Bad Balkan karma never let him to take a trip across the Atlantic ocean as he planned. This boat never got its sails and finally sold to highest bid several years later. Being closely involved in this project even still as teenager my desire to go sailing one day was stronger and stronger.
Four years ago I met Natalie one night in Belgrade at the jazz festival. As we got so wasted that night in local club we made a plan to go sailing one day. There were many obstacles on our way and finally in November 2010 we went to Canary Islands, Spain as there was the start of world famous (ARC) Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. Our plan was to go there two weeks ahead and find ourselves a skipper willing to take us as a crew members. This plans soon proves to be a failure as I refused to brown-nose in order to get on? My point was simple. I have this dream almost as long as I live and now after all this years it will not be as I wanted to be? No way. My Balkan attitude goes really long way so we decided to take little bit harder and longer way but to do it right. Get a sailboat and start living a dream. We went to USA and I started seriously browsing web for a sailboat. After more than a year we finally got it. O’Day 32 was sitting in the local marina in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin waiting for us. After we went on a 10 hours trip from Cleveland, Ohio and picked up on the way my best friend who flew to Milwaukee in order to witness this important moment in my life. The sailboat was in great shape and we decided to get it. So here we are now in Quterdeck marina in Wisconsin dealing with antifoul paint, checking systems and making us and boat ready for the launch tomorrow and a route back to Cleveland as the first part of our voyage to Florida and beyond.
I believe it is important to have a dream in your life and it is also crucial to give your very best to accomplish it. There were so many people I spent my time with in the past decade or two who told me I am foolish for having in their words “unachievable dream”. Well, I have many dreams like the one to fly into the stars one day!
Some of you guys might be familiar to a local Serbian song-writer and performer who wrote ones:
“Life is a sea, the open black sea
where sink many that sail.
My heart is not a fearful fawn.
I am not afraid of the big water…”
I know my friend Vanja will not appreciate this particular author but these lyrics hold a poignant importance to me!