Saturday, April 6, 2013

J/42 Cruising on JAYWALKER Offshore

(Grand Rapids, MI)- Cruising with Bill and Judy Stellin is always an adventure. "Don't expect scary sea stories from this dauntless sailing couple," says Bill Schanen, Editor and columnist at SAILING Magazine.  "I nominate Bill and Judy for the 2013 SAILING Magazine Best Effort to Promote Sailing as a Wonderful Way of Life Award. Too bad no such award exists. If it did, I’d FedEx the trophy to their home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in a heartbeat.

Bill and Judy, at ages 65 and 64, retired to their J/42 sailboat JAYWALKER in 2000 and sailed into virtually every nook and cranny of the Mediterranean Sea during an eight-year cruise book-ended by trans-Atlantic passages. But that’s not why they should get the award.

They deserve it for being exemplars of the well-led sailing life free of the often exaggerated drama and inflated challenges that deter many from long-distance cruising under sail. And they deserve it for the article Bill wrote for the Wall Street Journal last December that carried their example far beyond the small world of sailing.

In the newspaper story, Bill tells of an odyssey in which the sailboat that was their home and means of travel gave the couple not only the pleasures of sailing on new waters but entree to a potpourri of some of the world’s most historically and culturally significant places and the people who inhabit them, all with little fuss.

There was a small setback at the start of the adventure, when Judy broke her wrist in an encounter with the mainsheet in boisterous weather on the first leg from Newport, Rhode Island, to Bermuda. But after that their story is one of smooth sailing, even when the sea wasn’t smooth, a tale so cheerful Bill even manages to put a positive spin on a root canal. Done in Italy, the procedure cost one-tenth of the going rate in the U.S. and “the work was first class.”

But, seriously, isn’t it a demanding challenge for a couple of Social Security recipients to sail thousands of miles in a big-rigged, high-performance sloop through the far reaches of ocean and seas and into ports bristling with navigational and even political hazards?"   Read on here in SAILING Magazine's website.