The Minimalist Sailor

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I’ve won the war!

Eleanor runs like a top. The engine runs cool and powerful. I was surprised to see the diameter of her propellor when I first met Her. She pushes through a 2 knot current with ease and seems to barely notice.

I can feel in my bones that Eleanor is happy to be upon the water once again!

I’ve decided to delay my trip south until the spring. Winter has come early this year. I was expecting normal fall weather in the 40’s, maybe 30’s, but have been experiencing temperatures in the teens and 20’s and that’s a bit too cold for my thin blood. I’ve had too much ice on the decks, and don’t really want a repeat of what I went through with Namaste.

I returned my CPT autopilot and spent the money on a winter haul-out at Stoney Point Bay Marina. I did this more out of necessity than desire. I’m loosing my voice, and I’m having rotator-cuff issues on both shoulders. My stress has been too high, and the temperature too low, but at the end of the day Carla and I have such a beautiful new home.

My plan is to return late winter, or early spring to give the rig some love, and knock out a few projects before sailing south on my trip to Panama, which I will have to do before the onset of Atlantic hurricane season in July.

I may have the opportunity to help build an apartment above a friend’s garage here in New York to make some extra money when I return. Work right now is a welcome concept, especially with the rates people make here. In panama I’m happy with $25-30 an hour to work on a boat, everyone here makes $85-$110, crazy!

I’ll be hauling Eleanor early in the week and winterizing her. I have to pump antifreeze through the raw-water side of the engine’s cooling system, take all the water out of the fresh water system, and fix a few leeks before leaving her for the season.

My spirits have been low lately, mostly because I really miss my wife. Today is my first wedding anniversary and I haven’t seen Carla in a few months. We are both happy with this situation but it is a bit straining on my heart.

I’ve learned a few important lessons on this trip.

First and foremost is that I really don’t want to be away from my wife this long. Carla usually goes to see family a few times a year, and spends 2-3 weeks away each time, which is a good amount of time. We are both loners for the most part and like our independence. Some alone time is good for me as I get back to my creative side, but two and a half months is just way too long.

Secondly I’m finding that I’m a bit more cautious with age. In my younger years I’d focus on the adventure of boldly sailing into the North Atlantic in November, today not so much. You know the old saying? “there are bold sailors, and there are old sailors, but there are no old bold sailors”. The other saying which comes to mind is “God looks after fools and single-handed sailors”. I have been looked after well especially as I have been a fool, and a single-handing sailor most of my adult life.

Yesterday I left the mooring in Nyack and motored 10 miles up the river to Stoney Point. I was up at 5:30am with my crew-member Ryan and we left the mooring in the dark and watched the sun rise during the frigid morning temperatures. It was a beautiful morning, and finally leaving Nyack a milestone in itself. The Hudson River was not kind to Eleanor and myself. We were the last boat out on the river and obviously over-extending our seasonal welcome.

Our slip at Stoney Point only has about 3′ of water at low tide and we draw 6′. It’s still much more comfortable than getting our ass kicked in the unprotected Hudson River.

I’ll be spending the holidays in the states. I want to see my cousin and his family in Maryland, my sister and her family in Atlanta, and I will spend Christmas with Carla, her father, and brother’s family in Ft. Lauderdale. After that Carla and I will return home to clean up Splendid and put her up for sale and hopefully book a charter or two.

It’s been a ride over the last few months and I must say I’m looking forward to taking a break from the cold. Sleeping in double bags and scraping ice off of my interior windows in the morning is just not so much fun. Especially when you’re exposed in the Hudson getting your ass kicked by wind and wave. I must say I under-estimated the Hudson River and didn’t know what a “Polar-Vortex” was. I’m happy to leave them in my wake until spring.

Peace everyone.

Sail far and live slowly.


Published in Alex Dorsey
Updated: November 22, 2014 — 11:15


  1. Bravo Alex! Eleanor is already in a safe place, you´re in one piece and we will meet in three or four weeks from now. I´m very anxious to hear about your NY experiences in person! See you soon…

  2. You have won the battle, a big and important battle…….but if you own a big boat, you never win the war.

  3. “You have won the battle, a big and important battle…….but if you own a big boat, you never win the war.”

    Unless it’s built out of adamantium. Might not handle lightning so good, but like Wolverine, it’ll never age.

    1. Many think that and the truth is you can win the war. You just need to go super simple, and Eleanor will be a testament to minimalistic voyaging :) my life in Panama isint a war, my life here in New York has been for sure.

  4. I have had my eye on that westsail for a long time. Glad you got it. I have a westsail 32 and wifey wants a bigger boat to live on.

    will be following you.

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