Sunday, April 10, 2011

The end of a dream

Wild Iris, Paul Caouette's 1977 Valiant 40
My friend Paul Caouette emailed me this surprising message a few days ago:

John,

How are you doing?

Progress on the boat?

We are in Curacao. Have been for a month now. Sailed from Trinidad through the islands off the coast of Venezuela. (Way off to avoid any close encounters with pirates). Had a mate aboard with us to help with the passages. He was a great sailor and a welcomed addition. I honestly don't know how couples do the long passages without succumbing to complete exhaustion.

We are taking care of this's and that's while at anchor her in Spanish Waters. Stripped the exterior varnish and will recoat with Cetol. Also redoing the deck. Lots of small blisters that are actually older blisters that weren't repaired correctly (body filling rather than epoxy). Lots and lots of them.

But the real news is that Honey and I have decided in yet another change of lifestyles. This decision precipitated, in part, by my recurring sciatica. Long passages without exercise take their toll. Numbness and weakness in my left leg does not make me a happy, or safe sailor.

In conversations with Stan Dabney about how best to list her.

I sure would like to know how much you paid for your boat and some measure of the money you've spent so far. I want to fairly represent what one can expect when purchasing an older Valiant.

Best to you and Nan.

PS

We have no idea when we'll be back in Colorado..Perhaps by mid June.....hope for an opportunity to visit then.
--
Paul Caouette
sv Wild Iris (V40-133)
Paul has been having problems with his back for at least the last few years. Back in the spring of 2009, his back issues prevented him from sailing across the Atlantic to Europe. Instead, he and Honey have been sailing through the Caribbean, slowly circumnavigating the sea in a clockwise direction. Now it appears that even that dream is coming to an end.

I feel badly for Paul. He has sailed most of his life, and he has put everything he has into his boat. It is a sad reality that the complications of advancing age have interfered with his plans, but Paul just turned 63 in February so health issues should not be unexpected.

I will turn 53 in June, which means that I am not exactly a young man either. Paul's situation makes me think that I should be trying to fulfill my sailing dreams sooner rather than later. I would hate to wait too long and then live with the regret I am sure Paul is feeling.

1 comment:

aarone said...

That's unfortunate. I followed your search for Whispering Jesse and interaction with the the crew of Wild Iris with envy.

Here's hoping Paul & Honey can get a bit more enjoyment from their dream -- and if they need crew to help going upwind or through the locks...