Monday, July 27, 2009

3 years aboard Meggie

We chased our dreams for 2 ½ years while we restored Meggie, our 1964 Cheoy Lee Bermuda 30. Only by saving every spare dime, selling off most of our belongings and severing all financial ties, did we then gain the freedom to slip the dock lines and venture away for as long as we wanted or at least as long as we were having fun.
We kept our boat simple, both safe and easy to sail, also free of any major electronics and expensive systems. We put all of our trust into Meggie’s hull design and heavy timber construction. Our best efforts went into restoring the youth within Meggie, this was essential because she would not only become our home but also carry her devoted crew of two on an epic voyage through the blue waters of the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea in search of adventure and tropical paradise.
In July, 2006 we quit chasing and started living as Meggie sailed out of Thornbury’s harbour and although she gracefully approached her vintage years, Meggie was likely never more fit for sea.
We sailed through the great lakes to the Hudson river, then past the statue of liberty in NYC harbour. As we rounded Sandy Hook, New Jersey, Meggie felt the Atlantic under her keel for the first time. When the stiff ocean breeze filled her sails, Kylie and I also felt the spray of the Atlantic for the first time. It was here that a bond was formed and off we sailed as a team of three. We visited 18 countries and sailed 14,000 nautical miles in our 3 years. We faced many challenges and created many memories along the way, some of which I would like to share, however these only scratch the surface of the memories that remain etched in our minds.
We made it all the way to the bottom of the eastern Caribbean island chain in our first season. The reason being, we had hurricane season hot on our tail. To achieve this we sailed thousands of miles to windward along the thorny path, south bound to the West Indies where we spent 5 wonderful months in the beautiful country of Grenada.
We then sailed north to let Meggie show off her “Yar” among the big classics of the Antigua Regatta. Here she took an impressive 2nd place in her racing class and 3rd place in Concource d’Elegance for best privately maintained boat.
A few months later we found ourselves sailing fast and quietly under the cover of a moonless night with all lights off to escape the pirate waters of Venezuela, bound for the beautiful off shore islands, here we spent an incredible six weeks.
We then had a glorious run with quartering wind and seas clear across the Caribbean Sea from Curacao to Jamaica, and then on to Honduras covering twelve hundred nautical miles with a 14 day break in the middle. Meggie logged regular noon to noon runs of 125 to 145 nautical miles. Meggie always takes care of us and we found her to be a great little passage maker.
We never tire of watching dolphins play with Meggie s bow wave, or scanning the sea surface hoping to spot a whale. We marvel at the many species of interesting birds, Pelicans, Frigates, Egrets, Terns, Boobies,(famous for steeling our top water lures) Ospreys, Scarlet Ibises, Ocean Gulls, and oh yes, Wild pink Flamingos.
We have weathered countless storms, including two tropical depressions, three tropical storms, and one full fledged Cat 1 Hurricane named Felix. We were on board and well anchored for each one, with no problems.
Our worst storm while at sea lasted for thirty hours, the rigging screamed with steady thirty-five knot winds and higher in gusts, the seas became on average one full storey in height. This storm hit us while 300nm offshore in the waters south of the Cayman Islands, called the Cayman Trench, it is known for being the deepest part of the Caribbean Sea…the bottom being twenty-five thousand feet below the keel. Little Meggie rose her stern to each approaching wave as it hissed and roared but never let a single wave on board.
We will never forget the Christmas we spent on the Island of Guanaja, or the remote jungle anchorage of the Honduras main land surrounded by the wild cries of the howler monkey and the magnificent birds of the jungle. We had this place all to ourselves.
We spent a wonderful month in Guatemala. We took Meggie up the mystical Rio Dulce, where we explored parts of the mainland including the ancient temples of Tikal.
We spent an exhilarating five days blazing along at six knots through the shallow protected waters inside the barrier reef of Belize. The next day in the open sea Meggie set her quickest noon to noon run of 174 nautical miles, due to the fast currents setting north through the Yucatan channel.
Kylie and I have become very passionate about fishing, and more importantly eating fish. We have enjoyed countless cockpit dinners of either deep sea fish or reef fish and lobster, that we caught by ourselves.
Above all, the pleasure of spending the last three years together, watching the sun rise and set everyday aboard our little boat has provided us with memories that will last a life time. Also, now our team of three has gained the confidence and the ability to sail off, bound for distant shores, just two people aboard our little boat, alone on the high seas. This makes the horizon but our only limit.
Although we have to return home for now, our hearts assure us that Meggie has not finished leaving her invisible tracks across the beautiful and seemingly endless blue waters of the world, just yet.


Wilger said...

Great ending to a great adventure. You have done what so many dream about. Hope that after a time you will go sailing again so that I may follow your writings. Good luck for the future and may you always have fair winds.

Anonymous said...

you couldn't have said it any better than that! what a fabulous ending to just one chapter of your lives. i have no doubt that meggie will play an important role in the remaining chapters. i'm sure your experiences from the past couple of years will be with you always, as they will be with your fellow bloggers.
it's great to have you home (however long that may last!).
love you guys :)

Anonymous said...

Great writing - I am glad you are home safe but will greatly miss watching the blog for yet another adventure. A voyage well sailed and appreciation for the three of you - M K & Meggie.
Welcome back to reality, for now.
Luv Mom

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys!

John and Cindy (Tashmoo) here.
It's still good to see an update on your blog; we're going to miss reading it. It's people like you that make cruising so special! Hopefully our paths will cross again in the future. You guys are awesome!


Steve said...

So happy for your safe passage,so sorry to have to read this final entry(for now). Embarrassed but not ashamed to admit this wrap-up of a great adventure brought tears to this weekend sailor's eyes. Great job and thanks!

Anonymous said...


I have truly enjoyed reading your listings both here and within the pages of Cruising World magazine. Congratulations on a safe round trip passage. Not only in making it home in one piece, but together as a couple. As we all know, that could go either way in close quarters. Those of us that can conquer both the storms at sea - as well as storms of the heart - are dying bread.

As an aging sailor with a land job, I am immensely envious. I think your youthfulness at the beginning of your adventure was a great advantage. As we find we are now tied to bills, growing kids and ailing health, a personal 3 year cruise seems unobtainable. But the memories, nobody can take those away.

Next time you’re in the Southwestern Basin of Lake Erie, drop an anchor and drop us a line. It'd be great to meet such travel icons.

Welcome Home.

Eyes on the horizon.............


Currently bobin' on an anchor, South of Johnsons Island on Caribe, our little Cal34.

Jon van der Horst Bruyn said...

Nice words Mike, i must say i'm a little jealous (although not surprised!) you got little Meggie doing the 174NM run, i've been feeling quite good about Double Bruyn's recent record 165! What a great tale, can't wait to hear the next. A bbq with Lin and Larry on Kawau island NZ maybe? You come i'll arrange it, deal? Jonboy

Chris Cavanaugh said...

Mike and Kylie, we have been following your wonderful narratives the whole time you have been sending them. Between the great pictures and the great description we have been entertained. Thank you.
I have to admit that when I lent you that small GPS in Pt. Elgin I definitely had my doubts you would be able to complete such a huge undertaking in such a small boat. You have given this old sailor renewed faith in the rewards of persuing the dream. Keep sailing!
Chris and Joan Cavanaugh

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Mike and Kylie- I was given your blog address by your friend George Czerny, whom I have been working with on a publication about the Georgian Bay. I work for CreateSpace, an independent publisher and on demand printer owned by He mentioned you may be interested in publishing your stories at some point, so I wanted to reach out if you would like to make contact with me in the future!

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you lived the bream i can only dream ATB David.

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Great Blog and trip! I am planning a similary trip for 2012. I have sailed on lake Ontario for many year and now looking to go south. Would be great to ask a few questions about what worked and what did not.

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Chip Rich said...

Mike and Kylie,

Thanks for taking the time to share your wonderful adventure with Meggie. I'm a dad with three kids. After going on a sailing trip with my sister's family through the San Juan Islands a couple years ago, I caught the sailing bug. In the meantime I've taken classes and paid for access to sailing school fleets, but I'm finally considering diving in to the money pit and pleasure of boat ownership and I keep looking at Cheoy Lee Bermuda 30's as my gold standard of the kind of boat I'd like. Your blog is entirely responsible for this:) A couple years ago, I read the whole thing in about a week and still come back to it occasionally.

Just wanted to write to thank you for the blog and let you know you're both inspirational people. Hope you're both well and on some other adventure. This summer, my wife and I took our kids on a month-long road trip up from San Francisco to Yosemite, up through Banff, Jasper, then Lake Superior Provincial Park, Kenora/Sioux Narrows, cutting across Lake Huron on a ferry from Manitoulin Island to Tobermory, down through Niagara Falls and back home to Scarsdale, NY.

And as I write this, I just checked and realized Tobermory's your home port! I forgot! It's a beautiful part of the country. We loved Canada.

If you're ever in New York again, you're welcome to our place for dinner:)

You can see pics of our Canada trip at chiprich on Instagram

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