Over a beer following our first season of cruising, I debriefed with a good friend, a navy man who had spent years of his life at sea, many of them in command. In response to his question regarding what we had learned that first year I shared with him the extent to which Eulalie took to heart her captain’s role. It appeared, as I recounted it, the weight of her role was a hard thing for her to set aside. My friend, in turn, confirmed that this burden was real and could be relentless. He confided his own methods for shouldering the weight and the palpable relief that followed his last sea command.
As co-owner and partner in our travels, I shared much of the burden. Yet, a part was uniquely Lal’s—the Captain’s burden. For shouldering that extra load she has my respect, gratitude and love.
Last Monday, Lal celebrated her birthday—hundreds of miles off shore. In a not altogether surprising turn of events, Lal accepted Luiz Goncalvez’s offer to help sail Elizabeth Jean another 1300 miles to her winter cruising grounds in Antigua.
Happy belated birthday Captain Lal.
Lal at a particularly dramatic moment in the Panama Canal. Off camera a Canal Authority Tug has just gunned its engines pushing Elizabeth Jean towards the canal lock wall.
The blue dot 0001 marks Elizabeth Jean’s position on December 11, the good captain’s birthday. If it looks as if they are pretty far off shore it’s because they are, on a direct course to clear Puerto Rico and reach the Caribbean’s windward islands.
It would be inaccurate to say that the two happiest days of our lives with Elizabeth Jean were the days we bought her and the day we sold her. Our happiest days have been with her doing what she does best, rising and falling easily with a ten foot sea, eighteen knots abeam filling her sails. The quiet days at remote, sun washed anchorages have been pretty awesome as well.
At the same time, we would not be completely honest if we said we felt no happiness when Luiz and Priscilla Goncalvez responded to the ad listing Elizabeth Jean for sale. Both had worked extensively on sail boats, including the 107 foot luxury charter yacht Inukshuk. Luiz, a dual citizen of Brazil and Italy, has crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a variety of crafts 14 times. During Elizabeth Jean‘s survey, he calmly took in the surveyors’ comments about vessel and faithful Perkins, both showing their 32 years of use as well as our care. His experienced ear heard the bottom line–Elizabeth Jean was ready immediately for further adventure. The Goncalvez adventure will include their two year old son; the sails in the aft cabin will make way for more precious cargo.
We have no doubt that Elizabeth Jean will readily catch on to Portuguese and Italian, as well as the higher pitched chirps of a toddler. Too, she will adjust readily to new seas, the Mediterranean, South America? With her new owners we can only imagine. We are delighted and yes, happy to pass on our stewardship of this special spirit to the Goncalvez family. We will never forget the time that Elizabeth Jean spent with us and the happiness that remains in her wake.
Inukshuk, a Baltic 107, has prepared the Goncalvez family for their adventure aboard Elizabeth Jean.
Elizabeth Jean with her once and future owners, a happy bunch of souls.
You read the post with the anchor in our Seattle yard. You read the post of the rainbow and our return to the Emerald City. You read the Parting Glances haiku. Surely, the voyage is over and the blog has struck its final chord, you might be thinking. Well as Monty Python would quip, “Not yet!” There is some final accounting to tally and a few last tales to tell. Thus, the internal voyage continues and you are welcomed aboard. In our last blog (which will be labeled as such) we will sing the Elizabeth Jean Sea Chantey one more time.
For those who are or are not familiar with Monty Python, the famous “Not dead yet” scene can be seen below.
We left Elizabeth Jean in early October. Our last image of her, tied in a slip, under a grey fall sky, a “For Sale Sign” secured to her lifeline uncomfortably lingered. Her future fate was largely out of our hands.
Parting glances: A Haiku
Tugging at her lines,
As a horse tightly tethered,
Waiting to be freed.