We recently caught up with former sailing school students, Christian & Kelli Wilson, to learn what they are up to now.
That’s right…they bought a boat and are sailing around the Chesapeake about to do what many people only dream of…leaving the 9-5 grind for life on a boat. Of course, making that leap doesn’t happen overnight, and in Christian and Kelli’s case it all goes back to their first ASA classes with us 14 years ago.
Before taking classes with us, Christian and Kelli’s only experience with sailing was an afternoon on a Hobie in Jamaica. This is not uncommon. Many students have never set foot on a sailboat before arriving at our docks. And it’s not uncommon that after they’ve finished their class…they are hooked. It’s one of the most fulfilling parts of what we do — introducing people to sailing and then knowing how it becomes such an important part of their lives moving forward.
Here’s a little Q&A with Christian:
What ASA classes did you take with GLSC?
ASA 101, 103, 104, 105, 106
2004-ish to 2013-ish
Do you recall who your instructor was?
Yes. The un-flappable Captain Dirk Weisbaum
Any single piece of advice you learned during your classes that you still rely on?
When in doubt….let it out. Captain Brian, of Bay Breeze (GLSC).
Before you took your classes, what was your experience with sailing?
None. An afternoon on a Hobie in Jamaica, changed everything.
Did you charter before taking classes?
Had you ever owned a boat before taking classes?
With all your charter experience, is there anything in particular that makes chartering northern Michigan stand out?
Yes. Grand Travers Bay is a great place…smoked salmon, fine white wines, nice 4-5 hour sails between towns. Suttons Bay, Northport, Omena, Charlevoix, Petoskey, Leland….all very cool places to grab a slip or drop a hook.
How long have you been planning to quit the daily grind and sail south?
For ten years or so. Getting close. Bought our first boat last July, and we are currently doing some updates and refits.
Our plans are very “loose”. We may pull out early November and head south. South is a relative term…but, we plan to work our way down to Florida and then do a minor refit before heading to Bahamas and beyond.
Our boat is a one-owner 1997 model with minimal upgrades. Only 1300 hours on the Westerbeast. Its in terrific shape but, its also quite dated. It still has a cassette player! We have already completely re-done both heads with all new hoses, vents, and tank scrubbing. I’m updating the windlass & ground tackle. We also have new running rigging, ready to install this spring. We are currently shopping for new sails. This boat was basically a wine & cheese bay cruiser, so it has no offshore gear at all.