The Dream

Sine Metu ~ Without Fear

In the spirit of Henry David Thoreau and Joshua Slocum, I plan to set sail aboard my $800, a 56-year-old, 24-foot sailboat, Sine Metu, on a six-month singlehanded wandering and writing hiatus of Baja California. Spending November 2019, cruising down Baja’s Pacific coast and about five or so months in the Sea of Cortez. An open-ended cruise where the journey is truly more important than a destination; where witnessing nature’s bounty and rediscovering what it means to truly live are the only agendas; and the only schedules kept are in time with the sun, moon, tides and trade winds. In short, to pause, unplug and revel in the moment as a lifelong dream unfolds.

The name of the sailboat is Sine Metu ~ Latin for Without Fear.


“Leap and the net will appear.” ~ John Burroughs

 (Updated November 2019)

Below were the original ideas and options I contemplated when I started this blog back in 2012. I’ve decided to leave them posted to give food for thought to anyone dreaming along the same lines.

Option A (Fully funded with a budget of $500 per month) – Depart late October or early November 2019.
Starting from San Diego, California, I would sail south to Mexico for a couple of months. In March or April, after the Trade Winds have built up, I would make the 25-30 day jump to the Marquesas and French Polynesia. With a six-month Visa from the French Embassy in L.A., hopefully, I would wander, explore and write about those enchanted islands and its people. Then, roughly November, I would work my way to New Zealand for the Typhoon Season. After a few months in Auckland, hopefully being able to visit one of my favorite writers and sailors, Lin Pardey, I would (and, sorry, this is where my plans get a little vague) cruise back via circumnavigating Australia —making a huge U-Turn — and then either cruise the North Pacific islands like Samoa, Marshal and Midway islands before reaching Hawaii, where I’d love to stop and relax for two or three months if the budget allows before making the 25-30 day passage to Vancouver or San Francisco; I would eventually end the hiatus by sailing back to San Diego.

Option B.1 (Fully funded with enough in the bank for at least six months) – Again, departing late October or early November 2019.
Shadowing the Baha Ha Ha because I wouldn’t be able to officially join them as I will be sailing solo, I would sail south to Mexico’s Sea of Cortez and enjoy as much of the culture and sailing as I can before heading back to San Diego.

Option B.2 (Fully funded with enough in the bank for at least six months) – Depart as soon as possible and make a dash for Hawaii after cruising down to Cabo! Then, spend the next few months cruising those islands (haven’t done too much research on what time of year is best, yet).

Option Z (Fully funded with enough in the bank for at least six months) – Work more and add my bones to the “Someday” pile of hope and dreams. Meaning, Option Z isn’t a plan!

Obviously, all of this depends on what funds will be available and if I have work. Right now, I am making fairly good money as a temporary Contract Field Trainer. And after being unemployed for more than 1,095 days (yeah, you read that right!) from January 2008, through January 2011, I know what it means to lose everything, to go hungry and to lose hope…

Anyway, to afford all of this time off, I plan to write as I go. I’ve been doing it for several years now with some success in Social Media: Writing content for websites, press kits and ghostwriting articles – it appears as though my lifelong hobby has grown up and has turned into an income-producing, part-time job. Mostly though, I really hope to earn money writing for me instead of clients. Anyway, this temporary job was keeping me pretty busy and I have saved enough for the Plan-Bs, but I also have a lot of work to still do. most of it already purchased and waiting for me to have the time (note, I didn’t say “take the time”) to install them. Things like the rigging, the cabin sole, the electric drive system, the electrical, the wiring, and galley. But, I still need to source and purchase a 48 volt wind generator, the sails, and then of course the Hydrovane.

And at the suggestion of a few fellow wanderers, I have added a “Donate to the Dream” page in the hope that a few benefactors or a lot of tin-cup donations come in. Hopefully, and only time will tell, my writing will capture the attention of a lot of readers and fellow dreamers, earn an online following and catch a sponsor or three in the months that I alone can afford.


Who knows what the future will bring? Not I, but I feel as though the poet knows…

Tis said of every individual that they can shape their own destiny
Though others will tell you quite differently and with such thinking would not agree
Who knows what will happen tomorrow who knows what your future will bring
Though at present you feel a bit ordinary and none other your praises do sing.

You may try to shape your own destiny without taking circumstance into account
And you may have great plans for the future and to little that too can amount
To if destiny does not point in that direction your destiny and circumstance
Does play a huge part in your future our gift of life came about by chance.

Who knows what will happen tomorrow you may feel sad and tearful today
Tonight you may win first division tattslotto and you can celebrate in a big way
Or tomorrow for you than today little different with your same set of worries and woes
As Shaw once said ‘Life’s Not Meant To Be Easy’ but such is life one must suppose.

Who knows what the future will bring to you despite what some say it does seem to me
That we cannot look into the future such things are beyond us to see
Those things known as circumstance and destiny a huge part in our lives do play
And these two can make us or break us for in our future they have a big say.

Francis Duggan


7 thoughts on “The Dream”

  1. That’s incredible! I’m all with you. But I have a lot of questions and would love to chat a little. I met you on Columbia yahoo groups and just now read your blog. Not sure if you got to see my blog or not? I also have a new pictures page with tons of new and old pics: I have a Columbia 22 and have been sailing it for three years or more now in all kinds of weather. You had responded to a message I posted on the group websight. You’re one of the first people I’ve met who has a blog with something inspirational and ‘real’ on it. Its more than just questions about buying and selling boats/parts and what engine to buy next etc…! I’m not sure if you would like to link up? I would love to support what you’re doing on my blog and perhaps vice versus? In fact, I will even make a post about what youre doing and give the link too. I’ve been learning how to advertise my blog through blog directories and email/facebook etc.. and perhaps you have some good ideas too. I am an aspiring writer too! I’m real excited to hear more of your plans for your trip. I also have dreams and goals to sail around parts of the world, but it is not favorable for me right now due to my family – which I love to death! Hopefully I’ll hear from you soon. Feel free to email me or leave me a message on my blog! Albie

    • Morning Albie – back at ya!

      I found your blog very refreshing and more than a narrative of your time sailing, it is an artistic expression painted with words, and would love to mention and link blogs.

      As for the trip, now is the perfect timing for me as I don’t have family, and in about seven months my girlfriend and I are going to split up for six months or so as she goes off to college to work on her masters degree without distractions. So, when that planned heartbreak occurs I know I will be in just the right depressive funk that I will be more than ready to escape into solitude and cut the dock lines. She is really supportive of my lifelong dream and I have her to thank for this opportunity.

      As for sailing, don’t expect me out on the water for a while: The mast comes down soon as I am replacing the 48 year old rigging and upsizing it abut. Hopefully, by July 4th, the sailboat will be relaunched , renamed, and I’ll be able to start sea trials August – this current project should end by then as well, so I will be on the water full time then.



  2. I really do wish you well with whatever option you choose.
    I have had the sailing dream since I was eight. I have always held and nurtured that dream and now we have been doing it for the last four years. With determination and will you will get there.
    I would encourage you to keep up with the writing as that could be another way of making enough for a cup of tea whilst you are sailing. Alas, my writing skills don’t even afford me that pleasure.
    Keep on dreaming and working towards that goal. You will one day be part of this nomadic family.

  3. Wow – so impressive that you’re going to do this single handed and on a 24′ boat! Our last boat was 26′ and, while it was fine to liveaboard for 3-4 months, I think it would be a little too small for the long term for us. Of course, if it is just one person onboard, could make a huge difference.

    I hope you end up doing the option where you get to New Zealand. I learned to sail here and we’ve had a great time cruising here in the Hauraki Gulf, Bay of Islands and other parts of Northland. If you’re interested, we have a NZ page on our blog with posts about our adventures here.

    Will follow along with interest to see how you get on!

  4. Walter Douglas said:

    I appreciate your blog write-ups and figured that your loss of the boat happened within the last 5 months. Wow.

    A couple of things strike me about the story I see here: First, you must have spent a fortune repowering you boat with electric propulsion. I’m curious if you felt it was worth the trouble and cost – all the batteries and other infrastructure.

    Second, do you regret “chasing a storm” that way. I wondered why this decision? Did you have usable weather forecasts? The Pacific can be an angry ocean – as exhibited by the colorful screen shot of the weather radar.

    Third, it sounds like the inReach Explorer product saved your life. You were ~20 miles off shore. Do you recommend this product? I am guessing the product and subscription are really cheaper than epirb or other technology. Your thoughts?

    Finally, I’ve had a 70’s sailboat in San Diego for years, and slowly it has come to a point where I consider it at least ready for a trip to Ensenada. After Ensenada this summer, we hope to sail down and around the cape. Your story is a warning sign to me about my own ambitions for sailing Baja. I really appreciate your efforts to document your own ambitions and the outcome of your adventure.


    • Hi Walter,

      I bought the sailboat in 2010 for $800 and spent something like another $30k on her over the next 9 years. And while I think it was a lot of coin, when I departed in November 2019 I had basically a new sailboat for a whole lot cheaper than if I had bought a $50k boat and simply took off. That’s a personal quirk, but I had 9-plus years of fun rebuilding her, so as far as hobbies go, spending $3,300 a year isn’t too crazy. As for the electric drive, repowering her was a lot of fun! For small sailboats, I’d recommend an electric drive, especially if you’re replacing an Atomic 4.

      As for chasing the storm, I wasn’t! I had five seperate weather reports saying the next 72 hours would be perfect: three from PredictWind, Accuweather, and the Garmin inReach’s marine weather forcast. I had cell service most of the way down the coast anytime a town was visible. I was looking forward to a wonderous 24-30 hours of offshore sailing. The “wind event” as I call it, as the skies were clear and the barometer kept climbing to 1018mbs… Later, the only thing I could find was a big storm hitting California about 100-miles north of where I was and think that the low-pressure system was what was pulling in all that air. This ‘Wind Event” created its own wave train that was offset from the normal swells, too, which eventually caused the knockdowns and wave bodyslams that ended that misadventure.

      As for recommending the Garmin inReach, HELL YES! Is it a substitute for an Epirb, no. But, with the shoestring budget of the whole odyssey I chose it so that I could keep in contact with my girlfriend in San Diego via text messages—and boy does that system ROCK for that! Their SAR feature isn’t too shabby, either as evidenced by me replying to you.

      And finally, get your ass down to Ensenada as it’s a fun first stop. I’d recommend Baja Naval, but make reservtions to ensure a slip. Also, don’t be in a hurry. There’s a nice offshore breeze from sunrise to about 0930 hours; then dead calm until 1000-1030 hours. I used that time and simply drifted, cleaned up and ate breakfast and enjoyed a couple of cups of coffee. I would watch as the wind would come closer and closer as I readied myself for a day of sailing. And like SoCal, the wind died more often than not at sunset. I had a fantastic day sailing down the Colonet, jib whisker-poled out and the main on the other side wing-n-wing and cruised at hull speed from 1100 hours to 2000 hours (that’s the night I simply hove to offshore).

      • Walter Douglas Gaines said:

        Thanks for the reply. I too have spent much more on my boat than I paid for her originally, but still have a temperamental old Westerbeke. It was a terrible deal, but I feel good about her seaworthiness. We already reserved a slip at Baja Naval. I’d been there a few years ago and decided they were best to house us for the summer and do the TIP, etc. Thanks again for your correspondence. WG

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.