It didn’t happen by chance. In fact, Adriana had been tracking s/v Coastal Drifter meticulously as they sailed down the US West coast last year. Onboard, the precious “cargo” – two girls of roughly the same ages as Paulo and Raquel.
By then, it had been months since our kids had last played with like-aged friends. It was actually the only real downside of our Journey up to then.
Anyway, s/v Pesto and s/v Coastal Drifter finally crossed paths in San Diego.
Adriana had travelled to Brazil with Paulo, and left me strict directions to move Pesto to the same marina where they were, so that Raquel could meet with the girls.
I obliged, the girls showed up at our dock while we were still tying Pesto up, and an intense friendship sparked almost instantly.
True, the link were the kids in the beginning. But gradually the adults started to enjoy the company of each other. And as we shared numerous experiences and accumulated memories together along the Baja coast, the bond only grew stronger.
That was early February 2015. And we have been buddy-boating since then.
Together, we prepared for the departure from San Diego, sailed into Mexico, cruised places so beautiful that words (and even pictures) can’t fully describe. We’ve ridden bad weather together, waited each other arrive from passages, celebrated our achievements and partied handsomely – Easter, five Birthdays, Canada Day, and a Graduation ceremony.
Coastal Drifter was built in Canada by her previous owner himself, from the drawings of David Folkes. At 42’ LOA, built in steel, with a safe heavy displacement design, full keel and deep bilges, she is a very solid cruising platform. In lumpy anchorages, she will rock much less then her neighboring boats – Pesto included. Moreover, she is very spacious down below, with plenty of storage and living spaces, making up for a comfortable home.
Phil, the Skipper and Chief-Engineer, is someone who earned my strong respect early on. Hands-on, skilled and practical, he can make things happen. While in San Diego, he built and installed a water maker on Coastal Drifter. From scratch. By himself ! With a fine sense of humor and his no-nonsense style, he is a great sailing partner, and I utterly enjoy our routing “meetings”, often accompanied by beer and tequila.
Debra, first mate and deck hand, is a very enthusiastic cruiser. From the equipment she brought onboard (how about a marine sewing machine, or wireless headsets for communication on maneuvers?) to the methodical anticipation of details (on Canada Day, Coastal Drifter woke up wrapped up with Canadian flags – a decoration she anticipated before departure almost a year earlier), she is ready for the task, and we are still to witness a situation for which she is not prepared or cannot come up with a proper solution instantly. Her unbeatable, contagious positive attitude add a lot to the joy of cruising together, and we are fortunate to be friends with her and Phil.
And then there were “the girls”.
Savannah and Sierra boarded Coastal Drifter while still in Canada, joining their grandparents for the first year of their voyage. We met and buddy-boated with them for the last third of it. For four months Paulo, Raquel, Savannah and Sierra were one team. Together they played, confided on each other, and had the occasional petty fights – pretty much like brothers and sisters do. Perhaps even more importantly, they experienced and enjoyed full-time cruising together, accumulated lots of “WDYST” moments, and this is a bond that should reignite their friendship instantly should their paths cross again in the future.
The story goes on now that Ethan – Sierra and Savannah’s younger brother – has joined Coastal Drifter for the upcoming season.
Completing the cast, Coco is Coastal Drifter’s full time live aboard Poodle. She is very smart, loves dinghy rides (not so much to be soaked in the sea water), and always receives us with a big party. We were lucky to baby-sit her for a few days and it was a joy.
Both vessels are now undergoing maintenance and improvements in San Carlos, Sonora, soon to resume cruising. And when they do, we hope to share many more miles drifting along the beautiful Mexican coast with our buddy-boaters and friends.