06: Cruising: The Caribbean
Paring Down

Paring Down

Three piles: Goodwill, Colorado, boat.

Pants, t-shirts, bedding, socks, jackets, and shorts fly between one pile and another, hoping to make the cut: the bag that will be flown back to Montrose.

Thinking we’d done a really good job of downsizing our wardrobes before leaving Colorado, we were surprised with the amount of clothing that filled the Goodwill bags – so many of these items we never even wore on the boat! Everyone thinks they want options but when it comes down to it, the comfy pair of shorts that fits best? Yep, you’re going to wear them every day. Because they’re comfy and they fit and… you’re on a boat!  (evidence my ever-fading orange shorts worn in nearly every one of my photos on this blog).

Didn’t make the cut: off to Goodwill.


Clothes squared away, we move onto our collection of canned food goods. We discover three unopened jars of peanut butter; two of jelly (one strawberry, one concord grape). Moving on, we have six smaller bottles of EVOO, random veggies like hominy and collard greens (my attempt to diversify our vegetable selections; you can only eat mexi-corn and peas & carrots so many times), way too many Campbell’s soups and a seemingly unlimited supply of mushrooms and diced green chiles. And who bought THREE giant bottles of grated “cheese” (more like cheese product)? Shoot, that was me.


“No more eating out!” we scream.


Shopping bags are soon filled with grated “cheese product”, olive oil, cans of Campbells, pouches of spices and seasoning; a package of sesame seeds in Steve’s bag – for his ahi tuna (mmmmmm) – and a few packages of Fish Fry to season the next fish he pulls out of the water. Ralph -a fellow cruiser anchored next to us in Charlotte-Amalie) we don’t know too well but cruisers never say “no” to freebies – particularly free food – so we throw cans of soup, more EVOO, PBJ, etc., into his bag.

Image 1
A food goody bag.


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Sadly, this is the “after” picture. We still have a lot of food. We’ll be eating corn and olives and canned chicken until we fly home, it seems).


Clothes and food pared down, what next? We look around; aren’t sure. What about our beloved sailing library? Collected over our two-year prep in Colorado, many of these little treasures were read chapter by chapter slowly, out loud to each other, so we could talk out the concepts being introduced and try to make better sense of them together.

Image 7
Free Range’s sailing library.



Such good memories with these books!

There’s The Galley Book which was on a CD given to us at the Annapolis Boat Show back in 2013 – I had it printed and bound at the Office Depot and proceeded to make our friends sample delicacies such as “Sailor’s Stew” in way of preparing for our adventure (thank you, friends).

We particularly enjoyed The Cost Conscious Cruiser and learning tips on how to stretch our dollars to the max.

The first sailing book I ever bought, at our local Montrose bookstore, Hastings, was Your First Sailboat. It was one of only three books in the “sailing” section. When I look back at the chapter headings now, I laugh:

Image 6
Well, hmmmm. Maybe take a peek at your chart?
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Switch on your nav lights, set the watch schedule; eat some Saltines.
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I’m thinking the library will stay on Free Range – it was collected for the purpose of keeping ourselves – and her – safe; hopefully it will be of some use to her next owners – with the exception, I’m sure, of Your First Sailboat. But I’ll leave that for a little comic relief.



4 thoughts on “Paring Down

    • Author gravatar

      Hi guys,

      What is the expected return date? Just curious. Tell Dan Shelley and Ant say hi!

      • Author gravatar

        Hey Uncle Ant & Aunt Shelley!
        Dan flies in later this afternoon!!!! So Excited! I’ll tell him you say hi 🙂 We plan to sell Free Range down here in the islands – probably in the next few weeks, if everything falls into place.

    • Author gravatar

      Hi guys,
      We met you in Vero Beach where we were anchored beside you and have been following your adventures down island while we took the more conservative approach this year and wintered in Marathon, Florida in Boot Key Harbor. Now you are leaving the cruising life behind. Some may say “too bad”. But I say “good for you!” Go and live the life you want to live. Good luck in Colorado, and may ALL your dreams come true.

      Best wishes,
      Monty and Carol Brumbles

      Currently anchored in Lake Worth, Florida

      • Author gravatar

        Monty & Carol,
        SO great to hear from you and to know that you are following our adventure! Stéphane and I read this comment last night and it made us smile (and me a little teary-eyed). Thank you for the support – we know that you (more than most) understand this decision: we talked about that very thing when we were visiting with you on Sea Bird! How has your sailing adventure been going and do you plan to keep it up?

        Much love!
        Sara & Stéphane

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