North Sails LOFT NEWS
THE SCURRS AND THE WILD GOAT ADVENTURE
Dipping Their Toes Into The Cruising Lifestyle
We caught up with our clients, Shari and Robin Scurrs to hear about their cruising adventure down in the BVI’s and how this is just the beginning of their lifelong dream as live-a-boards.
What inspired you to start cruising?
Shari: Robin’s brother owns a 36 ft Beneteau, which was apart of a charter program in the BVI’s, not having any clue, never ever been on a sailboat. After that we started sailing yearly with Robs brother in Puerto Rico. One of the last trips, New Years Eye, had gone to a small island in Belize.
They started chatting with the boat next to them and end up meeting husband and wife couple that live on the boat. Where ever they go, next town, next country, the whole sailing community ends up there too. There is this sailing community of live a boards up and down the Caribbean.
Robin: After that night, Shari started on this idea; “Hey, we could do this more,” and that was five years ago. People thought we were talking garbage and didn’t think we could pull it off.
What steps are you taking to prepare for this journey and what kind of resources will you be utilizing in the prep stage?
Robin is in a position where he’s been in the schools for over 30 years – and he can now retire at 55. We can go anywhere; we have a home that we inherited in Florida, which we keep as a home base and we rent the property when we’re not there. Between the pension and the condo, things kept falling into place for us to start living the cruising life.
Can you elaborate on your planned route? How did you decide on it? Sailing through the Apostle Islands then south along the east coast to a destination in Florida.
Robin: We’re planning on casting-off sometime in July, since I retire in June. We’re going to sail around various ports in Michigan and eventually get down to the Bahamas for next winter. I’ll go due east until the temp starts to drop, and then turn right. From there, we’ll head due south, depending on the winds, there’s multiple places to check-in and make landfall.
Shari: In July, we’re going to go up to the Apostle Islands and Lake Superior along the Pictured Rocks. From there we’ll hit Isle Royal back down the channel in CA, lake Huron and the Georgia Bay Area, then eventually make our way out of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
What made you choose a 1981 S-2 11.0/36 ft, and why do you think it’s ideal for your new cruising lifestyle?
We started our hunt for a boat with a short list; friends found a boat and recommended it. Well kept freshwater boat, kept in Lake Michigan, made in Holland, MI. Good solid fiberglass with no coring of any kind.
Robin: It was an older boat, and the couple that owned it had planned to live a board and had fixed the boat up on a budget. They added dinghy davits, they added solar, an inverter, and refrigeration. They refinished everything, and added a chart plotter and radar. It really had all that it needed for us.
The minute I went down below, I was done. What’s attractive about it is it’s an older boat, it has all this wood.
This boat reminded them of Robin’s brothers cottage – all wood. Shari commented, “I go below and I’m in my happy place. I’m at the cottage.” They had never sailed it, but they bought the boat, a year ago in December. The boat purchase happened sooner than they had expected. They added AIS, changing the ports and using the additional budget to continue to outfit the boat. After much debate, they decided upon Wild Goat as the name due to Shari’s fondness to goats.
What is your background/experience in long distance offshore sailing?
Robin: We have no offshore experience other than watching other people on YouTube do it. They make it look like if you pick your routes and choose your weather wisely it’s not that bad. It’s obviously a very intimidating thing for the first time. People are afraid of it which is a perfectly valid response because obviously bad things happen to boats in the ocean. We have a wealth of weather information for help to do route planning and communications options that simply didn’t exist even 20 years ago, so I’m not terribly concerned, but it is something new for us and will be learning experience.
What led you to the Detroit team of North Sails to inspect and repair your sails in preparation for the trip?
Shari saw the North Sails logo on one of the sails that came with the boat and did a web search. She found North Sails Detroit and filled out an online request form. She knew North was a big company with a good reputation. When we called her back she was impressed with how we took the time to answer all of her questions. On her first visit to the loft, she was greeted with a tour which left a good impression on her. She said she felt like we treated her like family from the first phone call to the completion of the service work on their sails. Not to mention the mutual connection loft manager Karl Kuspa had with a good friend of hers associated with Two-Hearted Ale.
How long do you anticipate this trip lasting? What are your plans once you arrive at your destination?
Shari has big plans. She is eyeing up the many maps she has plastered on her walls with places like Bimini and the Galapagos circled. Robin is helping with the logistics aspect. She is very optimistic about making it to many far flung places. Robin has to remind her about the logistics aspects, but won’t rule out any ideas right away.
What is the biggest motivation that keeps pushing you onward to make this happen?
Robin: There is that magical moment when you pull out of the slip, or wherever it may be, and you head out and turn up and you raise the sails, fall off and get the boat propelling under there, and then you turn the engine off. It’s the magical moment where it’s just the sound of the waves and the wind and the boat moving, it’s like silence and it’s calm.
Shari: I wanna say by sailing you’re not flying into an airport, you’re not being taken to the touristy areas. When you come in on a sailboat, you come in to the same place that the fisherman do. You’re immediately gonna see the local part of it…the real stuff. You open yourself up to really seeing what a place is about. Traveling by a boat, you are just automatically a couple steps ahead. We love to travel and the adventure that comes from being on the road.