Is This the End? No, But It’s a New Chapter

So I know a lot of you that have been tracking my progress via satellite have been wondering why I have been stationary for so long. There are multiple reasons for this, but for the sake of brevity I will just list the three major reasons that are holding me back. The first is that it’s the wrong season to continue sailing west across the Northern Indian Ocean. This is because the SW monsoons have settled in and it will be blowing this direction until winter. So if I was to continue today, my option would be to jump off from the tip of Sumatra and head down into the southern hemisphere to catch the trade winds towards Mauritius which lies 2500 miles away. At this point in my journey, 25-30 days on my boat does not sound to appealing.

Furthermore, as some of you may know, my transmission has begun to fail again. While it’s still under warranty, the task of pulling my engine after having doing so just a short time ago in the Philippines is something that I am not looking forward to. However, I am well aware that I am avoiding the inevitable failure…but spending a week in a dirty, oily confined space in the tropics is by far the worst task that I can think of right now.
Nevertheless, the SW monsoons and mechanical failures are just two of the reasons why I am here. The third and probably most influential reason as to why I am not sailing is because I don’t want to leave Asia! I had a moment of clarity while staring at a chart of the Indian Ocean, asking myself “Where do I want to go next?”. My answer was “nowhere”. There was no other place that I was excited to visit. Every future location would only serve the purpose of bringing me closer back to Seattle, but this is not what I want right now. I told my family when I first left Seattle that my goal was to never end back where I started, moreover, it was to find a place, partner, and purpose that excited me. I want to wake up not only today, but also when I am 60 and say “Wow! I can’t believe where I am and what I have accomplished in my life”.

Sure, I would be proud of myself if sailed entirely around the world, but I am proud of myself right now 🙂 I have already achieved more than what I thought possible in regards to sailing. Now I want to focus on some new aspects of my life that excite me. I know that if I were to keep sailing today I wouldn’t be doing it for myself, as I would have been sailing away from the life that I actually wanted. So, for now, I am just going to focus on myself and living the life that I want. If things change and I find that I will be happier at sea, I can always cast off those lines and point Cascadia’s bow west but for now her lines will stay secured to the dock.
So if this is the end of my sailing adventure? I’m not sure, and I hope not. But, if my life was a book, I would consider this the start of a new chapter.

Author: Andrew Stephens

A Pacific Northwest native and recent graduate from Seattle University, Andy is currently sailing his 30′ Cape Dory sailboat around the world. You can find more information him by visiting his website or on his YouTube channel.

12 Comments on “Is This the End? No, But It’s a New Chapter

  1. It sounds like your doing exactly the right thing to me – if it feels right – just do it and don’t second guess:) – It’s all about the journey.

    1. Thanks Craig, I appreciate the feedback. It was really tough decision, as I felt I would be letting some people down, but I knew I would be letting myself down if I didn’t try to follow my dreams.

  2. Maybe you will be able to include Georgia and me in your new chapter. We will be arriving in Chang Mai Thailand on Jan 10 and spending a month in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam and Cambodia. Your new chapter sounds just as exciting and challenging as your first, just different. Be well!

    1. Kim! its so good to hear from you! Yes, it would be great if we manage to hook up in SE Asia. I should be home for the holidays and we can discuss more. 🙂

  3. You have to do what is right for you and your happiness! If it is time to have Cascadia take a rest and you to explore the countries around you, what’s wrong with that! I am jealous you get that sort of freedom and I think most people would agree. I’ve read countless books and blogs about people who travel around the world on a sailboat, and many times they spend several years in one place because they love it so much.

    As Craig said above – it is about the journey, which can be on land, or on the sea.

    Hope you continue to blog about what you’re doing and your adventures!

    1. Steve! It’s great how supportive everyone has been. Truly humbled by everyone’s kind words including yourself. I was honestly really worried that so many people would be disappointed, but it’s nice to have so much support as I begin this new chapter. Thank you!

      P.S., I hope you got my post card. I sent it right as you were moving, so hopefully the post office forwarded to your awesome new place on Queen Anne.

  4. Andy, Just came across your blog. More power to you. I have done some ocean sailing with long passages. I would love to hear about your experience with the In-Boom furler for the main sail. Especially in an off shore setting. Any advise ? Thannks. SYED

    1. Hi Syed,

      The furler is really handy in that you can pick any amount of sail area that you want. I have only had one big foul up with it, and that was when the furling line snapped and the whole sail unfurled during a squall. It was a huge mess as the sail was flogging around on deck. But, that was only incident and it wasn’t dangerous nor the furler’s fault.

      I like it and think it’s great for offshore. But, it came with the boat and its rather quite expensive. Figure about 10-15k usd for it to be installed with a sail made for it. Because of this, I would probably never purchase this for this size boat as the cost is just too high. However, if you find a boat with it or you have the option to get one than yes, you will definitely enjoy this setup.

  5. Dude i was looking to see if you got off to indo or whatever and came across this and was shocked. But man its so smart. You were going so fast and not really taking time to enjoy life. ,and youre young and you have a boat and you have sailed 10,000 miles in a year. Thats so far so fast.
    I wanted to say hey man slow down. Go to indo go surfing
    I think you should still do youtube but thats youre call.but you did it well.
    Live large andy.

    1. Thanks Kevin, Yeah I’m just soaking it up in KL right now. I’m actually studying web development here until January and then I’ll decide where I’m off to next, …however Japan is looking pretty enticing. 🙂

  6. You are studying web development in KL until January? I asked my mom what was new with you yesterday and she said you were in Japan teaching English and thinking you would probably stay there. I hope my mom hasn’t gone off the rails. Anyway, I hope whatever you are doing is making you happy and that you are safe and sound. Look forward to seeing you at the holidays. Be well. Kim

    1. Yes, I’m almost done with my webdev in here in KL, I’ve made some really cool apps, and no grandma was correct…I landed a job in Japan! I’ll be moving there after the holidays. See you guys in a few weeks!

Please leave your feedback or any questions you may have about sailing and my adventure!