Red Wing native sets sail on big adventureRed Wing native Andrew Peterson loves sailing. His love for the water has taken him, literally, from the white-capped splashes of Lake Pepin to the massive liquid-terrains of the Caribbean. Red Wing High School 2002 classmate Chris Warrington, a photographer, flew to Puerto Rico to join them for February. Peterson and co-captain Lance Lindsay have documented their epic 4,000-mile journey on the open water.
By: Andrew Peterson, The Republican Eagle
Editor's note: Red Wing native Andrew Peterson loves sailing. His love for the water has taken him, literally, from the white-capped splashes of Lake Pepin to the massive liquid-terrains of the Caribbean.
Red Wing High School 2002 classmate Chris Warrington, a photographer, flew to Puerto Rico to join them for February.
Peterson and co-captain Lance Lindsay have documented their epic 4,000-mile journey on the open water.
My good friend and old college roommate, Lance Lindsay, had just landed a job flying business jets with me and had moved into my house in St. Paul. One of the reasons that we are both pilots is because we love traveling and one particularly cold winter day only a week or two after he had moved to Minnesota we fell into a conversation about how great it would be to retire at the age of 26 and travel the world.
Neither of us had won the lottery, but it was fun to dream. I told Lance about a thought that had been in my head since the first time I had been aboard a friend's sailboat back in high school. "We should get a sailboat, quit our jobs, and live aboard whilst traveling from Minnesota to the Caribbean!"
He agreed it would be a great way to travel, and after a few brews we forgot about the fact that we had neither the experience nor the money to make this happen.
The next day we were both still intrigued and thought it was time to put some numbers to the plan.
Lance whipped up what would soon become the infamous spreadsheet budget that proved, with 18 months of saving, we could actually do this. It also proved to rule our lives over the next year and a half.
After much research and contemplation over what type of boat to buy, we decided on a relatively small but solid boat. In May 2010 we paid cash for a 1978 Bristol 29.9, dubbed "YOLO" - You Only Live Once. The boat was already at a marina on Lake Superior in the Apostle Islands so we decided it was the best place to spend our summer learning what we were doing.
The Apostle Islands proved to be beautiful and absolutely phenomenal sailing waters. The sailors that we met up on Lake Superior gave us loads of advice (and some gear). We checked our pride and took whatever words of wisdom anyone had to offer.
Throughout the summer, I think Lance and I even gave some other cruisers some inspiration. Many of them have sailed their entire lives and always wanted to do an extended voyage like the one that us two inexperienced kids were suddenly taking.
Sept. 26, 2010, departure
We have been having the time of our lives ever since we pointed our rudder at Bayfield and crossed the great Lake Superior nonstop. We have seen many fascinating places in varied locations. From the Great Lakes to the inland rivers to the gulf to the Florida Keys to the Bahamas to the Caribbean including the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and now the Virgin Islands.
By far our favorite part of this expedition has been meeting all of the wonderful people, and the friends we've had visit us along the way.
It is partly because fellow boaters or cruisers are some of the most genuine people. The type of person who lives aboard a vessel is almost always interesting, adventurous and helpful. At the very least, they always have quite the story to tell.
It's also great to share our story, especially because people seem interested in what we have to share and tell us they're inspired to get off the couch and do something that they have always dreamed about (be it cruising or whatever else their dream may be).
Our blog is visited a few hundred times a week and some of the most dedicated followers get mad when we don't get a chance to update it. I never thought we'd have such a following.
Our journey is far from over. We started the plan two years ago with a solid end game, but now we don't want it to end.
We've made it more than 4,000 miles thus far, which brings us as far as the Virgin Islands as of now.
People ask us "What's your timeframe?" Our response is that we're not on a "timeframe" but a "moneyframe." We will continue to cruise as long as finances allow.
Perhaps a summer hiatus to increase the cruising kitty while the boat lies in safe storage somewhere down here, then a fall return to YOLO to continue down island along our previously plotted adventure.