"hi, my name is bedford, and i'm an…."

We’re afraid Bedford’s problem hits near and dear to many of us who either have suffered from, or know someone who has fallen to the sweet siren call of sailing…
Hi, my name is Bedford. I guess it started back when I was in my teens. I started experimenting with sailing, a race here a cruise there. My friends all did it. I’ll never forget the time my mom found my Dubarrys. She was so pissed. It seemed harmless enough at the time. My Dad sailed and his father sailed too. They didn’t seem to have a problem.
My friends and family really started to notice that things were going to leeward when I got into my thirties. Sometimes I’d go off to a regatta and miss a whole week of work without calling in. I missed squash games, fund raisers and gallery openings. I’d show up at work a week later, tanned with a bunch of selfies. I was sailing four nights a week and all weekend.
That’s when the traveling started. I’d find myself flying all over North America and the Caribbean, staying in luxury hotels and eating at the best restaurants on the owner’s tab. All the other sailing bums lived that way back then. I was becoming a fixture on the yacht club scene. People were starting to talk. I had so much sportswear that I had to hide it from my wife. I kept telling myself that I could quit at any time. I just needed one more regatta. It got to the point where I couldn’t hold on to a day job anymore and my wife left me for an unemployed stereo salesman.
I realized that the only people I felt comfortable around were hardcore sailors. Back then, if we weren’t racing, we were looking for our next big race. All I could think about was the next race, plane tickets, hotels, fine dining, more sportswear. Even if I was traveling on business, I’d invariably end up down at the local yacht club trying to score a ride. I owned three blue blazers and no socks. I hung out with people with names like Chip, Buffy and Sparky.
I have to accept that I will always be a sailor. I’m trying to change but I will never stop thinking about the ocean. I even tried golf. That was a complete waste of time. Even the slightest breeze can send me running for the nearest marina. And, before long, I’ll find myself waking up in a quaint B&B in Newport or Marblehead with monogrammed sportswear everywhere.
I thought it would be OK if I stuck to distance races on custom stuff. I looked for rides on all carbon seventy or eighty footers if I could find them. That’s the fish everyone’s looking for. But, if I was desperate, I’d sail anything. Eventually, I found myself racing production boats, Beneteau’s, C&C’s…hell I’d go out on a Hunter if that’s all I could score.
So, where do we go from here? Time will tell. If my story can help just one person, one Chip, one Buffy, then it was all worth while. Day by day, I’ll learn a new life on land.
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