The idea came to me in the summer of 2001, while taking a shower. I was thinking about the different places I had sailed, and started counting the States. There were about a dozen; enough to think it would be fun to try and sail in all 50. Maybe I was all wet, but many people try and visit all 50 states, and other’s try to visit all of the pro baseball or football stadiums, but to my knowledge, none have sailed in all of the States. My rules were simple: sail on any ocean, navigable lake, river, bay; on any sailing craft > dinghy, yacht, one design, windsurfer, etc. I thought that it may take 20 years > and I wasn’t far off.
Experience told me many sailboat racer’s would welcome experienced crew on race day, as there is usually a racer that is short crew for whatever reason. So I surfed the web for active racing in the areas where I planned to vacation or for business travel . Most of my research for rental boats, local races, sailing clubs & yacht club race officers was done online, and I was fortunate enough to meet a lot of friendly sailors by hitching a ride on race day. Almost half of the states were visited for races. Eventually, I leveraged my quest as a way to get onboard non racing boats too.
When I mention my “bucket list” quest to people, the first thing they ask is “have you done Hawaii and Alaska?” I had sailed in Hawaii in 1982 and a 2013 family vacation on a cruise ship from Vancouver, Canada to Anchorage, Alaska. I had met (online) a member (coincidently from Michigan) of the Alaska Sailing Club and he was game to go out on “Big Lake” on his 22’ Ensign. I showed up at the club on a rainy Saturday morning. I had a sinking feeling that sailing was going to be a bust; and that I was going to have to figure out a way to get back to Alaska, because it sure was a rotten day to sail. Fortunately, Alaskan’s are hearty souls as my host said a little rain won’t hurt us and off we went.