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As previously mentioned I started taking swimming lessons three weeks ago. The lessons are only once per week, on Monday mornings (later today), but I make a point of going to the pool to practice a couple of times during the week in addition to that. Although we have mostly been working on the front crawl during our lessons, on my own time I have been trying hard to increase the amount of time I can tread water. On the first week of my lessons I struggled to stay afloat for only 1 minute! Just last Monday I posted that I was able to do it for 4 minutes. On Friday I was up to 10 minutes and yesterday I was able to do 15! I’m pretty happy with that.

Following our swimming practice (Rebecca did a thousand or so laps while I was splashing around in the water) the two of us went rock climbing at a local, indoor gym. Although we did this primarily for fun, in the back of our minds we are thinking about being able to ascend our boat’s mast using rock climbing gear (yes, I already wrote about that too). After we were done climbing, I spoke to the staff and received some contact info for a local instructor who could teach us about ascending lines. Later in the day I also contacted an old school friend, Cary Gibson, who is an Arborist to see if he could help us with this same subject. We have loosely made plans to meet up this coming Friday to do some tree climbing. Fun stuff!

Rebecca tying in for one of her very first trips up the wall.

Some of our Blog readers have suggested alternative methods of ascending the mast, including the Mast Mate ladder, mast stairs (steps) or an ATN Top Climber. Regardless of which primary method we choose I think that having the skills to go up safely using climbing gear is, at the very least, a good backup.


  1. Great job on the swimming, Mike! I had no doubt that you would quickly excel!

    Now applied rock climbing? I’m continually impressed how you both have not let a single stone be left unturned…. I’m inspired on so many levels!

    See you in a couple weeks!


  2. Woo hoo, way to go! You’ll be bobbing out there in shark infested water in no time.

  3. We have a Mast Mate, and I really dislike it. It has a lot of stretch and doesn’t feel very secure.

    I am looking to get the ATN Top Climber at some point. I haven’t used one, but I have only heard good things about it. I have gone up in a Bosun’s chair before (on a winch), and that was quite painless. The Top Climber looks to combine the security and comfort of the chair/harness with the ability to go aloft yourself.

    • Although other people with experience do like the Mast Mate, I watched the video they have for it on their website and it didn’t look all that user friendly (to climb). Thanks for offering another honest opinion.

  4. Hi Mike,

    I found your blog today and have been reading my way from the beginning to here…

    But I am confused. A few times now you have referenced mentioning something in a previous blog (Christmas presents, a fear of spiders, swimming lessons, and another I can’t recall) yet, even though I started at the beginning and am reading each one in turn (working from the list on the right hand side of the page, I didn’t read these earlier references. How am I missing this? I clicked on the hyperlink for the swimming lessons one, and it took me to a blog I never saw.



  5. Nevermind. I figured it out. I was just reading the posts that came up when I clicked on the month. I didn’t realize there were more than what showed up… I thought the ‘earlier posts’ was for earlier months, that I had just read. SIGH! So I have missed a TON of stuff.

    Back to the beginning.

    • Thanks Sandra, both for clearing that us and reading our blog. I read your previous post and thought “hmmmm, I have no idea!” I figured I was going to have to do some trouble shooting. 🙂

  6. I love the blog. You are doing what I dream of doing. Being a single woman, I don’t think I will be doing it any time soon. If the film industry picks up or if I sell a script (looks like it could happen soon) then I will start saving to buy a cat already in the Caribbean and live aboard, write, and charter it out on weekends for day sails.

    That’s the dream, anyhow. And I can dream, can’t I? 🙂

  7. The same thing happened to me as Sandra. I knew something was up when I got to Serious Safety Stuff 2 and realized I hadn’t read the first one. So, back to read the first 12 months over again!

    I was going to wait to comment until I reach the end (it’s now April, 2013), but I’m having such a great read. I found this blog as the top google search result for ‘sailing blog’.

    Home for us is Barrie once we finish a contract here in Japan next year. I have young kids so my idea is to cut our teeth on Lake Simcoe in a monohull I can find a good deal on, while chartering cats on vacation to show the missus the end goal. At this time she’s not very keen on sailing but I’ll use your blog to try to convince her.

    Can’t wait to read the rest! Good luck and safe travels.

    • Hi Adam

      I’m sure if she has some nice positive experiences on a boat in good weather, that will help to convince her.

      Thanks for taking the time to (re) read our blog!

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