Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Marathon, Florida
24 42.40 081 N 05.68 W

Join me in wishing Libby Happy Birthday.  The occasion prompts me to blog about Libby as the subject.

I've written a lot about what it takes to live the cruising life successfully.   Modesty prevents me from writing more about life in general.   The reality is that both require a willing, able and loving partner.  Libby fits the bill in all those accounts.

Libby follows my lead.  She learns to like what I like.  To take joy in the same things I do.  She cares for me, coddles me, and calls me out when I'm being stupid.  I don't mean that in the sexist sense.  It's just the way she is.   

Sailboat cruising wasn't her first major life adaptation.  Twice, we uprooted our family and move to a foreign country.  Libby cooperated willingly in those moves.  She never did adapt to life overseas, but she did her best; so twice again we moved back to the USA.

When we decided to retire and I proposed to sell our house and car and to live on a sailboat, Libby gulped, then she said "Sure."   We both had short term cruising experience, but not as a permanent life style.  It was an excursion into the unknown.  It was certainly not what she had envisioned for our golden years.  It took a lot of guts for her to say that word, "Sure."

On a boat, quarters are extremely close.  There is no room to get away from each other.   Therefore, tensions, fears, and unspoken words, grow and fester.   If one partner is not happy, the reality can not be suppressed or hidden.   

For the first two years, Libby was concerned with her lack of technical skills.  She didn't want to put me or the boat in danger.   My job was to be patient, and to be a teacher and mentor.   If I recall correctly, I got angry and yelled at her only twice in two years.  I regret both times because they rattled her confidence.   Today, she doesn't have that anxiety.  She's confident that if anything happened to me, she would be able to bring us back to a safe port by herself.  She's not crew, she's a full partner.

Anyhow, because true feelings can not be hidden, I'm confident in saying that Libby has come to love this life as much as I do.  Neither of us can imagine living in a condo on land.  It would be boring.  Libby misses more frequent contact with children and grandchildren, and she misses her garden.  I make sure she gets to do both of those things part of every year.  (I crave the Internet, but I carry connectivity with me; nowadays in my pocket.)

My role is to be loving, appreciative, and sensitive to her needs.  We are here in Marathon for a second year primarily because last year Libby had a marvelous time here and really enjoyed it.  I guess, I chose the life style, but she chooses our agenda year by year and month by month. Most of the time, I'm the Captain, but she's the Admiral.   She in turn gets enjoyment by making me happy and being sensitive to my needs.   

So I'm not afraid to say that my success in life, including the cruising life, is a product of the partnership Libby and I have evolved.  

Libby, I love you.


  1. This is lovely, Dick - what a loving birthday tribute to Libby! Brought tears to my eyes . . .

    Nica (s/v Calypso, the BCC you met in Deltaville a couple of years ago)

  2. Nice post today, Dick. Happy birthday Libby! BTW, it got down to 14 degrees here in Annapolis this morning, so it was at least that cold in upstate NY!

  3. Happy birthday, Libby! ...loved your tribute to her, Dick!

  4. Happy Birthday Mom!!!

    ps. now THIS photo I like :)

  5. A very happy Birthday Libby from Lyle in Catskill, NY

  6. Happy Birthday Libby - albeit belated, you are an encouragement and example to us all in sharing your life with someone you love. Here's wishing you many, many more!

  7. Happy Birthday Libby and all the best for for the holiday season. George and Carol

  8. Libby, I've been a tad off the grid, sorry to miss your birthday. I hope it was wonderful. What a beautiful picture and dick,what a wonderful tribute to that incredibly special love of yours. Love seeing your baskets-they are truly nothing but art now. I was one of lobby's first basket students and can tell you her craft is waaaayyyy harder than it looks :) much love to you 2. Margaret,Don,& Tiller


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