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  • Writer's pictureErin Spineto

Practical Dreams

Sometimes I dream big, owning my own private island with a dock out front and at least four boats tied up to it right next to a perfect right point break and a private tutor to come school the kids for six hours a day while I write and sail and surf everyday. Sometimes I dream a little more practically.

Owning a MacGregor 26 is more of this kind of a dream. It's got an affordable sticker price, can be trailered so I don't have to pay slip fees, and it is virtually maintenance free if you don't count scrubbing jelly off the deck from my kids peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

And it is the perfect boat for my Florida trip. It can sail in just 12 inches of water, it has solid

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foam flotation so that even if you drill a hole in the bottom it won't sink, not that I'm planning on doing that, and it is totally self-righting so in the rare chance I might be knocked over by a rouge wave, it will pop right back up. You can throw a motor on the boat and go so fast that a harbor would be within minutes if I got word that the weather is making a turn for the worse.

As I was perusing the MacGregor website, as I do on a regular basis, I noticed that Captain Mike Inmon who runs the MacGregor factory has an offer for a free DVD if you go visit the factory. Maybe it was all of the old books I had read or maybe just my imagination, but, I was always under the impression that all the boat builders were in some old wooden garage somewhere tucked away on the East Coast. So when I found out MacGregor was only a 45 minute drive from my house and that I was more than welcome to stop by at any time and learn how they made a boat out of rolls of fiberglass and resin, I put a visit on my calendar.

Last Friday I made the drive up to Newport Beach and paid a visit to Captain Mike. He greeted me with warmth like a proud papa excited to see me and show me all that his factory held. We started where the boats start with rolls and rolls of fiberglass. As we walked through the factory we followed along just as a boat would from fiberglass and resin to full completed boat ready to be shipped anywhere in the world and I watched as all these pieces were slowly and masterfully worked into a piece of art.

Every hole was cut with precision and every piece perfectly cut to line up with the plan exactly. And it all made for a boat that was precise. One that was exactly as it had been designed to be with no room for human error.

We walked into the room where they poured the resin and I at once felt at home. I have spent countless hours bathed in the smell of resin and fiberglass while fixing surfboards over the last twenty years (ok, that just made me feel a little old) and it's a smell that, to this day, reminds me of having the space and time to think. Fixing surfboards was a great excuse to get outside in a place where others would be driven away by the smell and how, while my hands would work the glass, my mind was free to wander.

I think solo sailing has such a strong pull on my life for the very same reason. With days on end without another human for miles, my mind can drift on the wind, finding new places to go and new solutions to years old problems. It will be a time to sift over the pain and friction Diabetes can inflict on a life and try to draw some sense out of it all. To find a purpose in all of it and then to turn that purpose into a life story to share with other people who have Diabetes or the ones who love someone with it or those who deal with the kind of friction that comes when a body can't provide as much as the mind wants it to.

I knew with that smell that I had been joined to these boats, hopefully, starting a long relationship with one of them that will carry me through my journey and provide the place I need to make sense of it all. We finished our tour and as we sat in Captain Mike's office chatting for a bit, once again I realized how this trip has opened doors to share with people what little I have figured out about the technology of my disease and living with it and how common it is for people to be affected by illness.

I left with my promised DVD in hand and a better view of how big this trip can be and how far it can reach and I have Captain Mike Inmon to thank for that.

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