A few weeks later, I attended a 4th of July party at a good friend's house. Between shots of Wild Turkey, he suggested that I should look up a mutual friend from high school. It seemed like a good idea so, after I sobered up the next morning, I gave Kathy a call. She wasn't home so I left a message with her daughter. I didn't hear anything back so I tried again the following day. We did the usual polite small talk that old friends do and I asked if she would like to go for a bike ride with me. Her reply was "aren't you bald?". Taken back just a little, I said "no, aren't you short?". We laughed a bit and she asked when was I thinking. I said how about in a couple hours and she thought that was ok so I jumped on my brand new Harley and headed out. To give some perspective on the kind of person Kat is, we were headed back, after a very nice afternoon, when I heard my engine cut out. I looked down and realized I had run out of gas. Unfortunately, unlike my older Harley, this one has no reserve. As I was starting to panic, I heard a voice in my ear say, "You know this might have worked better if we were In a car". We coasted into a gas station and up to the pump averting immanent disaster.
Kat and I bought Some Beach (formerly known as The Jester) together the following year. Some Beach is a Catalina 25 with a swing keel and a pop top. Although she is a great little boat, she wasn't quite big enough to be comfortable, so we sailed her on Atwood while we were deciding if sailing was in our future together.
To digress, while I was at Harbor North, I picked up a Magazine called Latts and Atts published by a colorful fellow named Bob Bitchen. This was my first exposure to the idea of cruising as a life style. I suggested the possibility to Kat and with a fair amount of skepticism she agreed to consider the possibilities. We started with a half day trip on a Moorings 403 out of Naples while we were tooling around Florida on a rented Harley.
The following year, we went on a three day two night trip with Capt. Bruce from Windsong charters in New Port Richey Florida. We had a great couple days with winds in the 10 to 20 knot range gusting at times to 40. Capt. Bruce left the decision to go out up to us and we were up for the ride. We anchored out, for the first time, and enjoyed Capt. Bruce's excellent cooking and stories. We woke up hard aground and waded to shore to search for shells and sand dollars. By the time we got back, the Jeanneau 34 Pilot House was again floating and we we were off to our next stop. We sailed down the coast for a couple hours and anchored behind a sand bar for an afternoon swim. We had just gotten to shore in our two horse dinghy when a storm blew in and we had to head back. We found ourselves in 3 to 4 ft waves and making no headway against the wind. Laughing like a couple of idiots and soaked to the bone, we finally made it back to the boat and a worried Capt. Bruce. We pulled anchor and headed back opting to stay at the dock and out of the weather. We finished day three with another spirited sail in gusty winds. Capt. Bruce and his wife Capt. Wendy run a very nice operation for those with minimal experience.