Captain and Skipper

The Captain and Skipper

It’s not about the Journey, but who you travel with.

By definition a Captain is “one who leads or supervises”. This is beyond important on a ship. When you look at the history of boats, and what it takes to have one function without issue, a captain was not only important, it was a necessity. A ship could not make a destination without the leadership to keep an eye on the  destination, passage, location, weather, crew, and the ship status all at the same time.

As time has progressed some of those tasks have become easier. and the job of a captain has changed. This makes me look at RedSky, and being the captain of her. She is a vessel and needs leadership. I am without question the captain of RedSky, but I could not be in this position without my skipper.

I may make decisions, but none are made without acknowledgment and acceptance from my one and only skipper. Jenn is the reason RedSky and our family are merged in the way they have been.  She has put us in the place we are in, and added a security that we all needed.

When I met Jenn, I was unsure of what I had to offer and the direction my life was going. I knew what I wanted, but I had no good way to get there, and no good reason.

We met at the wedding of a friend. We immediately knew there was something between us, even if it didn’t land the anchor that night. We met, laughed, hung out, and had a great night, only to part ways with no expectation of even seeing each other in the future. However the short time we had laid a path for a strong road to bring us to the crew we were to become.

Years after, we were to be brought together again by something as simple as snow in Norther Michigan. I had to work but schools were closed. Jenn agreed to watch my girls as I worked. This act of kindness showed that this woman cared more than I expected. She was willing to help when no one else was, and not for any reason or compensation. She only wanted to help someone in need.

Shortly after we had our first date at “La Villa Ristorante” in Petoskey Michigan. A night that we talked from the second we saw each other, until I was closing the car door to leave. This added to the flame we felt years prior. There was so much that we talked about, and went over. But the biggest take away was our sense of adventure. Our desire to see the world, talk to people, hear music, learn of culture, and never stop trying to move forward.

We both had kids and a past. We both were not rich or well off. We both were not even at a point that we should even be dating with the expectation of moving forward. Yet we now found the person, that was at the same point, with the same desire, and had the same feelings. I met the Skipper to my Captain without even looking.

Jenn is the reason we have RedSky, and the reason that my dream of living on a sail boat is happening. I will never say we have been perfect all the time. However, we have been perfect for us the whole time and Jenn is the reason that I will forever say “It’s not about the Journey, but who you travel with”. She is who I want to travel, adventure, explore, learn, and enjoy with. I could never ask for a better skipper, and I am excited for the adventures we have in store. Whether they are planned or a surprise, they will be our life, and we will take them together.

Winter Fun and Blue Ice

Adventures On The Ice

February 21, 2021

Sailing is our passion, but living in Northern Michigan we can not always be on RedSky. The good news is, just because it is cold and snowy doesn’t mean we can’t be on the water. This weekend we packed the whole Bova family into the car, and took a day to see the natural phenomenon of Blue Ice in the straights of Mackinaw.

The ice is formed in the shores of Lake Huron, by the quickly dropping temperatures combined with the wind blowing the ice chunks to the shore. The large pieces of ice will stack and pile on each other until the base freezes. The result is nothing more than a spectacular frozen playland. Everyone from photographers trying to get the perfect shot to kids sliding and playing games, enjoy the beauty that has formed.

We started the morning later than planned, but it was a great 34 degrees out, and the sun was poking out randomly. We arrived and were shocked by the amount of people that were already there. We parked at the east side of the city, but the Shepler’s Ferry docks. Immediately we went out on the ice and started with the pictures.

The feeling of walking on the ice, over the area that just a few months prior we had sailed over was exhilarating. Knowing that RedSky had sailed over the exact spot I was standing with sails full put a smile on my face.

But it was time to focus on why we came. The kids explored the ice, played hide and seek, and found every cave possible. We slid on our stomachs like penguins and laughed at how silly it looked. We found spots in the ice that was so clear it looked as if we were standing on the water and could see the rocks and sand under us.

The day was short and fast, but it was a day to be out of the house, and enjoy the area we live. It was another adventure that will forever remain in our memories. We may not always be sailing, but we are always drawn to the water.

Exploring the Ice Kids Taking a Break Pressure Cracks
Clear Spots Exploring the Caves Cheesy Smiles
The Bridge and the Ice

Our Journey

Our Journey Continues Together

Over the last few years, Jenn and I have gone on many adventures. They have ranged from small ones, like driving around town chatting and having no destination. To big cross country road trips where we would talk for hours on end with no sign of an awkward pause. However every adventure is specials to us, because we ensure to always experience them together. This is what has inspired our motto to be “It’s not about the Journey, but who you travel with”.

In August of 2020 we made the choice to continue this journey as husband and wife on Redsky anchored in Little Traverse Bay. We have to admit, even though we had known this day would come for years, the decision and execution of the wedding was completed in a matter of less than a month…

And couldn’t have been more perfect.

Despite the short time we had to plan, it was everything we wanted. We had talked about it since the first night we were on Redsky, we wanted to get married on our boat. To be able to pull it off was nothing short of a dream.

The ceremony itself was only us, an officiant, and our witnesses. The weather toyed with our emotions, threatening rain and storms. At the end of the day, we reflected and found the weather could not have been more perfect. The water was calm, and the wind was light. The rain held off leaving us a warm day to enjoy our moments.

Redsky was our first purchase together, and has not only been a boat that has changed our lives, but it has been a symbol of our future. A future that neither of us expected, but neither of us could live without. We are sad to have started the planning to sell Redsky, and look into something a bit bigger. This boat has been a start to our life, and will always be special to the Bova’s!

 

Admiral Maverick

Our Newest Shipmate

We are pleased to introduce the latest Sailor in the Bova family. This is Admiral Maverick.

He is a 6 Month old French Bulldog. In April we went and picked him up, and had a bit of fear, as our old Frenchie was not impressed with sailing or water. He would tolerate going, but spent most of his time whining and trying to hide on Redsky.

Redsky was put into the water late into the season this year (posts regarding that are going to online soon), but it worked out that we could take Maverick to the boat as soon as it was in the water.

To our surprise, he loved being on Redsky. He would run from the bow to the stern with no fear. He would even jump from the deck to the dock if we weren’t looking. He took to being on the boat like it was what he had done since the day he was born.

The season this year was short, but it was good. This will set us up for an exciting year when Redsky goes back into the water.

First Trip

Sailing RedSky to Petoskey

 

It was Saturday morning – Aug 24, 2019

We planned the weekend as much as we could, and waited in anticipation. We were ready. After weeks of living in the Mackinaw City Marina, we were ready to make our first journey to the Little Traverse Bay. We planned for 50 Nautical Miles. I filled the gas tank and took an extra 10 gallons of gas. Jenn took pride in planning and packing snacks and meals for the night in Mackinaw, and the day on the water. We tentatively planned for 12 hours since we were still learning how to navigate with sails, and other than going a few miles, had not been on motor for more than about 20 or so minutes at a time. After our late night trip to get some last minute supplies, we watched some fireworks with a glass of wine, and went to bed dreaming of our trip ahead of us.

We woke up to a cooler than normal morning. The dew covered boat was sitting as still as could be on the glass lake. We made jokes as were walked from the boat to the Marina office one last time, that there was not a bit of wind. I even made a video of the flags, in disbelief of how still they were. However, the plan continued, and we left Mackinaw just before 8AM.

As we motored away from the Marina, and under the mighty Mac, we continued to note how calm the lake was. The wind was not moving at all, and the water was like glass. Most inland lakes I had not seen this calm. The pictures could not even capture how smooth the lake was. For the first 3 hours, we motored along waiting for the chance to put up the sails. That chance continued not to come. We took our turns at the tiller, the Captain and the Skipper. Making sure to each have some time at the bow, where the engine noise was silent and the glassy water splashing on the hull was the only sound. I made coffee, as Jenn tested her knowledge of using the compass to keep a steady course.

The day continued, and we continued to motor. Here is where we learned one of the most valuable lessons of sailing… the weather can and will dictate your day and trip. We ended up running on motor for seven straight hours. Twice we tried to raise the sails thinking we felt some wind, only to sit on a calm lake, with limp sails. We pushed on, just enjoying our time on the open water.

At about 3PM, we finally started into Little Traverse bay. We could see Petoskey, and at this time noticed the winds started. They were about seven knot winds, and coming from the East, which was not normal, but finally provided us a chance to put up our sails. We put them up and for the first time all day were able to shut of the motor and enjoy the power of the wind.

This ride was short lived, as about half way across the bay, the weather completely changed its attitude, and the winds and waves started to intensify to what a seasoned sailor would not bat an eye at, but brought a new level of stress on us. Jenn pointed us towards the Petoskey harbor as I scrambled on the deck to pull down the sails. We rocked at every wave, and I fought to check every line I pulled, still learning what order to do everything.

We spend about 20 Minutes fighting the waves to pull around the pier, and had luckily taken a moment to call in requesting a deck hand be ready to assist us. We found our slip, being the first on as we entered the marina; it was full of waves, and current. The docking was an adventure, with us still trying to learn to use a tiller at slow speeds.

We had made it. Our little 25 Ft piece of heaven on the big lake. It was a small trip to some, but in our eyes, it was amazing, nerve wrecking, challenging, and a trip that began our journey. It taught us how to navigate, work together, and some of the limitations of our boat along with what it can truly handle. This set the hook of desire deeper into us, as we knew this was adventure that we would always want in our lives.

Next – Learning To Sail

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Josh is the writer, and I like to think that I am the photographer. However, occasionally, I get excited to write about my favorite place to be. By now you have read all about how we found Red Sky, nothing has ever felt more like fate. This boat was meant to be ours, and sailing it has fulfilled a dream that I did not even know I had. Josh has always dreamed of owning, and even living on a sailboat someday. I have always found them to be more appealing than any other form of boat, but because I had no experience, and I am only half the dreamer that Josh is, I just admired them from afar. That being said, one day walking down the piers in our hometown and admiring the sailboats quickly turned into daydreaming about someday owning one of our own. Browsing online quickly became searching in earnest for a boat that could be ours, and far more quickly than we anticipated, we started looking at boats. The first, as you have read was an absolute bust. The only thing that it had going for it, good reviews aside, was the price. However, fate intervened and because the owner never responded, Red Sky became not just an option, but our future.

The first time I saw our boat was in a photo, I had to work in the timeframe that Josh was able to go and look at the boat, but when I saw the photo, I knew. That was our boat. Fortunately, we both felt the same way, and quickly things fell into place and we had the title in hand. The first time I stepped onto our boat, I was both ecstatic and completely overwhelmed at what we had gotten ourselves in to. I wanted so badly for sailing to come naturally to us, but there was that fear that lingered at the surface that we would fail. That fear stayed firmly in place while we waited patiently to be able to get our boat in the water. We knew that she would be going in in Mackinaw City, which is about 49 nautical miles from our hometown of Petoskey, MI. We knew that we were going to have to sail that distance, but really had no idea how we were going to make that happen, but motoring was always an option, so we held on to that with the optimism that we would be able to actually sail by the time we made the trip.

When the day finally came and our boat was in the water, we made our way north for what was sure to be one of the best weekends ever. The first day was absolute chaos. We had to pull everything out that had been stored in the boat for the years it had been at Shepler’s, and begin what will likely be a never-ending list of projects. Despite the chaos, we were both in heaven! Walking onto the boat it just felt “right”, by the end of the weekend I was, and still am, convinced that living on a boat is our future. We were able to take Red Sky out and motor around, and explore the area around the infamous Mackinaw Bridge. Getting our sails up was in the near future, but I will let Josh tell you all about that.

Our First Trip

Finding RedSky Pt 2

Finding RedSky – Part 2

July 2019

With nothing but what we were told over email, I called up to Shepler’s Marina in Mackinaw to ask about the mystery boat that we had been told about. I was excited to hear that the owners were great people that took care of the boat, and had stored it there for years. I worked with the management at Shepler’s to get a chance to see RedSky in person. Jenn had to work, but this was our only chance. It was now or never.

I went to Mackinaw, and made my way into the Marina storage. A few selfies later, and an amount of anxiety that I almost could not handle, I was there. I was in a giant pull barn with only three boats. Two were large 30 plus foot sailboats, and they had a small, red, beautiful boat tucked into a corner. I saw her, and I smiled so hard it almost hurt. I immediately sent a picture to Jenn and with no explanation, she only said back “That is our boat”, and I agreed.

I quickly found a ladder and explored the boat. It was perfect. I texted the owner and said, we are ready to hand over a check immediately. I have never sailed, and rarely boated. However, I knew this was the boat to teach me how to sail.

That week we planned a day, and passed a check. We paid $1500 for the boat of our dreams. I knew the limitations. I knew we could not trailer it, I knew we could not step the mast; I knew we could not get it in or out of the water. Moreover, I knew we could not sail it.

We planned, and waited, and picked a weekend. We counted the days. Every calendar had a countdown to “Boat Day”. We had a Friday afternoon plan for RedSky to go in the water, and be waiting for us. We planned to have no kids, and our time to spend on the boat. We waited, and waited, and waited, and waited… finally the day came. The boat was in the water, and we were on our way to spend a long weekend on it, and make it ours.

After a long drive from Petoskey to Mackinaw we were there and looking at our new baby in the water. RedSky was ours, she was in the water, and our dream was now a reality, and thus starts our adventure, with our first weekend, living on our new boat.

Part 3 – The adventure begins. Our first weekend of Boat Life