The Boat

She’s 34 feet. When the sun is bright, her white fiberglass coat is blinding. Her interior is a natural thermos—providing warm protection when it’s cold, a cooling refuge when it’s hot.

We affectionately refer to her as “The Boat.”

Her given name is “Pursuit.” I’ve always loved the name, aligning with my belief that life is more about the journey than the destination. In reality, the name is not philosophical. Her make is Pursuit Express 3400. So it’s like naming your Mercedes 560SL “Mercedes.”

As we get the boat ready for sale, I’m reminded of that infamous phrase:

“The two happiest days in a boat owner’s life: the day you buy the boat, and the day you sell the boat.”

Happy is not exactly the emotion I feel at the moment. It all feels…bittersweet. 

I am reminded that I love The Boat.

It’s not because I’m a gear head, fishing obsessed, or grew up on the water. That I own a boat seems surreal. Boats aren’t known to be the most practical of possessions. And I still feel self-conscious telling a stranger we own a boat. To this Midwesterner, it sounds pretentious.

That said, buying The Boat is one of our proud marital moments. For almost a decade, she gave us a sanctuary and community I never knew we wanted or needed.

Unlike me, my husband Bob is a gear head. He obsessively saved every penny to buy a Ford Mustang at age 15, and spent too many precious teenage hours working on it. He loves fishing—river, lake and ocean. And he grew up in the seaport town of Boston. “I don’t know why I love the ocean—I think it’s in my blood.” Tracing his ancestors, he found he descends from a line of English-American shipbuilders. 

Young Bob admiring boats (1960s)

On leisurely walks in San Francisco or seaside towns, Bob would always suggest wandering around boat marinas. My mind would drift as he’d verbally admire masts, motors and downriggers.

“Someday, I’d love to have a boat.”

He’s probably said this a million times. But in 2013, I heard it differently. Maybe it was that he had just turned 50. Maybe it was Northern California’s clean spring air.

“So when is someday?” I asked. “If you really want to have a boat, let’s figure out how to get one.”

Later that night, Bob scooted next to me with his laptop to show me photos of boats for sale. “I thought you wanted a sailboat?” I asked. Several years prior, I had gifted him sailing lessons at a nearby harbor. He loved sailing—so much so that several times he gathered friends to collectively rent a sailboat for the weekend to explore the San Francisco Bay.

Buying the Pursuit (2013)

“Nope, love sailboats, but too much work. I want something we can enjoy with friends and use for fishing.” He continued with other gear head preferences like diesel power and dual inboard motors.

The next weekend, we visited a handful of the boats from the photos. Walking on the dock towards the Pursuit, I remember thinking it was enormous. I wondered how one could possibly parallel park such a thing. When I was aboard, something told me this would be the one. 

Bob knew exactly what he wanted.

It was as if he just needed permission. I gave it to him.

Our offer was accepted. In a few weeks, we were her owner. 

I was a complete boat novice. “Grab the rope on the starboard side,” Bob would say. 

Bob & Jodi on the Pursuit (2013)

“Is that left or right?” I’d wonder. 

But we both had much to learn. We spent our first weekends with a captain who taught us how to operate the machine, and importantly how to park it. 

On our first solo cruise solo, we were summoned by the U.S. Coast Guard. “Where do we pull over?” I yelled when in shouting distance. As two armed men asked permission to board our boat, I wondered what we had done wrong. Nothing, they explained. It was the morning of July Fourth—just a routine check. They went through their checklist—from life jackets to lawfully displayed placards to fire extinguishers. 

Fortunately, we passed the new boat owner scavenger hunt.

With the America’s Cup trophy (2013)

Taking our new hobby seriously, we each decided to pursue our captain’s license. Bob and I had never been in school together. He excelled in the practical deck questions; I excelled at chart navigation. We both fumbled through the nuances of lights, horn signaling and right-of-ways. I made flashcards. Bob rolled his eyes. We wouldn’t have passed our exams without them.

In September 2013, San Francisco hosted what ended up being the most epic America’s Cup. We watched every race on the Bay—from the event’s Embarcadero headquarters during the week and from our own boat on the weekend—followed by the televised recap each evening. 

I now understood the terminology. I could read a tidal map. I had grown to know the wind patterns of the Bay. And for a month, the 34th America’s Cup battle between Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand became my unexpected obsession. 

Afternoon cruise aboard the Pursuit (2017)

While I loved being out on the water, my favorite moments on The Boat were at the dock. 

It hadn’t occurred to me that where the boat was docked would matter.

It was everything.

Sausalito Yacht Harbor is the southern-most marina in the town of Sausalito. It was a 12-minute drive from our San Francisco home. It’s a five-minute walk to the San Francisco Bay Ferry, the Sausalito Yacht Club, and cafes, restaurants, ice cream parlors, book stores and art galleries. 

Sausalito is tourist-central on sunny summer weekends. As locals, we know the quiet times. We enjoy morning coffee at the park; afterward, we walk the Sausalito hills. By lunchtime, we retire to The Boat moored at D-dock. Friends might join us for an afternoon cruise; I might lay out on the back deck and fall asleep in my book. 

Sydney on the Pursuit (2014)

Our French Bulldog Sydney—most likely napping next to me—suddenly stands alert hearing a bark from one of her two D-dock friends—fellow French Bulldogs, Bruno and Bella. We wander out onto the dock and chit-chat with the dog owners and our human friends, Jim and Lisa. Someone suggests having a glass of wine. We order pizza from one of the nearby restaurants. We open another bottle of wine as the fiery sun sets and the dogs snore.

I’d return to work on Monday feeling like I returned from vacation. The early days of our owning The Boat were difficult for me career-wise. At the office, I could no longer be myself; The Boat became my sanctuary. I quit my job and changed career directions. The Boat was sometimes my midweek office. On it, I wrote my first blog post and met with the CEO founder which became my first private impact investment.

On a quiet midweek afternoon, I realized the boat of Bob’s dream had become mine as well.

The beauty of The Boat is the lack of schedule. But 6:00 pm Friday (Memorial Day through Labor Day) is always a highlight on the calendar—Friday Night Jazz.

On a patch of grass on the Sausalito waterfront, we spread out blankets and low folding tabletops and unpack gourmet eats and wine. Sometimes Bob and I invite friends to join us; other times we just show up with Sydney in tow and find familiar sun-drenched faces. The music becomes the backdrop to conversation and Sausalito people watching—from the high-ends sitting around a candelabra at the table next to us, to the half-naked man dancing to the beat of his own music. As the sun and music set, the wind picks up and we bundle ourselves in fleeces, packing up our gear while trying to keep Sydney from enjoying the smorgasbord of dropped food.

Friday Night Jazz in Sausalito (2019)

Over the years, we collectively nickname our growing and deepening friend group “The Saucy Posse.” We’re teachers, technologists, wealth advisors, writers, and consultants. Outside of Friday Night Jazz, we join each other in global travels, celebrate milestone birthdays, and console each other through life difficulties.

A love of Sausalito brings this special friend group together. 

On one of these laughter-filled evenings, we realize The Boat is more than fishing and relaxation. It gifted us a community we didn’t realize we needed.

COVID hits and later wanes. The tourists return to Sausalito and Friday Night Jazz returns to its sunny patch of grass. The Pursuit still glistens above the water on D-dock at Sausalito Yacht Harbor.

Bob & Jodi with the Pursuit, Sausalito Yacht Club (2018)

The Boat remains my special place. I still love basking in the sun with a book and viewing the stars from the roof hatch above our bed. Many of our boat neighbors have moved on, including Sydney’s French Bulldog friends. The Saucy Posse has dispersed—across Marin, California, and the East Coast. 

Our lives and schedules have changed as well. 

With high demand for special boats like the Pursuit, putting her up for sale is the practical choice. We imagine the next owners. We wonder what they will experience. 

They might realize a dream. Find a sanctuary. Meet life-long friends. Or experience something entirely different that is unimaginable to them today.

The Pursuit. Yes, the name is entirely descriptive.

But I’ll always see the philosophical. The Boat took us to many places. But it was never about the destination. 

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Jodi Morris Written by:

Venture Guide to High-Achieving Seekers. Success Coach. Venture Travel Curator. Impact Investor. Traveler. Writer. Global Connector. When we connect to others' stories it changes our own. Let's Venture!