A lifelong love of the sea
Paula and John Dennis are heading out on a year-long sail around North America
When the land disappears behind John Dennis of Stratford, he is truly happy.
John and his wife Paula, along with their dog, Spot, will once again get to experience that feeling as they get set to leave for a one-year excursion circumnavigating eastern North America in their power cruiser.
“Nothing is better than sailing or being on the water,” said John.
This is not their first voyage. The couple has sailed in many different parts of the world, including the British Isles, the Mediterranean and numerous trips down to the Caribbean.
“Sailing on your own little boat, going to many different countries on your own little home is the greatest way to travel,” said John.
Their first trip was in October 1981, when they sailed to Newport, R.I., down to Bermuda and the Caribbean. That voyage developed into a lifelong love of travelling and being at sea.
“Our poor parents, they figured we would get it out of our system doing that, come home and have babies and stuff... All we wanted to do is just travel,” said John.
This sail, through the socalled Great Loop, will take the Dennises through the St. Lawrence, Chicago, Alabama, Florida and on to the Bahamas.
The trip is between 8,00012,000 kilometres. John figures it will cost the couple $1,000 a month in gas alone.
They will head down to Florida around December — after hurricane season — and will stay there and the Bahamas during the winter months. In April, they will start their trek back home along the east coast of the United States.
This trip will be a little more relaxing for John and Paula, as they are taking a 34-foot power cruiser versus the 42foot sail boat they took for all their previous trips.
“This is just going to be a little more leisurely,” said Paula. “It’s going to be all coastal cruising.”
The only concern that John has is the engine in the cruiser, which is 34 years old.
“With a sailboat, you have sails. But if that engine quits, I’ve got to fix it or somebody has to fix it, or we have to put a new one in,” he said. “The more you know about an engine, the less you trust it.”
When John and Paula make their way back into the Charlottetown Yacht Club, they say it’s the most beautiful harbour of any place they have been.
“There are some beautiful spots but there is something about this natural harbour that is just incredible,” said Paula. “Even going away for a year is just going to make us appreciate this so much more when we get back.”
Paula and John Dennis of Stratford are getting ready to take their power cruiser on a one-year sail down the east coast of North America.