Cindy (3)We welcomed Cindy officially to Dolce Vento last week.  We are now a crew of three – Dorine, Captain; John, First Mate, and Cindy, Marine Technician and Second Mate.

We first met Cindy last year when she was assigned by our contractor to work on Dolce Vento.  Whether it be a clogged fuel vent, diesel engine oil change, head (aka toilet) installation, new plumbing fixtures at the galley sink, or diagnosis and repair of electrical outages, Cindy tenaciously worked to ‘make it right’ and taught us how to take care of it next time, always cheerful and optimistic no matter how deep into waste, water or oil she found herself.  This was a woman I wanted to know better.

One afternoon near the end of last season, while chatting in the cockpit letting the breeze blow through our hair while filling our fuel tanks in preparation for the winter, Cindy and I discovered our joint passions for sailing, writing, cribbage, and political analysis. We knew that the Gods had aligned the stars when they put us together.  I hatched an idea — why not join me and John as crew on our great sailing adventure.  My reasoning was simple: a third person aboard wouldcindy-and-john assure us expanded options for safe sailing as well as provide onboard expertise for all the diagnosis, maintenance and repair needs we know we will encounter.

What is eerie about all of this is that I had put my own career at her age on hold to do a sailing adventure.  Now, 20 years later I saw myself  reflected in Cindy — a woman willing to pursue her passion for sailing. However, there was one difference between me and Cindy.  At her age I had the resources — money, boat and sailing partner — to make it happen. Cindy had none of these advantages.  After learning her story, John and I are determined to help her fulfill her dream while we fulfill ours.

Six years ago, after 25 years as a single mom, Cindy succeeded in raising three healthy and stable kids, even though she struggled financially with little support the entire time and sacrificed what she wanted to do for them.  Now in her mid-40s, she realized she could pursue her dream and her kids want her to do it.  Her challenge was that she didn’t sail and had no way to earn enough money to buy a boat or pay off her education loans. But, this did not stop her.

After completing basic sailing and coastal cruising training, she put herself back in the class room to earn three ABYC (American Boat and Yacht Council) marine technician certifications — electrical, diesel and systems. Cindy isn’t intimidated by machines and systems like many of us women.  She decided to work her way into her dream of ocean circumnavigation sailing by working on “other people’s” boats.  She packed up her world and moved to Maryland from Massachusetts to take a job that would build her marine technician experience.  However, to take the next step, as with many life reinventions, she needed a creative solution.  That’s where John and I came into the picture.  We offered her the opportunity to live aboard, earn a stipend working with us for a year starting in October as we head south to Florida and beyond.  Cindy will work as a marine technician locally until the fall, but she needs gear and stuff that she can’t afford, so her daughter has created a “Go Fund Me” page to help her acquire the necessary gear.

I believe strongly that every woman, who has struggled and sacrificed for others, deserves to pursue her dream.  Simply put, for me this is a case of ‘paying it forward’ women helping women.  If you can, help us and her kids help Cindy prepare for her adventure on Dolce Vento at her “Go Fund Me Page“.