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The Accidental Sailor Girl & her Runaway Adventures

February 3, 2015

Can you imagine setting off to sea, just you and your significant other, to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a wooden sailboat? I have to admit, I don't think I have the nerve needed for such an undertaking, not considering all the things that could go wrong, from leaks to mechanical breakdowns to seasickness.

(Norna, a sailboat built for adventure. Photo (c) Kourtney Patterson.)

 

Maybe that's why I'm so fascinated by the runaway adventures and island explorations of Kourtney Patterson, "the accidental sailor girl." After discovering her You Tube videos, I downloaded her book, Accidental Sailor Girl, from Amazon (only $3.50, wow) and was absolutely mesmerized by this tale of real life discovery and growth.

(The sailor girl exploring. Photo (c) Kourtney Patterson.)

 

Kourtney did not grow up with years upon years of sailing experience to give her courage and confidence to make a trans-Atlantic sea voyage. In fact, she learned to sail in her 20s, after becoming almost homeless in St. Augustine on the eastern coast of Florida. Soon she acquired her own sailboat, which she lived aboard. Eventually, with her boyfriend Pete, she moved onto Norna, a hardy wooden vessel which they shared and sailed as far away as the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa.

(The Norna carried them to exotic places. Photo (c) Kourtney Patterson.)

 

As I read through her story, with its hand-drawn maps and photographs of her life, the charms and challenges of the sailing life won me over. Although I know practically nothing about sailboats, Norna, "the 37 foot wooden gaff-rigged cutter with a square sail," captured my imagination with the way she carried Kourtney and Pete safely across the wide ocean.

(Accidental Sailor Girl, Kourtney's book)

 

Their traveling tales lead from Bermuda to Spain and Portugal's Berlinga Islands, from Corsica to the Balearic isle of Menorca and then down to the African coast. You might also enjoy hearing about their adventures in the Caribbean, including landfall on Grenada, and time spent on beautiful spots like Dominica and the Virgin Islands.

 

I could tell you much more about this true-life adventurer, but the truth is Kourtney expresses it best in her own words and images. Here's a video of the sailor from her You Tube channel:

 

You'll find lots more of her videos on You Tube, including footage of Norna sailing the Atlantic. One of my favorite things about them? Sometimes you get to hear Kourtney and Pete play musical instruments. They're really good! I have to confess I've watched quite a few of these. These videos make a nice companion to the book, Accidental Sailor Girl. (By the way, if you prefer a real, hold-in-your-hands volume, Kourtney also has paperbacks.)

 

Watching these adventures makes me wonder: could I live aboard a sailboat? Could I learn to sail and travel over water to islands like Eleuthera and St. Martin? That still remains to be seen, but it sure is nice to dream...

 

Have you ever sailed for a long sea voyage? Are you curious about that lifestyle? You can connect with Kourtney on her Facebook page, Accidental Sailor Girl. Have a great day, fellow Island Runaways!

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