Michael J. Fitzgerald has been a journalist for 40 years, working as a writer and editor for newspapers, magazines and web publications. In 2014 he published the novel, "The Fracking War." In 2015, he published his second novel, "Fracking Justice." He writes or contributes to five blogs. He and his wife Sylvia Fox are the owners and principal partners in *subject2change Media, a multi-media firm involved in print, video and broadcast. He writes a weekly column, "Write On" for the daily 'Finger Lakes Times' newspaper in Geneva, NY. He was a journalism professor at CSU Sacramento from 1986 to 2011 teaching Newswriting, Column Writing and Magazine Writing.
ALAMEDA, Calif. - The long cruise of Sabbatical - with the Admiral and I at the helm - is coming to and end, at least for now. Former owner (and builder!) of the ship, Don Tiffin, will be coming in sometime this summer and reclaiming his creation to take to Australia, where he is now anchored aboard his boat Aquavit, a nice Tayana 42.
A good boat, Don says, but definitely notSabbatical.
Don has asked to buy Sabbatical back several times. This time, we realized, that with everything else going on (retirement from the university, possible new careers, building houses in Mexico), Sabbatical needs someone who will sail her, not just leave her tied to a dock.
And Don will do that.
The beginnings of this happened last fall when Don flew in to help us to the haulout on Sabbatical. He and Sabbatical Chief Engineer Scott Noble did a fine job getting the boat ready for more cruising. But since we brought the boat back from Mexico, I've logged only a couple of overnight cruises and very few daysails.
That will not happen with Don back at the helm.
Incidentally, if anyone reading this wants to take the voyage of a lifetime, contact me, as I know Don will be looking for crew to help him cross the Pacific, sometime this summer. Sabbatical is about the only vessel (short of a cruise ship) I would consider taking on that trip.
Scotty & Don trying to fit a new propeller on Sabbatical
Close readers noted that in the first paragraph I said "at least for now." That's because we've offered Don his own hammock at Casa Admirale when he finally gives up the sea and, of course, we will be happy to take Sabbatical back into the family at that time. We always said we thought that we didn't really buy Sabbatical - it was an adoption.
We bought the ship in 2001, eventually leaving for Mexico in the fall of 2002, delayed by my neck problems. We sailed down the Baja coast, crossed the Sea of Cortez cruising as far south as Zihuatenejo before returning to San Francisco more than a year ago. Along the way we encountered sometimes wild seas and weather, incredible sea life (whales, dolphins, rays, and a few sharks), met hundreds of great people cruising and fell in love with one spot where we anchored many times in Mexico - Tenacatita Bay. We kept returning to that bay as we traveled the Costa Alegre from Zihuatenejo to Mazatlan.
When Don gets done cruising, we hope he takes us up on the offer of moving into Casa Admiral in Tenacatita.