2020 started out great. Solidly on point.

January sailing trip to Cuba? Spectacular. February jaunt to the Miami Boat show? So fun! We even snuck off to Tucson so Charles could get his Global Entry certification in preparation for our epic 2020 travel year. By early March we were on cruise control awaiting the next big adventure in May: An eagerly anticipated Guadeloupe to Martinique sail captained by our friend Dave.

Anyone want to guess what happened next? Anyone?

Never mind. It’s obvious. That May trip was canceled (ultimately twice) along with trips to the San Juan Islands and Greece.  I’ll stop right there recounting this “hardship” introduced into our pampered, entitled existence, because missing a couple of vacations doesn’t hold a candle to what others lost in 2020 with a pandemic that continues to shape our daily lives.

I’ll just skip to the point. My 2020 Sailing Resolutions fell a bit short. Last year my intention was to focus on sustainability, skills, safety, and service. I am not sure I did much of anything on those fronts. I suppose we did purify our own water using a Lifestraw Mission water purification system in Cuba, and I forced myself to be on the anchor side versus the driving side of anchoring, so that was good.

Otherwise, I kind of checked out.

But no sense in dwelling on what wasn’t accomplished when we have a brand-new year to usher in and an old troublesome one to kick to the curb.  I love New Year’s resolutions and their fresh start vibe, so I am going to lay out these intentions like they will actually happen. Ready, set, go!

Quiero Aprendar Español

At least enough to have a competent conversation. I need to stop being so lazy and expect those in other countries to speak English or to rely entirely on my husband as our translator. Despite multiple high school and college Spanish classes, I can only muster pointless phrases like “I eat a lot of bread” and this needs to change. No time like the present as we have our first 2021 sailing trip planned to Mallorca in late April/early May. This will be our longest sailing trip and I seriously cannot wait to see this beautiful island and show off my marginal-at-best Spanish speaking skills. Stay tuned!

Just Build it Already

When did I become such a procrastinator? Maybe not that exactly, but definitely an “avoider”. I have a bunch of exciting plans mapped out to expand my website search capabilities (guys, SailSearch really is pretty cool…) and compile other charter sailing resources that don’t seem to exist. So why haven’t I done it? Dunno.  I think the idea of taking on big challenges – especially in a challenging year – had me stuck. In 2021, I aim to fix that.

Get Serious About Boat Ownership

My husband and I have been lurking around boat shows and gobbling up data on the many ownership opportunities offered up by charter companies, but we haven’t committed because of our unknown future schedules. We love the idea of saving money on charter sailing by becoming an owner, and are even considering the option of keeping the boat when all is said and done. More research is needed, but I will say that we chose Dream Yacht Charter for our Mallorca trip so we can test-drive this charter company AND sail one of the Dufour Yachts that we are considering. Will we pull the trigger this year? Not sure, but we are inching ever closer to that possibility and 2021 just might be when it happens. Hopefully, the Annapolis Sailboat Show in October will happen again this year and we can fully immerse ourselves in the possibilities.


This one is a bit obvious I suppose, but after 2020 I don’t want to leave anything to chance so I am writing it down. I want to get back out on the water and sail. I want the excitement and the serenity of sailing, the chance to get away, connect, and reflect. This year (finger’s crossed) it will be Mallorca in May, Guadeloupe to Martinique in July, and Dubrovnik in October.

Let Go

If 2020 taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. Sailing is like that sometimes and, no doubt, so is life. As I look down the road into 2021 I really don’t know how a few things – some of them pretty big things – are going to pan out. I suppose I know how I’d like for things to happen on a few fronts, but not everything is within my control. That’s ok.

What I do know is that change is on the horizon and I need to practice gratitude, steer the ship to the best of my ability, and learn to gracefully let go of a few things that mattered once upon a time.

After all, there are only a handful of things that matter anyway, and for now, I’ve got those in spades. I am a lucky girl.

Wishing those things for you in 2021: Good health, security, and loving relationships whatever form they may take. Be well friends, and Happy New Year!

Lea Maxwell

Lea Maxwell is the sailor and scribe behind Escape Under Sail, a web|blog project that connects new and future bareboat sailors with the resources, information, and motivation they need to competently and confidently sail beautiful destinations around the world.

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