We first met in November 1996 as a blind date, fell in Love and were married in February 1997, just three short months since our first meeting. Since then we have been blessed with good health and a blended family consisting of one girl and four boys.
Living in East Tennessee provides us with a huge outdoor playground. We are surrounded by lakes, State and National Parks, with The Great Smoky Mountains National Park just fifteen miles away. We have always taken advantage of this luxury and enjoy all types of outdoor activities. We welcome adventure and regularly enjoy hiking, backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, floating the river in inner tubes, bike riding and running.
In October 2013 Renee found an advertisement for an adult learn to sail class that was being held at the Concord Yacht Club locally in Knoxville Tennessee. Renee thought it would be fun and suggested we take the class. Growing up in and around Annapolis, Maryland I had previously enjoyed sailing and immediately said I’m in.
We took the class, had a great time and decided to enroll in a six week US Sailing – 101 Basic Keelboat class that was being offered the following spring. In March 2014 we completed the 101 class and both got the fever to sail more. For Renee to have never been sailing before, she seemed a natural and picked it up very quickly. You not only have to learn to sail the boat (easy part), but there is an entire vocabulary that has to be mastered where words seem to have absolutely nothing to do with the objects they are describing.
We decided that we needed additional instruction and found the Smarter Sail sailing school located in St. Petersburg, Florida. In May 2015 we completed the American Sailing Association classes 101, 103 and 104 then followed it up with a four-day charter. This was the first time we had been on a boat sailing all by ourselves.
Later that year we were invited to be part of a twelve-day charter in the British Virgin Islands. So in August we were off to the BVI where we enjoyed the beautiful waters of the Caribbean and wondered what it would be like to do this every day. After all, there are people that enjoy this type of lifestyle, why not us?
We began reading books written by others who are doing just what we were thinking about and began following several others that had been keeping blogs about their adventures. We decided that we were going to give this a try knowing it will be challenging, but no doubt a great adventure. But how do we get there from everyday normal living with fulltime jobs, a house and two cars? It actually fell into place easier than we had thought. We sold our house and everything we owned (that our children did not want) and in September 2016, purchased a Beneteau 40 sailboat.
Purchasing a sailboat comes with its set of logistics, problems and concerns. We worked through all of them and knew we wanted to rename the boat to make it our own. After kicking around several different names we decided on 5KNOTS. Not because of any speed deficiency the boat had, but rather because of our five children. They are the knots that hold us all together. Knowing about the superstitions of renaming a vessel, we had a renaming party to satisfy Poseidon and Neptune, the gods of the sea.
We both gave our employers notice of what we were up to and they wished us well. Time to sail away, Game on!
Our 5KNOTS – Anthony, Nick, Jesse, Melissa and Cole