The Unsung Hero

After docking in Virginia, our crew took a few days off in D.C., while I bolted back to Massachusetts so I could be in my cousin’s wedding. The wedding was phenomenal and I was able to spend some quality family time, meet some awesome new people, and learn a thing or two about Polish tradition. Congratulations Douglas and Ela Miller! Love you guys to death.

This post is focused, however, on the unsung hero of this journey across the sea. His name is Earl Sandford, and he deserves some serious recognition. Earl Sandford is my father and the owner of Eagle Wings. Two years ago after a day sail, I turned to him and said, “I want to sail to the Bahamas from Maine when I graduate.” He raised an eyebrow, smiled, and said “Okay.”

He proceeded to pour hours of preparation into the boat before I even began to do my part of repairs and navigation. The fact alone that he let me experience this adventure is amazing enough.

When I began this trip a couple weeks ago, I knew how much I still needed to learn, and I knew who the best possible guide would be for the beginning of this voyage. Once again, my dad took time out of his unbelievably packed schedule to teach me the ropes and be a shadowing fallback for the first legs of the trip. He coached me through many dangerous situations, but he also let me have my freedom to handle situations on my own simply by being an encouraging sailing veteran at my side.

It seems only right to give credit where credit is due. We may have had our differences of methods, but there is no way I could have gained the experience to charter this trip on my own without my dad’s guidance and words of wisdom over the past couple of weeks. I could not have survived these first legs of this journey without his advice.

While my dad was still aboard near the end of our last leg, he began to feel really sick. We thought it was food poisoning, but I ended up having to rush him to the hospital. It turned out he was suffering from appendicitis, and he was operated on that morning. The highlight of the night had to be Bobby and my absolutely ridiculous visitor passes.

IMG_20150610_244744926After hours in the emergency room, a night in the hospital, and an operation the next morning, his first question was when we could leave for Massachusetts in order to get to my cousin’s wedding in a timely fashion. I have never met a more loyal, caring, and tough-skinned individual than my father, and I greatly admire his love for his family and his generous attitude. So as I sail on with my crew, I salute you, dad, and thanks for giving me the tools and the skills to skipper Eagle Wings and continue the adventure of a lifetime.


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