If one more person tells me to focus, I'm not sure what I will say. Anyone who has ever spent more than ten minutes with me undoubtedly will say, "focus, Marlene Focus." It's as if my name is no longer Marlene Anne Sassaman, but rather it is Focus Marlene Focus. On the one tack it is amusing as my challenge with staying focused crosses all that I do. Whether cleaning out my closet, writing an important report for work, cruising the Intracoastal Waterway, racing in a highly competitive regatta, or working out at the gym. On the other tack, it is the cause of my failure in life to achieve what I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about.

Take for example, my desire to become a professional writer. As a result of this quest it made sense to me to write about my passion, sailing. To set my adventures apart from the Tania Aebi and Jessica Watson's of the world, I decided to 'focus' on what I could accomplish as a sailor in her sixties. Afterall, as my blog attests, I am a good 45 years beyond the title of youngest solo circumnavigator, so shooting for the title of oldest is at least within the realm of possibilities. Solo circumnavigation is a recurring theme in my day dreams, during rem sleep, and even in a nightmare or two.

After 18 months of committing to my solo adventure, the plan for a circumnavigation is still elusive. It is like a rainbow, something I can clearly see yet too far out of reach and too abstract to touch. The decision to start a blog was based on the premise that (a) I would gain experience writing, (b) get constructive feedback from friends, (c) get my name out as an accomplished writer. Why have I not published a single article during this year and half beginning? I don't know except that it seems I run out of time each day.

In order to be accepted as a sailor I have to get some accolades under my sails. So, I practice, get coached, and read what I can to improve my finishes. To finish at the front of the fleet demands a certain level of fitness. To meet the physical demands of the sport I work out from 1 - 2 hours, 4 days a week. Then, there are two days a week when I am actively sailing. Rarely do I have a completely sedentary day.

Then, I work 40 hours a week at a job that is unrelated to my sailing. The only exception is a field trip to the Melbourne Yacht Club that I am hosting for ten third grade gifted students.Certainly, I can write about this experience. What annoys me, though, is that I still haven't written about my two solo sailing adventures; in 2008 I spent 5 weeks cruising Abaco in the Bahams. Then, in 2009 I solo sailed the ICW (with 3 nights offshore) from Palm Bay, Florida to Chesapeake City.

I weekly train with an all women's sailing team, racing once a month. Add to that our match racing that we participate in three times a year. As if that doesn't consume enough of my time, I have more than 2000 pictures to sort to complement my articles. Geez, I'm getting dizzy just writing about all these things I am doing. Maybe tomorrow I'll go to the courthouse and officially change my name to Focus Marlene Focus. What do you think?

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Comment by Pat S/V Ciao! on January 8, 2010 at 7:08pm
Nice writing and great thoughts keep writing, Pat
Comment by sailorgirlca on January 7, 2010 at 6:37pm
very good Marlene....can certainly identify with you ......won't even deign to tell you to focus....have been trying that for the past few years & in's a great objective ....however, in practice...doesn't alway work that well. I am a solo sailor hoping to sell my boat this spring & move into the next phase of my sailing much to little time........never mind will all get done & work out for both of us......
Comment by CAN DRAC on January 6, 2010 at 1:19am
Love your blog, Marlene. Tell us about your sailing!

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