About Hazel James
Ladies first. Sailing vessel (s/v) Hazel James is a 1990 Pacific Seacraft 31 that I acquired in 2017 in Brunswick GA. For several years I worked on upgrading her systems and sailed her locally in South Florida. In 2020 I single-handedly sailed Hazel from South Florida to The Bahamas and Caribbean, and back again. In 2021, Rhett and I had two voyages on Hazel. The first to The Bahamas and the second to Maine.
Hazel is 31’ long with a 10’ beam (width) and 5’ draft (needs 5’ of water to float in). Her displacement (weight unladen) is 11,000 lbs of which 4,400 lbs is lead in the bottom of her keel. She carries 70 gallons of fresh water and is outfitted with a water-maker to convert seawater into potable water. Fully provisioned, she carries 2 months of food, and electricity is provided by solar panels. As of November 2021, Rhett and I are doing some regular maintenance and upgrades on her, preparing to set sail for The Bahamas and well-south into the Caribbean shortly after the 2021 Christmas holiday..
She’s classy and classic and ready for the voyage.
I was born in Charleston, SC and my father was career Air Force so we lived all over the world before he retired in Atlanta, GA. I grew up watching the Thunderbirds with awe and still get a bit teary anytime I see a flag or hear a patriotic song. I’m a southern girl through and through. No matter where we were stationed, be it Colorado or Texas (2 of our assignments) we piled in the car every summer and Christmas and drove “home” to be with our family in Atlanta and Charleston.
The first time I was on a sailboat it was Hazel James on Memorial Day weekend 2020, and I loved it (or I was completely smitten with the captain, or both!). I was confused that there was not a shower or a place to blow out my hair and was not sure where all my shoes were going to fit, but again I was quite captivated by the captain, so these were details that would work themselves out I felt sure.
Dan Coate swept into my life and swept me right into this new one with such an amazing love story. My friend recently said to me, “You always believed in the fairy tale and it really has come true…instead of riding in on a white horse, your’s sailed in on a sailboat”. I’ll come back to this…
I got an undergraduate degree in Business Admin from Georgia Southern University, and a Masters of Arts in Psychology and Ed.S. in Community Counseling from University of West Georgia. I spent the last couple of decades working in Behavioral Health and Addiction most recently working for a wonderful facility in the non-profit sector called Wayside House…truly a magical and holy place. This was also my introduction to Dan through the loss of Colleen. As I learned more about her through Dan, I thought that she and I would have been great friends had e ever met. Dan has so beautifully shared her joys and her pain and I walked a similar road so my heart knew hers. I have been blessed with the gift of long term recovery since December 14, 1999. While I’ve retired from Wayside House, my therapy dachshund Sunny continues her important work there.
Back to this delightful love story… actually Dan tells the story as a part of the book Heeling is Healing that he is writing (how’s that for a shameless plug?).
I’ve received such a loving and warm welcome from all of Dan’s family and friends and I look forward to getting to know the rest of you. To my family and friends I am so grateful for your love and well wishes and I am thrilled you are going to follow along with us through Dan’s blog!
Fair winds and following seas (yes I am learning sailor speak!)
About Me (Dan Coate)
I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and grew-up sailing small boats in Western New York state on Chautauqua Lake. “Sailing” included day sails, racing, teaching sailing lessons and—in the winter—rebuilding old boats and building new boats, first with my dad and then with my son. My late-wife Colleen and started dating in 1988 and married in 1990 on the shores of Chautauqua Lake. We were married for 29 years and raised 2 wonderful kids in Pittsburgh, Bangalore India and Pompano Beach FLorida. I try to give back by being an active platelet donor and volunteer at a local hospice with our three dogs. I earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from Penn State and an MBA from Pitt and focused my career on healthcare IT and managment consulting. I was fortunate to work for Arthur Andersen and First Consulting Group before helping found Aspen Advsiors which later joined forces with The Chartis Group. While I love my career and clients, I especially love my colleagues at Chartis. With all that being said, I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life. I’ve learned that none of us knows how many chapters we have left.
Watercolor courtesy of Dr. Helen Ding. I was kayaking in Royal Island Harbor, Eleuthera, The Bahamas in 2020 and I got to talking to Helen and her partner Kirk on their 47’ catamaran. They invited me onboard to chat and during the conversation, Helen painted this. What a talent.