A little money saving, a little team work and a lot of good will, add up to an unforgettable trip that bonds some friends for life. Words and Images by Naguib Kerba

What’s on your ‘bucket list’? One of my favourite ‘bucket list’ items was only there for two weeks before the dream was scheduled for reality.

My friend Ron and I were having lunch and he shared pictures from his vacation in the Virgin Islands. He and his wife had chartered a sailboat and cruised around the islands for a week. I was turning green with envy and said, “I wish I could do that.”

A week later, Ron approached me about an idea, our group of work buddies at Sears would go on a dream sailing trip. None of us could afford the $5,000 weekly rental for the sailboat. Collectively though, if we managed to each save “coffee money”, between $40 to $50 dollars a month, we would have enough money to fly down to the islands, charter the boat and pay for all the food and drink we’d need for ten days. Chemistry is important, so we started with four guys  in a 30? sailboat. But, before long, it became seven guys in a 52? Beneteau, the biggest and sleekest boat in the fleet.

There was only one hurdle: sailing; only two guys, Ron and Jim, had any experience whatsoever. So Ron and Jim took  us to school and we learned the difference between running and standing rigging and points of sail and anchoring…

As the designated photographer, I researched sailing and travel magazines and one image caught my eye, taken from the top of a mast, it showed the full length of their boat. I was going to duplicate that shot! Problem – I’m afraid of  heights.

Five days into our dream trip, “the shot” opportunity presented itself. Ron, our skipper, would go first to ensure that  the process for hoisting me up went smoothly. It did.

Jimmy went next, then Ed and finally my turn came, I got into the Bosun’s seat and tied the main sail line around it. A second line was wrapped around my waist as a safety. Then I was hoisted up the mast At first I grabbed the mast very tightly, but while being hoisted, it came to me, I’m not afraid of heights, I was afraid of falling. The two lines around my  waist made me comfortable and the people hoisting me were people I trusted with my life.

Once up I saw that my feet were in the way, I needed to go horizontal leaning out balanced on my stomach my legs  wrapped around the mast and then a power launch passed by rocking the deck and sending me 65? up the mast slapping back and forth like crazy. In my life, I’ve never squeezed anything more tightly than that mast. And we’ve been talking about that trip for 20 years. Now, what’s keeping you?

Naguib Kerba lives in Sheridan Homelands and is a Certified Financial Planner and Branch Manager at IPC Investment Corporation. [email protected]