About Us

Soulmates     “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the tradewinds in your sails. Explore. Dream” – Mark Twain (stolen shamelessly from Merengue’s page)

Ahoy! We are Gene & Kay Jurrens. In the Summer, we lived aboard and sailed our little ship, a forty foot twenty-ton Island Trader motorsailer in Southeast Minnesota for several years (we’ve owned her for fourteen). Her name is “Sojourn” (MMSI 367329370).  In the Winter we lived in our condo in a “deep water” marina in Southwest Florida (“deep” is a very relative term, especially in SW Florida). Then in 2008 that changed.  

Kay retired from an accounting career five years ago. She wanted her playmate (me) back. So I decided to retire Spring 2008 from IBM after thirty-two years.

 Kay and I are excited to be hosting a blog. It started out as a centerpiece for our adventures on our grand old lady, Sojourn. In the summer and fall of 2008, we documented moving the boat from “up North” to “down South”. Now this blog is a great way to jot down some of the other adventures we’re enjoying in retirement, mostly for ourselves (when our memories fail us, we can read what we wrote, but a number of folks keep up with us on this blog – go figure!).

We enjoyed summers in Minnesota, less so the brutal winters we grew up with. That’s why we’ve been doing the “snow birding” thing for the last few years, spending Winters in Florida. I was very fortunate to have had a job that allowed me to work from wherever (thanks IBM!).

Now I am retired (gulp) which as we’ve shared with some of you, our family and friends, is both very exciting and very scary, especially with the world financial systems in the worst turmoil ever. We watch our 401k vicariously float up or sink down, kinda like a boat!

Our plan was to navigate “down the river” Summer 2008 (how hard can that be? see our “Itinerary” page) and arrive at Sojourn’s new home port in Southwest Florida some time after the end of the storm (hurricane) season in November, 2008. Did it. Even wrote a book about it (http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/invited/412790/2e41ecf40d75613bcaeb79e2e372ba63).  Took 87 days, including an unscheduled stop to wait for flooding and debris to subside, and a few brief stops along the way. I even wrote a damn book about the adventure. If you’re interested, check it out at http://www.blurb.com/books/520278/pages/6/.

Our dream now is to capture a few good years of cruising in the Bahamas & Caribbean Islands before getting our feet dry for awhile and heading out again. Ideally, we’d like to cruise (voyage & live aboard in different places) at least several months each year. This year we’re having some serious refitting performed on the boat (new pilothouse windows, etc.).

We’ve really enjoyed living vicariously through the cruising memories that others have created and are creating as we speak (Art & Jean on Samana, Bob & Margaret on Bellissimo, Darrell & Beth on L’Attitude Changer… see their blogs on our Favorite Sites page).  Now we’re creating a store of cruising and other retirement memories of our own. We’ve had a wonderful time chartering (thanks Doug & Marti), but Sojourn kept whispering in the dead of night that SHE wanted to go cruising WITH us! So be it. Neither of my ladies are to be denied! Now we’ve completed our first significant trip, and we have a whole new appreciation for those who had preceded us. We’re now making short trips, pursuing other diversions (flats fishing, kayaking, enjoying our Florida friends and neighbors), and this blog continues to grow, documenting some great memories.

We welcome your visit to our blog and look forward to your comments you might have either about this site. Even now that we have our first major trip behind us, we are learning EVERY day new stuff that surprises and astounds, much of which comes from many of you reading the blog. And living in Southwest Florida for the first time year round is an adventure every day!

Thanks for your encouragement, for sharing wisdom that you might have and thanks for being wonderful “cyber-neighbors” ! C’mon and cruise!

Gene & Kay

sojourn-lines.jpg

Responses

  1. Let the adventure(s) begin kids – this is just fantastic! We will have to hook up at your retirement coffee and then in FL after your journey … we will be watching the cruise from afar – aka MN!

  2. We look forward to following your journey down the river system to Florida. It is an experience you will never forget! We will be cruising ourselves somewhere. So far we are on island time in the Florida Keys the winter of 2007-08. We may meet you here next winter. Watch that word “may” since we are letting the winds blow us along. Fair winds and following seas once you get off the river system! Watch out for the cold fronts of November on the Gulf of Mexico.

  3. We are so happy to see her begin to take the trip she was made for. We had her built in 1982 and sailed up and down the eastern ICW spending most of the time on the Chesapeake till 1996. After retiring and finding we could no longer support her in the manner to which she had become accustomed, we sadly put her up for sale. The wonderful part of this story is that Gene and Kay found us. Parting was sorrowful but somehow we knew she was going to be loved as much as we did. Gene and Kay have been so wonderful in keeping in touch with us over the years allowiing us to continue our relationship with Sojourn. We are now “land cruising” and spend a lot of time in the Tampa area. We eagerly look forward to stepping on her sturdy decks again. Fair winds, our friends (all three of you).

  4. Hey
    What an adventure!
    We are looking forward to seeing you on the 25th!

    Good for you, Gene on taking your Coast guard courses–“Tow Boat” operator? You’re ready for anything, I’d say

    See you soon
    Kris

  5. We are very proud of you Gene and Kay that you will be living your dream, FINALLY!!!!!!

    Please take your time sailing to Florida, so your not rushed.

    We love you both, God bless you both.

    Trevor and Michelle

  6. Hi Guys;
    MSS is completely dead – most everyone gone. You’re probably aware that our temp is in 90s. Miles and I are enjoying the change. We will follow your adventure and keep you posted of any changes at MSS. Don’t forget the photos. Bob.

  7. Thanks for the update on Marina South Shore, Bob. Off season peace !!! Hi to Miles. Ciao !

  8. Hi Gene and Kay;
    We are just checking your progress – still scraping paint, I see. FYI BSM bank was broken into Saturday PM. No details but rather astounding with our fabulous security! Again, extremely quiet here – afternoon storms daily. Weak tornado hit Cape Coral (18 houses) roofs gone – but we’re all OK at BSM.
    Best regards. Bob

  9. Hi Kids!
    My goodness you have an impressive list/schedule … it’s that project mgr in each of you – serving you well!
    We are finally ‘home’ from all of our travels, company, etc for the rest of the summer. It has been a bit grueling but well worth it all in the end.
    Will explain later.
    We would love to stop by and lend a hand in any way we can now that we are HOME and certainly help send you off before you are off and sailing. What would work best for you and your schedule?

  10. Kay and Gene, thanks for the party. A great time was had by all. Good luck this week and keep us posted on the departure date. Safe Sojourn

  11. Hi Gene and Kay,
    We’re so happy for you guys and hope you have smooth sailing!
    God Bless,
    Rod and Carolyn

  12. Well, you’re finally off on your adventure. I’m thoroughly enjoying your postings and will keep monitoring to add to my “still work for retirement” life. Safe travels. Maggie

  13. Gang, thanks for the posts !!! It’s been a bit challenging to update the blog each day, but also a great way to keep a record of some neat memories we’re creating. And it’s neat to see folks checking in !!!!! Thanks and appreciate you doing so !! Gene & Kay

  14. Hey there Gene and Kay. Glad to see you’re getting along past Dubuque. I wondered about the fuel thing.

    I was worried you didn’t have a picture of our boat to remember us by. (kidding of course.) Of course you do, though in the background of a picture titled Keith on Four Winds in a slide show. 😉

    Dave

  15. Kay and Gene, loving the blog…… so well written I can sense the tension at those certain times, hear Kay speaking to the lock master, and feel the love of the adventure and joy the two of you are having. Keep it up. Maggie

  16. I wanted you to know that we are thinking about you and that we love you very much.

    Love Always
    Trevor
    Michelle
    Sadie girl
    Dalton
    Dakota (little man)

  17. Gene and Kay,
    The nightly routine is to finish working about 11:30pm – 12, log on and read the blog. Rod usually read at 3am when he gets up. So keep up the great blog and the pics….it sure is fun to read and share in your adventure.

    Carolyn

  18. Hey guys,
    We’re on our way too! Today finds us in Paducah, Ky.

    We left a little late its been cold, but still fun… we’re finally catching up to your blog

    Jay and Lori

  19. Rod and Carolyn, sorry I missed your post above. Thanks for checking in with us on the blog!

    Jay and Lori, congrats on starting “down the river”. Your two biggest challenges obviously will be mast height and draft. Also, know what your beam is, especially when you hit four point piling tie ups in Florida !! Good luck and stay warm!

  20. Hey Gene,
    Remember me from IBM? I just started boating a year ago and am already trying to figure out how to get my boat to Florida for the winter. Looks like I can learn alot from you. Was thinking about getting a condo in Florida with a slip to put the boat in. Any recommendations on good locations for condo’s + slips? (like, where is your condo?)

  21. Hey Charlie !! Let me think… IBM… hmmm… of COURSE I remember you. You kidding? In terms of where you want to bring your boat, depends on priorities (price, how quick you can get your boat to where you want to spend your time on the water, etc.). We chose NOT to try to buy waterfront property on a canal due to HIGH cost and HIGH maintenance (sea walls, etc.). We chose a condo in a marina community (Burnt Store Marina, Punta Gorda, FL). Cost-wise best. Can walk away seasonally or to go cruising for a few months – turn off water heater breaker, turn off water, walk away). Painless. If you have a power boat, more opportunities (no bridge clearance issues, more properties to choose from). Florida real estate is a STEAL right now. Buy before the Europeans buy it all up. email me if more questions that I can make up answers for you (gjurrens@aol.com). Cheers, Charlie !

  22. Hi guys, We have been living and cruising on a Irwin42 sailboat for 27 years but just bought a IslandTrader 40 also. I saw your site while surfing info about the IT 40. I sailed from Wash DC around the loop to the Quad Cities to pick up Gloria then we went down to Mobile. We spent the winter in Everglades City then up to DC for the hurricane season. Love to chat about the boat and any up-grades, I do boat work for a living.
    Dorp us an e-mail and we can exchange phone #s love to talk to you

  23. Hello i am joshua rathbun larry rathbun’s son. i wasn’t sure how to contact you so hopefully you will recieve this. he has passed away on jan. 10 from an accident. please contact me at 401-218-8243 as soon as possible. sincerely joshua rathbun.

  24. Awwwwww… family, shipmates and friends are all grieving from this mortal slap in the face.

    Not Larry, not now… Joshua, our thoughts and prayers, man.

    It was great talking with you today, sharing a few memories with each other.

  25. Hi Gene & Kay,

    So sorry to hear about your friend and travelmate. What a shock, life is so fragile! I just checked your blog to see if anything had changed and discovered it. Totally enjoyed following your journey and I’m looking forward to seeing where Sojourn takes you next! All is well in LC, if you call -30 this morning “well”! Think ice-out will be just a “little” later this spring.

    Take care,

    Gordo

  26. Thanks Gordo. Still dealing with it. I created a DVD with all the pics with Cap’n Larry from our travels together. They used on a big screen at the funeral home for the visitation. The family was genuinely touched per Larry’s son. I’m glad we could participate in a small way.
    Thanks for checking out the blog. Haven’t posted much lately. Working on the next book and getting the boat ready (new pilothouse windows, etc.). Cool here today too. My bare feet got chilled as I was hosing down my anchor chain and washing the boat (sorry!). Stay safe, well, and warm! Later, ‘gator!

  27. Decided to check your blog today. Sorry to hear about Larry. I know he was a help to you going home. Love ya guys!

  28. Thanks, Sis. Yeah, sucks. Take care…

  29. Gene/Kay, I’m so excited and a bit jealous of your journey. I remember when you first bought your beautiful boat 🙂 … Gene, the beautiful baby girl I had when I first met you as your secretary and during your Masters class (fond memories:) is now 16 years old, and is in need of an interesting person to interview about the Vietnam era for her American Studies Honors class. Would you be available by phone or email for her to contact you? Her project is due in 3 weeks so my apologies for the short notice. If you cannot or would rather not, I would understand. Thanks for considering this, and have a wonderful week!

  30. Hi Gene, greetings from an previous employee, “Mr Configurator”, Mike Lezovich. I’m on path to live the dream – living on the hook. We just signed the papers to sell our home – closing at the end of the month. Next step – find & buy a boat, find & move to a FL marina, stay there for 6 months, then who knows. Cheryl and I would love to talk to you and Kay sometime. Let me know if that work out for you.

  31. I see you made it down, well done. Florida as I remember it is like a dream compared to MN, lizards and rocket launches and palm trees can be a shock to one’s system. Ever head up the St. Johns River, the St. Croix of Florida? Again well done.

    ALEX RUSSELL

  32. Thanks for the comment, Alex. Havn’t made it to the St John’s yet, but once we get more far-flung cruising out of our system (spent six weeks in the Keys, just returned from a sailing charter for three weeks in Greece’s Cyclades Islands and the Saronic Gulf), we’re looking forward to exploring our new home in more detail. Ah, the St Croix… that brings back fond memories. Cheers. G

  33. Hi, fantastic boat ,is she still for sale? If so please call me @ 402 490 5146 or email.

    Best regards, Sergio

  34. Beautiful! Is she
    Still available?
    Charley

  35. We LOVE the boat! Having sailed the Abaco’s I can picture her anchored off of Green Turtle listening to the Cruisers Net. Is she still for sale? Please let us know.

    Jim and Bertha
    Email – jimmurray1@aol.com

  36. I just wanted to say that your website is great. This boat is a model for everything that i know i would enjoy in sailing and living aboard a great boat. Kudos and farewell.

  37. Thanks for the generous words, Shawn. A real compliment, not only as an obssessive-compulsive boat owner that I know and love, but also as an author and photographer. Thanks for the much-appreciated Kudos, but ‘farewell’?

  38. I would love to talk to you about the mast. How tall is it? Size? I have so many questions. I would really appreciate getting to talk about several things about your boat. I would like to upgrade also.
    Thanks,
    David


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