Sailing Esprit - A McWilliam Family Adventure
Sailing Esprit - A McWilliam Family Adventure

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Boulder City & Beyond

May 31, 2011

Greetings from Boulder City, Nevada, where we have a dove nesting in one of our pine trees – a peaceful site. Since we last wrote….in addition to fixing a myriad of plumbing & roof leaks, Chay killed a rattle snake in our drive way…Yikes….we’ve spent time with our daughter Amy & her family…the girls, Trinity & Tasha love their Uncle Jamie!!....Chay & Jamie have cleaned up a year’s worth of weeds & overgrowth in the yard….Jamie removed several barrel cacti from Amy & Beau’s yard and Chay transplanted them to our front yard which had died while we were gone cruising due to a failed irrigation valve – the yard now looks beautiful! Jamie & Katie are back in Taekwondo (karate) – Jamie is working towards his 3rd degree black belt and Katie towards her 1st degree black belt. Mr. Erdman, their instructor, is now working on getting Chay to join. Chay has been kept busy with inspections – our clients are glad he is back. We are focusing on marketing and building our business back up – a challenge in the current economic environment here in Southern Nevada.

We have had a chance to think about the past year and we have realized that since June 2010 we visited 8 countries by boat and 12 countries total - via planes, trains, automobiles, and of course, sailboat - we traveled around the world! We have now been on 6 of the 7 continents – the only one we haven’t been to is Antarctica. You can rest assured that when we visit Antarctica it probably won’t be on Esprit!

June 2011

June has been busy…we spent a week at The Big Red House - our cabin in Big Bear, CA – doing spring cleaning and maintenance, as well as just enjoying the absolutely beautiful weather! Chay is back to inspecting buildings, teaching classes, and cleaning out the old archived files, while Katie has been busy working on a new, improved website for our business ( On top of this, the business has been enjoying the unfortunate experience of an IRS audit. We celebrated Father’s Day with our daughter Amy and her family poolside at their home. We all had fun swimming, talking, and eating the yummy barbecue that Amy prepared! And of course, Chay & Beau enjoyed some of Chay’s special cigar collection. Jamie spent his extra-curricular time this month preparing for his first karate tournament in well over a year; he traveled to “Worlds” at Little Rock, Arkansas, without Mom & Dad this time (our first time “alone” in a long time), and apparently enjoyed his time with his karate instructor, Mr. Erdman. He was only 2 points away from the boy who took first place, who has been practicing for 3 years, while Jamie has only had 5 weeks to learn his new weapon form! Insert link to Bobby’s U-tube of Jamie Katie is enjoying being back in karate, however, now that she is sparring, she’s realizing it tough to get old. We have all enjoyed the wildlife of home, including the Big Horn sheep in our yard and the baby doves in our pine tree who have now left the nest. It’s over 100o F now in southern Nevada, but at least it’s a “dry heat.” We hope you have a great 4th of July!!

July 2011

July has been cooler & rainier than normal with lots of thunderstorms – the temperatures haven’t gotten higher than 107 degrees Fahrenheit. A thunderstorm came through one day and dropped the temperature to a very comfortable 80 degrees! To prevent water damage to our wood floors, we have to make sure we put a towel at the front door as soon as we hear the first thunder. The cars have been fussing, causing much exasperation for Chay, but he always gets them running smoothly again. Yes, no matter where you are, on land or sea, you have maintenance issues with your home and motor fleet. Our 4th of July celebration was great fun, from the Boulder City parade in the morning to the barbecue & pool time with Amy, Beau, Trinity & Tasha, to fireworks in the street and a view of the “big ones” in Veterans Park. We were treated to a visit from our New Zealand friends, Olga & Glenys – they attended Mass with us, then we drove over the new Hoover Dam by-pass bridge (another engineering marvel) and enjoyed the view of it from Hoover Dam, played with the Big Horn Sheep, and made an impromptu Pavlova (the New Zealand national dessert)! Olga & Jamie even enjoyed a swing on the play set in our back yard while we waited for the barbecue to be done.
Katie, Chay, Olga, Glenys & Jamie - New Zealand meets Las Vegas

Next on our social schedule was dinner with Fathers Bob & Bede at our place to show them our slideshow and to give them a big thank you for all their help on the Sri Lankan & Indian portions of our last sailing trip. We drove to Ventura, California, to visit Chay’s best friend from high school and his wife (Paul & Diane) and for Jamie to compete in a karate tournament. We even snuck in a visit to the Ventura boat show; after viewing several of the sailboats, we realized how much we love Esprit & why! It was great to spend time with Paul & Diane; Jamie took third place in forms & weapons, and judged two of the lower rank rings. Katie’s brother Jimmy & his wife Terry, along with a few of her family, were in town for their annual Las Vegas adventure, so we enjoyed a barbecue with them as well. On the business side of life, Chay has taught several continuing education classes for Realtors, we survived the IRS audit, and have been seeing an increase in business – probably a result of a price adjustment, “social networking”, and the real estate market picking up a bit. Jamie completed his Freshman year at Seton Home Study School – both student & teacher are celebrating the end of the year and are looking forward to their summer break! You come to appreciate what learning & education really mean when you do-it-yourself – it’s a truly rewarding experience. In the world of Taekwondo (karate), Jamie passed his final mid-term for 3rd Degree Black Belt with a perfect score, and will test for his 3rd Degree Black Belt in October; Katie learned all of her lower rank forms which allowed her to skip a belt, and to earn her Red Belt. All-in-all a very fun & productive month!

August, 2011

We finally had a heat wave with a few days of temperatures over 110 degrees Fahrenheit (~45 Degrees Celsius). For those of you in the tropics – yes, there is a big difference between our dry heat & your “wet” heat! We spent a few days in California in August and September which included karate tournaments, very productive work days at Big Bear, and wonderful visits with Chay’s mom (who is 87), sister, & niece. Katie’s mom turned 90 in August and we were able to share in her celebration in Buffalo, NY, along with all of Katie’s siblings and nieces & nephews – it was the first time we were all together in 10 years! We took a drive with “Grandma” to Forestville so she could visit her birthplace and show Jamie her old stomping grounds & to Fredonia where we visited one of her very first friends. We hope we are doing as well as our Mom’s are when we are their age! Chay & Jamie visited Mac’s Antique Automotive Parts Warehouse while we were there and picked up the tire inner tubes for Vicky - Chay’s first car – a 1931 Ford Victoria which he has owned since he was 14 years old! We also stopped at The Tinder Box, one of the best cigar stores we’ve ever been to; Chay enjoyed trying a new brand of Monte Cristo. Katie enjoyed visiting with her best friends from grade/high school and from college. We’ve been busy at work – there are days when we wish there were two of Chay! At the end of August, Chay & Jamie were off to Southern Utah on their annual camping/fishing trip – something they both were looking forward to. They had a great time camping, visiting Bryce Canyon, exploring Mammoth Caves, and of course fishing! They caught 22 trout! Our new school year has begun; it’s hard to believe Jamie is a sophomore in high school!

September 2011 – March 2012

Time has flown by…Jamie earned his 3rd degree black belt in karate…we enjoyed a mild Halloween night of trick or treating with our daughter Amy and son-in-law Beau and their family...Chay & Katie played soccer with Amy & Beau in an adult “fun” league & it was fantastic fun…
Silent Assassins - Chay, Katie, Amy, & Beau

Thanksgiving was celebrated in Big Bear, CA, where the snow came early and we were able to ski!...Because everyone had their own plans for Thanksgiving Day, we had an early Thanksgiving meal with Chay’s Mom and all the gang at Mom’s house in Fullerton, California…
The McWilliam Clan at Grandma McWilliam's House - Thanksgiving

Katie earned her 1st degree black belt in karate…
Jamie (3rd Degree Black Belt), Chay, & Katie (1st Degree Black Belt)

After spending Christmas in Thailand on the boat in 2010, we were all looking forward to our traditions of Christmas at home in Boulder City…decorating our traditional Christmas tree, village, and train layout, donning the house and yard with Christmas lights, and metamorphing the general home décor into a cozy Christmas wonderland…we were pleased that Chay’s sister Clancy and niece Marissa came from California to share Christmas with us and Amy & Beau’s family…they stayed through the 26th so were able to treat us all to a wonderful buffet for Chay’s birthday brunch...the birthday party continued that evening with Amy & Beau's family joining us for dinner and birthday cake. We had a quiet New Year’s eve celebration with movies, Chinese Rocks (yummy homemade cookies) and Champagne and continued our tradition of all sleeping in the living room on the
Jamie, Trinity, Chay, Tasha, and Amy listening to Chay read "The Night Before Christmas"

January brought the biggest change our family has had in a long time – as of December 31, 2011, we sold Criterium-McWilliam Engineers, LLC, which we had owned and grown since 1994. Several factors drove us to this decision – the depressed economy, partners who wanted to retire or needed a tax loss for personal reasons, and the fact that the partners were sacrificing their inspection pay to keep the business operating. Chay agreed to stay on for 2 months to help with the transition and is able to do inspections as a sub-contractor if he chooses to do so – however, come February 29th he was ready to be retired. Although Katie did not agree to stay on through the transition, she was still busy wrapping up the 2011 financial information and preparing the tax documents, and was emotionally ready to “retire” along with Chay on February 29th. While each of us, including Jamie, is going to have our own adjustments to make to the changes in our routine, we are looking forward to new adventures and a more relaxed lifestyle. We wonder what it will be like to cruise on Esprit without the worries of the business always lurking in the shadows.

Katie’s Mom and niece Sarah came for a visit in February and although Katie’s Mom (90 years young) moves a bit slower than she used to she still enjoys the casinos and a good game of Scrabble! Sarah enjoyed joining Jamie & Katie at karate. Katie flew home with her Mom to spend some time alone with her Mom – something she hasn’t done in 30 years! While there, her Mom experienced a TIA (mini-stroke) but, thank God, is doing fine now. We’ve also been able to enjoy several delightful visits with Chay’s Mom in California. Make the time to spend with family and friends – they are precious gems in our lives that are meant to be enjoyed.
Katie & her Mom playing the slots

One of the fun trips we made was to the Pomona swap meet – a huge car show and swap meet with plenty of antique cars and accessories to view. Jamie was in awe as we approached the fair grounds and saw thousands of spectator cars in the parking lot. There were hundreds of incredible cars from horseless carriages to antique cars to vintage cars, to hot rods, sports cars, and more.

We have all been running 3 times a week and continuing our individual exercise regiments – staying active is one of the key elements to feeling good!

As Jamie’s been counting the days until we return to Esprit, we’ve been getting everything ready to leave for several months, including the Big Bear Cabin which we recently “closed up” amidst a gorgeous snow storm!
The Big Red House - March 2012
Chay & Jamie fencing with icicles
Katie & Jamie sledding in the back yard

Jamie will compete in one more karate tournament – Spring Nationals – here in Las Vegas before we return to the boat. He’s done well this year in a very competitive ring, however, what is most impressive is the comradery that develops amongst the young men.

If you remember, when we returned home in May 2011, we had a dove's nest in one of our pine trees with babies...well they are back for another nesting season...truly amazing!
The dove's are back for another nesting season
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