Author Tanya Hackney believes seafaring stories inspire us to do great things,
help us laugh at our mistakes, and create a sense of wonder about the wild world we live in.
We need these stories to shake us out of our complacency and give us the courage to chase new horizons. Leaving the Safe Harbor is one such story.
Two high-school sweethearts from middle-class America go off to college, get married, follow all the rules, play it safe, and pursue the American dream. And promptly find themselves boxed in.
Looking for adventure, Tanya Hackney and her husband Jay turn the shared dreams of their youth into reality. They leave the safety of suburbia to buy and live aboard a sailboat, s/v Take Two—while raising five children. (Yes, we said five.)
The sailboat becomes a classroom for the whole family. From the first overnight sail with small children to island-hopping in the Caribbean with teenagers, the ocean teaches life lessons and develops character traits like teamwork, discipline, hope, flexibility, and perseverance.
Returning to the United States after a decade of voyaging, their kids on the cusp of adulthood, Tanya and Jay discover they’re not the same people who left the house with the white picket fence.
"We make a quick dinner and drop the kayaks in the water. The sun sinks into the sea and stars begin to wink in the darkening sky. It is a moonless night, ideal for our purpose. We paddle down the long, serpentine entrance in the dark. There are a few sparkles in the water, but nothing we haven’t seen before. A fish darts away from the bow of my kayak, and I see a streak of neon green. Then the creek widens into a bay, something we feel more than see. The farther in we get, the brighter the swirls our paddles make in the water, until the water is unmistakably glowing. Fish dash in every direction leaving fiery trails like comets, the paddles come out dripping diamonds of light, and we leave radiant wakes behind us. The kids are all thinking the same thing, and finally someone says it aloud: “Can we jump in?” If it weren’t so dark, Jay and I would exchange a parental glance. We had read that a girl was bitten by a shark in this bay a year ago, and we instinctively know that swimming in a warm, shallow bay at night is a bad idea. But we say yes, anyway. It is irresistible—a chance to swim in liquid light."
Coming soon in ebook and paperback from your favourite book retailer
Tanya Hackney graduated with a B.A. from Middlebury College in 1997, with a major in English and double minor in French and Education. She taught kindergarten in Atlanta, Georgia, then she homeschooled her five children while living full time aboard the sailboat, Take Two. She learned to sail in 2007 and did the coursework for ASA101 and ASA103 after attending a women’s sailing seminar in St. Petersburg, Florida.
She’s lived aboard, traveled, and written for the sailing blog www.taketwosailing.com for more than a decade. Tanya has always had a bad case of wanderlust, taking countless road trips as a child, spending a semester abroad during college, and honeymooning in Central America. In her free time, she plays the ukulele, paints landscapes, and kayaks. She wrote her first story at age six, but Leaving the Safe Harbor is her first published full-length work.