Yacht Club to feature resident who sailed around the world for club’s first fundraiser | SteamboatToday.com

Yacht Club to feature resident who sailed around the world for club’s first fundraiser

Liz Forster

Steamboat Springs resident Bonnie McGee will talk to audiences Tuesday at the Chief Theater about the four and a half years she spent circumnavigating the world from 1984 to 1988 and her book, "Voices on the Wind".

In 1984, Steamboat Springs resident Bonnie McGee and her then-husband left their jobs as teachers for a sailing voyage around the world, a burning desire for adventure fueling their leap. Thirty-one years and a book later, the Steamboat Springs Yacht Club will feature McGee and her story at its inaugural club fundraiser at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Chief Theater.

At the fundraiser, McGee will share the presentation with which she briefly toured the country when her book, “Voices on the Wind,” was published in 2009. The book features pictures and vignettes of the myriad people she met throughout the 4 and a half years she spent circumnavigating the world.

"My take is that sailors are the last bastions of freedom," McGee said. "We had no idea how long we would take to do this, and there are no signposts in the ocean. It's such a free thing that you can come and go from place to place."

"Bonnie is a renaissance women," said Rick Bear, founder of the Steamboat Springs Yacht Club and Allergic to Cities. "She's the kind of person that you'll love chatting with, because she'll tell you so many things that she experienced on and off the boat."

Whether or not audiences spontaneously buy a sailboat after her presentation, they will sure catch the travel and adventure virus.

"I always tell people, when you get me talking about sailing, it's contagious," McGee said. "It's interesting, because people have the dream or the idea, but when they're with someone like me who has done it, you realize that ordinary people can take trips like this."

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Through her four-and-a-half-year voyage around the world, McGee sailed alongside porpoises leaving a trail of phosphorescence in the night sea, hid in her cabin in fear that a cargo boat would smash her 33-foot sail boat in the blinding fog off the coast of Cape Town and even watched a circumcision ritual.

She would spend days without sight of land and months waiting for the weather and seasons to provide her and her then-husband a window for safe travel. Along the way, they bonded with people with Western lifestyles, as well as those who had never even heard of the United States.

"You could whiz around the world and hit major cities and see nothing else on a cruise ship," McGee said. "We deliberately avoided major cities and spent time everywhere we went. You get to know people in a totally different way when you don't have an agenda, and we came away from the trip believing in the goodness and hospitality people offer you with the simplest request for reciprocity."

McGee's presentation is one of the programs the Steamboat Springs Yacht Club hosts for its members once per month at Aurum Food & Wine. It is the first geared toward fundraising for the burgeoning club, which has grown from 60 people at its inaugural meeting to more than 100 and ranges from people with a casual interest to people who, like McGee, have sailed around the world.

Cocktail hour will begin at 6 p.m., followed by McGee's presentation at 7. Copies of “Voices on the Wind” will be available for purchase and signing. Tickets are available for $10 at All That, The Shoe Chalet and, if not sold out by the time of the show, at the Chief Theater. All proceeds will go to the Steamboat Springs Yacht Club.

If you go

When: 6 p.m., Tuesday

Where: Chief Theater

Where to get tickets: The Shoe Chalet or All That