Sara Brown, AG82
Guarding a different cannon: Sara Brown, AG82, and her son Everett, at a Revolutionary War site in the early '80s
Come sail away
13 years ago, physical therapist Sara Brown, AG82, and her physicist husband, Ben, sold their two homes, bought a 35’ sloop, and took to the high seas. The two-year journey not only brought them closer as a family, but also instilled a love of American history in their then 7-year-old son, Everett.
“It was sort of on faith,” writes the BSOT grad. “My dad was a coast guard captain during WWII and he was a little concerned about us ‘going off on this adventure.’ He asked Ben about his sailing experience on the ocean and Ben said, ‘Ask me in a year!’
The newest addition to the Brown family: Innocent Age
Semesters at sea
“We started on the Cape and the theme of the trip soon became the Revolutionary War. Our son wasn’t doing very well in school at the time; he didn’t enjoy reading or being in a classroom. For him, this was a chance to discover history hands-on. We visited war sites all along the East Coast—our favorite was St. Augustine in Florida. We didn’t have a television so I read to Everett a lot, and pretty soon he was taking the books out of my hands and going off on his own. The second book he read was D Day by [Stephen] Ambrose!
“Everett was able to make friends of all kinds outside of the classroom. We docked in a Florida marina for a while so he could play in a flag football league, and one of his best friends was a 75-year-old sailor who he’d go fishing or snorkeling with on our dinghy. He just loves to fish—in fact, from the time when he was one or two he would pick up worms from the driveway and put them in his pocket, so this was really great for him. He read up on fishing until he became an expert on the nutritional values of fish, the taste, etc., and to this day, he is an encyclopedia on fish. He and my husband also learned to free dive in the Bahamas. They’d dive down about 40' or so and spear fish or catch lobsters.
Tides that bind
“There’s this great subculture of those who live on boats. Everyone becomes very close because if you’re living on a boat, you depend on others to watch out for you. We had people over for dinner on the boat all of the time and vice versa. We lived off of a lot of canned goods, rice, and fish—hogfish from the Bahamas is the best. One time Everett caught one the size of a Thanksgiving turkey! I also learned to bake bread. I got some great sourdough starter recipes from the wives we met.
Sara, Ben, and Everett Brown in the midst of their two-year journey down the east coast
Continuing the dream
“Our latest trip was to northern Wisconsin—we saw our brand new sailboat, Innocent Age, for the first time and will be sailing back to Milwaukee from Lake Superior (the Apostle Islands) this week. Eventually we also plan to sail our new boat through the Hudson River, Nova Scotia, down the east coast, and back to the Bahamas.
“We all look at that time as the greatest thing we could have done: the Bahamas have become a second home for us and we go out there every summer for the regatta, Everett has become an American History major at Marquette and a terrific writer, and while it may have been a little crazy, we were living our dream.”
Want to share your story? Submit a class note and you may be featured on tuftsalumni.org and in Tufts Magazine!