As I anticipate my afternoon on a 25 foot Catalina sailboat that’s coming in about ten days, I’m thinking about Eric Stone. If you’re a lover of sailing, of the sea, and of extremely tropical locales, you’ve got to admire Eric Stone.

This soft-spoken Texas native (from Beaumont) has a lifestyle to envy, no doubt. Eric started playing guitar when he was in fifth grade and while he admired George Strait (sure, he’s a Texas boy!), he also admired Dean Dillon, who has written many of George’s hits. Songwriting was definitely in Eric’s future.

Eric worked for Northwest Airlines and that job took him to Hawaii, where he began to get into Jimmy Buffett’s music. He never lost the travel bug and had moved to Nashville by 1994 to be a songwriter. He was ahead of Kenny Chesney at the time, and told me it wasn’t the best time to put out an album, especially with tropical overtones. As luck would have it, though, he put his first CD together, entitled “Songs For Sail.”

With a plethora of sailing songs under his belt, Eric was soon picked up by a sailing show company and played their shows across the nation. That led to a collaboration with the magazine “Latitudes and Attitides” and he’s worked with them since 1999.

So here’s the kicker about Eric Stone: He has a regular gig from December to May on Marina Cay, which is a private island off the coast of Tortola. The rest of the year is spent touring with his band. He just finished his brand-new album, “Time to Fly,” and it’s available via his website www.islanderic.com. So how many of us want to be Eric, now? I can only dream as I enjoy that Catalina boat ride in a few days!

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