Fall 2023 Issue #44

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36 62 54 72 66


22 Goliath Must Not Win

90 San Blas: A Taste of the Pacific

102 Sailing from Croatia to the Caribbean

108 The Secret Sauce to Reducing the Cost of Yacht Ownership

114 The House of Heat

124 Exploring the Hidden Gems of the Lower Chesapeake Bay


140 Resealing a Hatch


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#44 • Fall 2023 LIFESTYLES
50 Transformations & Inspirations
Rum Tastings
England 133 Captain’s Galley: A Journey of
By Sailing Dark Angel
Wood, Water & Sarah
My Content(ment)!
By Robin Stout 148 Now is the
By Walter Hope FEATURES
36 Young Cruisers Association
54 Pacific Crossing
62 Untethered Sailing Trip
66 Red Seas
72 We Are Never Buying a Boat
Editor’s Letter 15 Scuttlebutt News 84 Boat Reviews 130 Talk of the Dock 152 Book Review 168 Bosun’s Bag 174 Advertiser Product Spotlight 175 Boat People
circle of fun from the recent Floatchella, an annual Young Cruisers Association meetup event in the Exumas. Read more about YCA in this issue and their mission to carry on the legacies of cruisers past, present and future.



Erik Kyle erik@kylemediainc.com

EDDIETOR-IN-CHEEF David Levesque david@latsatts.com

OFFICE WINCH Mindy Leppala mindy@kylemediainc.com

SUBSCRIPTION “QUARTERS” MASTER Cheri Chalfin cheri@kylemediainc.com

COLLECTOR OF CONTENT Keith Randolph editorial@kylemediainc.com

VP BUCK STOPS HERE DEPT. Joy McPeters joy@kylemediainc.com


DEEP SEA DESIGNER Sonia De Leon design@kylemediainc.com

PUBLISHER EMERITUS Bob Bitchin bob@latsatts.com


Latitudes & Attitudes

7862 W. Central Ave., Suite F, Toledo, OH 43617 877-775-2538 ext. 500 latsatts.com/magazine



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Latitudes & Attitudes (ISSN 27678954) (USPS 011-950) is published quarterly by Latitudes & Attitudes 7862 W. Central Ave, Suite F, Toledo, OH 43617. Periodicals Postage paid at Toledo, OH and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to Latitudes & Attitudes, 7862 W. Central Ave, Suite F, Toledo, OH 43617. Latitudes & Attitudes is a
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Latitudes & Attitudes is not liable for non-solicited manuscripts, including photographs, and does not assume liability or ensure accuracy contained in its articles, editorials, or advertising. These items do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Latitudes & Attitudes. Services and ads found within Latitudes & Attitudes do not constitute endorsement or guarantee their safety by Latitudes & Attitudes All material herein may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the written consent from the Publisher of



What if?

I recently lost another friend to cancer. He passed the morning of his 55th birthday. It’s all so sad and so often a similar story with so many people I know and so many more across the globe. Lives done too soon. It really makes you pause and take stock of where you are, what your bucket list goals are, and how close, or far away from achieving your goals you may be. I mean what if it all ended tomorrow? Did you do what you wanted? Or did you fall short in some way?

I’m a huge believer in the Journey being the Destination. Yes, I like to go places but the time spent getting there and enjoying the company of others is all part of the experience. For cruisers it really is about the journey. People doing crossings, for example Crossing the Pacific as outlined in an article in this issue, have a destination they are heading to, however the journey to get there is way more adventurous, exciting, scary and whatever else you might feel than the actual destination itself! Go ahead, prove me wrong…So what if your fears prevented you from taking that cabin on the charter, or the crew spot on the boat doing the crossing?

Let’s go back to the journey for a minute. Life moves pretty fast right? If you don’t stop and look around once in a while you might miss it. Thanks Ferris Bueller…But it’s true! People don’t stop long enough to look around and enjoy the journey. Life is a journey. Hate to say it but the final destination of life is your own passing. So you’d better enjoy the journey. And along the way, be everything you can to anyone. Make the difference in their lives and yours.

This piece is not meant to be a downer…I’m just reflecting. But let’s look at some facts: Time simply doesn’t stop. Ever. We lose someone we’re close to and we have moments of pause and depending on our closeness to the individual, time of grief. But then the next Zoom meeting is on the calendar or the next kids activity needs our attention. Same thing goes for anything that grabs our minds away from the stuff we REALLY want to do. So what if we started focusing and paying more attention to finding ways to stop and enjoy the moments?

I’ve had many discussions over the years about “what if’s”. Frankly, it drives me nuts. And trust me, it’s a short drive. I know people who handicap their lives and the lives of others by wallowing in the “what if’s”. What if the plane crashes, what if the boat sinks, what if we run out of money, what if I catch the virus, what if the Bills never win the Super Bowl? Well that last one is a personal “what if” I’m challenged with, but you get the point.

But what if NONE of that ever happened? What if you missed out on the absolute best times of your life because you simply couldn’t turn the negative “what if’s” around? What if you were so incredibly blown away by the fun you had and the memories you made that you felt like, damn, glad I didn’t stay home for that one!

As we head into the fall boat show season and the release of the Fall issue, I’m reminded of the season and what I love about it; the falling leaves, harvest, cooler temps, the smells, and of course football. It’s like nature is resetting herself, getting ready for winter and then the rebirth of spring. Make a goal to shed some of what holds you back. Get rid of it, reset and go after those dreams. What if you just might find something new to love?


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Due to incredible demand from our readers and fans we’ve decided to expand our waistlines and jump to 6 issues in 2024! The content pouring in from cruisers across the globe eager to share their stories on the pages of Lats & Atts has been inspiring. And since we are the #1 authority on living the dream we have no choice but to make it happen!

And the best part?

The Subscription price will stay the same!! $29.99/yr for print & $14.99/yr for digital! It will be like getting 2 issues free!

We are so stoked to be part of such an amazing cruising community!!

Issue #44 All the News That Fits Between the Sheets Fall 2023 If It’s Gonna Happen, It’s Gonna Happen Out There Atts Lats Scuttlebutt& BONUS! 6 ISSUES MAJOR We’re going to in 2024! U.S. $7.99 Canada $8.99 On-Sale Through February 27, 2023 #41 Winter 2022-23

Newport & Annapolis Cruisers Parties

Save the Dates!

The legendary Lats & Atts boat show parties are back and better than ever! Last year, we rocked Annapolis with the return of the cruiser party after a 15-year hiatus and this year will be double the fun with the return of the Lats & Atts party to Newport! Based on reader feedback and demand, we’re going to subscriber-only events with more VIP treatment and excitement!

Dates & times are listed below with information to sign up! You must be an active subscriber to our print or digital publication to attend. More details are on the way! Keep following our Facebook and Instagram pages or our bi-weekly email, the Lats & Atts Insider, full of news and fun! Visit www.LatsAtts.com for details!

Lats & Atts Scuttlebutt
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NEWPORT Subscriber Party: Saturday, September 16th ANNAPOLIS Subscriber Party: Saturday, October 14th SCAN AND SIGN UP TODAY!

Boot Düsseldorf recap and preview:

Looking for something to do this coming January? Why not take a trip to Düsseldorf Germany for Boot Düsseldorf! With the latest installment of this incredible show set for January 20-28 2024, why, you ask, would someone go halfway around the world for a boat show? Is it because they have schnitzel? Maybe it’s the beer? The reality is that Boot is the world’s largest boat show and you’ll see things that no other show can provide.

Boot is such a gargantuan, eclectic gathering of all things boats and boat accessories that, for anyone who’s ever been to stateside boat shows, you simply are not prepared for this. At the 2023 installment of Boot this past January, we had some boots on the ground, literally, in the likes of Erik and Michelle, along with Tabitha Lipkin, no stranger to Lats & Atts audiences herself. Here’s a brief recap of their adventures:

Both Michele and I could sense the feeling in the air when we arrived. It was similar to going to a rock concert back in our teens. When the gates opened at 10:00 am sharp, we traversed the halls to get to the sailboats because we wanted to make appointments to see the latest and greatest from various manufactures like Amel, Oyster, Hallberg Rassy, Beneteau, and Swan, just to name a few. The very cool thing about this show is that everything is indoors. 17 halls with boats from 2 meters to 35 meters, all indoors…

By the end of day one we lightly skimmed four halls, two of sailboats, and two of diving equipment. We still had 13 more halls to look at!

On day two we found ourselves wandering around the many halls of accessories and even jewelry! Then we found the hall with wooden boats. Yes they still make wooden boats, both power and sail. I am not sure what it is about a well built wooden boat, but the craftsmanship blows my mind. We then stumbled into the small sailboat area. Did you know there is a five meter carbon fiber foiling sailboat for racing? Made its debut at Boot!

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Our last and final day of Boot Düsseldorf was a nice and mellow meander. We stumbled into the mega-yacht hall. Yes you read right, indoor mega-yachts. I think the small one was 65 feet while the bigger ones (yes, plural) were over 100 feet in length. At this moment all I could wonder is “how did they get these big boats in and out of the halls?” I mean here is a 100+foot yacht that they were able to bring up the river, crane in somehow, and then move across the fairgrounds and put on this display. And it was not just one boat, it was many. From a two meter rowboat, to a 120 foot power yacht, and everything in-between.

Boot Düsseldorf is certainly a sight to behold with something for anyone all in one place. Make your plans to visit in January 2024! More information can be found here: www.boot.com

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How many times do we have to hear about the little guy getting shafted? Why does it keep happening over and over again? Why does Goliath keep getting bigger? Where do all the David’s go after they get knocked down? Do they get back up and try again, a little older, a little wearier, and much more disillusioned, while Goliath straightens his collar and heads off in search of some more little guys to squash? Does survival and dominance of the wealthiest always have to be the narrative, the actual definition of strongest and fittest?

About four years ago, I had the opportunity to meet a latter-day “David”, a lady who goes by the name of Robin. For thirty-five years, she’d been the owner operator of the International Sailing School on Mallets Bay, off Lake Champlain in Vermont—known by some as the sixth great lake, and appreciated by many others as the most beautiful, nestled between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondacks of New York.

Robin’s sailing school wasn’t far from Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, overlooking the vast expanse of blue and the Adirondacks to the west. Often voted a most livable city, and always appreciated for its stunning setting, Burlington has spent the last couple of decades bursting at the seams with growth, and that growth fed Robin’s enterprise.

Over forty years ago, she came up north from a Connecticut racing-sailing family, graduated from the University of Vermont

and started teaching her passion for the school she ended up buying in 1987. Thousands of students had passed through the doors of the unpretentious and seasonal little building overlooking a mooring field of about 30 boats ranging from 13 to 32 feet, while off to the side of this center of operations was a selection of hulls awaiting restoration.

I am the first to admit that even with all my experience on boats 26 feet and larger, I am not an excellent sailor. Good enough, but not excellent. Best are the ones who have learned how to sail and race smaller boats. You’ve seen them in harbors around the world, kids taking off from sailing schools to outmaneuver each other and horse around. On engine-less little boats that can capsize if not handled properly, they’ve learned to really feel and work with the wind, understand intuitively the cause and effect of play on the sails and rudder. Watch them and see people who are one with their boats. And, when these people get onto bigger boats, systems may flummox, but the sailing is always second nature. When the engine breaks, they can calmly and confidently sail up to anchor, off a dock, in and out of harbors, trusting their skill, not battling hammering hearts, afraid they’ll screw up.

My biggest sailing adventure took place on a twenty-six footer, crossing oceans more often than not without an engine and with a heart that was almost permanently in hammer mode. And, friends I made out there who had grown up sailing lasers and optimists sometimes came out to play with me,

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would put my little ride through moves I would have never dared try on my own. We sailed through anchorages, up to moorings, won races as they passed along knowledge, but I never learned total confidence. It’s like learning how to ski. If you wait too long and start too old, it’s almost impossible to unlearn the fear, to master technique and skill. I missed out by not sailing a smaller boat as a child.

When I visited Robin’s school, I immediately recognized it as the kind of place where the innate proficiency I lacked was being introduced to legions of students by masterful teachers, cramming in as much as possible during our short northern seasons. Robin showed me around the humble building, pointed to the mooring field across the road. A fleet of simple boats and a beautiful lake was all that was needed to launch racers and cruisers over the decades. That day, I met a family who were about to head south, taking off to cruise oceans. And others who came down to the dock just to take a boat out onto some freshwater to play, get away from the world for an afternoon.

Every body of water needs a place like this, offering access to those hours of communing with the wind and the sails, the opportunity to earn ASA certifications that lead to more opportunities. If I didn’t live 90 minutes away, I said to people I met that day, I’d have become a member and visitor. And, like all the ducklings she’s raised over the years, I would have called Robin “Mama Duck” while honing elementary skills. This summer, my nephew asked if I could take him and some of the other cousins out sailing, so I started looking into boats for charter on the lake. Maybe this has been another pandemic casualty, but nobody was offering them anymore—except for one bareboat option that was booked solid through the summer. So, I emailed Robin, figuring she knew most of the lake’s sailors and might be able to provide a lead to an available boat. Of course, she did know a couple of boat owners, but these leads came with some awful news, links to articles describing the same old story.

Several years ago, town septic was introduced along the idyllic sailing club’s shoreline. On the surface, that’s a good thing.

But, the new septic lines also jacked up waterfront property values. And one day last November, Robin got an email from the landlords, with whom she’d had a harmonious relationship for decades. They wouldn’t be renewing the lease. She wasn’t given a chance to negotiate, figure out a way forward. Without consulting her, the cord was cut. Just like that, she was adrift. Forty years of memories, equipment, devotion to a cause, and passion had to be dissolved and carted off by April.

Word had it that an un-admired major landlord and landowner up the road had moved in, made some sort of offer the owners couldn’t refuse, and he was taking over to expand his powerboat marina. Overnight, a valuable community asset was beinwg converted into yet another soulless money-making operation.

At the same time I read about this, another friend sent an article about a mad upgrade rush for marinas on Florida’s Gold Coast to accommodate superyachts of more than 200 feet. What is happening to us? Where do the simpler folk go?

Finally, a third article simultaneously made its way onto my desk, a recent Smithsonian piece honoring the Sunfish, the “innovative craft that taught millions of Americans to seize the breeze.” A sidebar claims: “anybody can sail them.” This is true, if there’s anywhere else where these anybody’s can afford to launch them.

Robin has packed up her life’s work and has a gofundme page to try and raise enough to secure another location, if any exist within driving distance of any population that would be able to use the facility, the sunfishes and lasers. https:// gofund.me/894c1385

If this gets shared enough to go viral, if enough people chip in to support the effort in a world where only money talks, Robin might be able to find something, and then summon the energy to start over and rebuild. Then, she and legions of future sailors would stand another chance. Or else, we have to rewrite the David and Goliath story. A slingshot isn’t enough anymore.

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The Whine of the Ancient Mariner is where you’ll find Bob Bitchin’s writings as he gradually settles (hopefully) into semi-retirement. He’s been busy lately adjusting to life with his new bionic hip and continued shenanigans with www.BobBitchin.com. So please enjoy the Whine of the Ancient Mariner.

Whine of the ancient mariner

Ready? Set? Go!

Why is it, the closer you get to taking off on a voyage, the more you start worrying about things that you know are completely out of your hands? Thinking back on my ”little” 2,700 mile voyage across the Pacific, beside Jody & I on this trek were four people, three of which I had not sailed with before, and an old friend who had sailed with us prior. And as the date was fast approaching for our departure, our inexperienced but enthusiastic crew arrived the day before “D” Day, just in time for our “going away” party. Now there is one point I always try to make when giving a talk about cruising and the cruising lifestyle. The hardest thing to do is to set the departure date. What’s my suggestion? Just set the date, and then make everything happen according to the schedule you have set. If there has been one hard-and-fast rule for me, it has been to set a departure date. Once it’s set, the time just flies by!

A favorite saying of mine is “How can you miss me if I don’t go away?” So, on the night of our party, the heavens opened up and we had biblical amounts of cold and wet stuff falling on our heads. The winds were blowing harder than a politician on election night. It was not a pretty sight, and the weather-guys were saying it would get worse before it got any better, and that would be days later. Pretty much, this was the biggest storm we’d seen in over a year. Actually, I was kinda looking forward to leaving in a storm. What a great feeling; to set sail with a double reefed main, heading out of the harbor entrance, leaving mouths agape! How kewl! But I gotta tell ya, my erstwhile crew were not quite of the same mind set. Actually, they thought I’d lost mine. My mind, that is.

If my crew knew the purpose for leaving in a storm they would probably mutiny! But, believe it or not, I did have a definite purpose for taking off in the morning, in a full gale. As a matter of fact, after I wrote the story of that voyage here on the pages of Lats & Atts, I received a number

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of nasty letters telling me I was remiss in my duties as a magazine person to set such dangerous precedents; to put my crew in harm’s way instead of sitting safe in the harbor until the storm blew by, and then taking off in good weather.

My reply to that is hogwash and bull-puckie! You see, in the next three days my stalwart crew sailed through gale winds and 16-20 foot seas as we fought our way out of the harbor and down to Long Beach for fuel, and then 300 miles south, blown almost 20° off our preferred course. As we sailed, they learned that the boat could handle it, and much to their surprise, so could they. They actually started to enjoy the adventure.

One morning the winds started to subside, and as the day progressed, the seas started to slacken, and by mid-day of our fourth day at sea, the sun came out to warm us and to dry our saturated vessel. The crew had braved the worst that the seas could throw at us (or so it seemed!) and came through none the worse for wear. We had conquered the sea gods and could see things starting to improve and keep improving until, at last, we were sailing in what most people hope to find, perfect weather and a downwind sail.

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So here’s the question: If we had sat until the weather had cleared, and left in “good” weather, what would we have had to look forward to? Nothing but deteriorating weather and conditions ahead of us. But we had conquered the bad stuff, and in doing so knew we could handle it as a crew. We knew, without any doubt, it would get better... (how could it have gotten any worse?)

In your spare time, ponder this: is it better to be in good weather, looking ahead to darkening skies, and worry about what is to come; or is it better to sit under that dark cloud, looking forward to the brightening sky and know you have seen the bad, and now you are about to enter Nirvana?

It is best said in the age-old adage, “Give me the strength to change the things that I can, the serenity to live with the things that I can’t, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Thanks AA, and maybe we should add a tagline to that verse; .”..and the option to choose the order in which I face these things!”

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The Birth of a Young Cruising Generation

We are thrifty, not cheap. We are partiers, not drunks. We are cruisers, not curmudgeons. We are wandering, not lost. We are not the first, and we will not be the last. We are the YCA. -the YCA mantra

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If you have been cruising for the last decade or more you are acutely aware of a massive shift in the demographic of who’s in the anchorage. For the past three decades, your average live-aboard cruiser had retired from a career with the money and freedom to buy a boat, outfit It for cruising, and set sail into the sunset. It was, and still is, an absolutely beautiful thing that all of us at YCA respect and admire. Nobody is trying to define what is ‘young’ and what is not. Nobody cares, to be completely honest. But something has changed. Is changing. And fast. The anchorages are now filling up with pre-retirement sailors as well. They emerged by trickling into harbors with cheap boats the retirees had previously owned and sold. Now they are on all kinds of boats. From the small affordable pocket cruisers to the nicest catamaran at the dock. To figure out what created this tidal wave of pre-retirement live-aboards, let’s take a deeper dive into the four phases of the ‘birth of the young cruisers.’

The first big wave of young cruisers began with the era of affordable cruising boats. In the first decade of the 2000s, cruising boats, especially boats under 35ft, were becoming very affordable. Baby boomers were hitting retirement in full force and were able to afford boats over 40ft, so your typical Sabre 34 for example, was plummeting in value. Many small cruising boats on the market were more than 25 years old and YachtWorld, a fairly new website, was driving the prices even lower as buyers could cast an even wider net. Now the adventurous few who dreamed of sailing away with only pre-retirement cash savings could

realistically make it happen. It’s hard to believe looking back, but at that time, a late 70’s Pearson, Sabre, C&C, etc. could be bought for as little as $15,000 and a really nice small cruising boat for under $50k. We’ll call this the ‘affordability phase”.

The second wave of young cruisers was brought on by the financial meltdown of 2008. Hundreds of young cruisers graduated university during hiring freezes or were the first to be cut in termination rounds. A perfect excuse to take a year or two and live out their cruising dreams.

When faced with abysmal job prospects and teased with cheap boats to scroll through on websites, it’s no surprise that so many people began choosing rum and sunshine. Most importantly though, 2008 triggered a massive psychological shift (which continues to effect home buying and career retention today) in millennials who were reaching adulthood at the time.

Many watched as their parent’s home values and stock portfolios were decimated. What we were told was the safe ‘yellow brick road’ to life’s happy endings was instantly proven to be thornier than a friendly lion or a hot witch with cute monkeys. This disenchantment with home buying and 401Ks may have started in ’08, but it continues today as a massive driver of young person boat buying and early cruising. We’ll call this the ‘disillusion’ phase.

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The Birth of a Young Cruising Generation

The third wave begins with work-from-home shifts in the workplace, or what has become known as ‘remote work.’ As companies around the world struggled to get back on terms after the great recession in the US and its global impacts, many businesses dropped office space from their balance sheets. Even without the economic pressures, new tech companies were being founded without a single cubicle and large corporations were able to use a newly hired remote workforce for things like tech support, call centers, and even sales; all thanks to smartphones, activity tracking software, and tech improvements. Fast forward to January 2020 and a little thing you may have heard of called COVID 19. Boom! The amount of adventurous souls that were just given the ultimate ‘hall-pass’ for their sailing dreams explodes! Companies that never dreamed of a remote workforce were required to figure it out to stay afloat. Many self employed people had to pivot into becoming less ‘in-person’ with customers or even make complete career changes. One of the largest holdbacks for pre-retirement cruising for decades was erased during what we will call the ‘freedom’ phase. You could now go cruising and keep your job!

The fourth wave has started and it will likely blow the doors of the ‘freedom’ phase wide the hell open. It’s a little plastic box called Starlink. Sure, harbors around the world have had improving cell service year after year. Hotspot boxes and SIM cards have been available for purchase on most islands around the world for a decade. But Starlink provides high speed internet anywhere in the world and most times, even underway. Cruising with a remote job before StarLink was no easy thing. Bad signal strength, data limits, and being constrained to only weekend passage-making were but a few of the issues. Well that has all now changed. Starlink doesn’t go down when there is an issue with a tower, isn’t affected by the power being off on an island, and provides 24/7 almost guaranteed high speed connectivity for those whose jobs require it. A gift for many, a curse for some (more on that later). We’ll call this phase the ‘satellite’ phase.

It’s impossible to talk about any person getting into cruising without talking about inspiration.

Whether you cruised in the 1960’s or are just getting into cruising, someone or something inspired you. A friend who sails, a book about pirates, a random blog you found online or a magazine you picked up in the airport. Then you do a little research, learn everything you can about the lifestyle, and find a way to get over the hump of making it actually happen. Social media has turned that knob to the max. The reach that cruising culture now has because of YouTube channels, Instagram accounts, and others is unfathomable. A kid in central Australia or Kansas, who would potentially never get exposed to the idea of living on a boat, is infinitely more likely to see a picture or video about cruising than they were a decade ago. Whether your curiosity into cruising was initiated by a picture in a

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@youngdrewlah @La.Cruzin

doctors office (this happened) or by watching a YouTube channel film their experiences, all that matters is that you now know it exists and you can attain it if you want.

So here we are; at a fundamental shift in demography of the cruising culture. What does it mean? Nothing. It means nothing. That’s the greatest part about sailing and cruising the world on your boat. We all have a right to do it and a place in the anchorage we desire. We are all bonded by a common love for the sea and the freedom our vessels afford us. We all know what it means to sleep inches from a smelly head, the pains of walking in tropical heat looking for an obscure metric bolt, and the beauty of a sunset with a mild rum buzz. Age matters none in this life. All that matters is that you are getting out there and doing it. So why did we start the YCA and why use the word ‘young?’ It’s simple. Everyone needs and deserves to find ‘their’ people in this world. We all gravitated to particular friend groups in school, at work, in life ashore, all because we had things in common. The YCA has no age limit, but it definitely represents a lifestyle. If ‘cruisers midnight’ is not your idea of midnight…If you prefer spearfishing over basket weaving on a beach…If your side rails are a gauntlet of surfboards or your cockpit drains are forever clogged with your toddler’s cheerios…If you just don’t feel at home in the classic cruising clubs around the world, you have a home in the YCA. And we’re just happy everyone can have a home.

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The Birth of a Young Cruising Generation @we_sailaway
Chris Stickel @seastickel
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Cruising will always be a haven for those who are enjoying the freedom of career retirement and empty nests. All of us at YCA surely hope to be spending our retirements cruising somewhere, alongside people we love, and on a clean ocean full of fish. But as the numbers of young cruisers continues to explode around the world, there needed to be an organization that spoke directly to the needs of our community. To be a common voice when companies, governments, or other bad operators try to make cruising harder or harm our oceans. To pool the social media power of thousands of members’ collective millions of followers to pressure people and corporations to do the right thing. To push for more diversity in cruising. And most importantly, build a network of good humans, around the world, that are keen to share a sundowner, lend a hand with a project, or hike to the top of that mountain looming above the anchorage.

In a few short years the YCA has grown to be one of the largest cruising clubs in the world withover 10,000 members and is expanding at a blistering rate. It’s a true testament to how many cruisers were excited to find others with similar propensities or felt underserved or unwelcome at many traditional cruising clubs.

Encouraging real-life, in-person, member driven gatherings is one of YCA’s top missions. As mentioned, many cruisers are now working while they cruise. Virtually all sailors have some sort of cellular or satellite connectivity aboard and are rarely ‘unplugged’ from the world. It is truly difficult to fully de-stress, live in the moment, experience foreign cultures, or build lasting friendships when your device is distracting or entertaining you. Putting the phone down and gathering around a beach fire has never been more important. This New Year’s Eve there were 7 YCA gatherings around the world, all hosted by members who are passionate about meeting others. Another great example of using our devices and connectivity as a tool to enable real-life experiences.

Beyond water-based gatherings like Floatchella and member driven gatherings, YCA produces events like the International Cruisers Awards (ICAs), an annual awards event designed to highlight any/all cruisers for things

creation on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. Entrants in 2022 spread all ages, vessel types, nationalities, races, sexual orientation, and social media use/not use. For example: there is no age limit, no prerequisite, and no need to be a YouTuber or even have an instagram account to win ‘Inspirational Cruiser of the year.’ The awards were judged by a dizzying list including olympic record-holding sailors, a Red Bull athlete, a National Geographic Explorer, an Emmy winning cinematographer, a Golden Globe winning screenwriter for Best Motion Picture, and others.

The 2023 International Cruisers Awards entry submissions begin on September 1st online with the live show in Annapolis, MD (during the boat show) and streamed live around the world.

While the YCA grows, creates more of these events, and offends more and more yacht club commodores, please remember: The YCA is navigating this new era of cruising alongside you all; trying to make sense of silly anchoring bans, trying to find best practices for a work life balance in a new technological world, and trying to remind everyone to remember why they got into cruising in the first place. To see and experience this incredible world we live in, first hand.

It seems fitting to end with the comments of two recently interviewed young cruisers, separated by two generations. Skip and Kit Fry crossed the Atlantic multiple times on their Westsail 32 in the 1970s. Kiana is currently crossing oceans in a traditional wooden catamaran with a tree limb for a boom. Both had a powerful and indistinguishable message to others: There is a way to go cruising with any budget, any boat size, and any onboard equipment. Don’t get lost in the wait for more money to buy a bigger boat or a fancier chart plotter. Respect the ocean and the seasons and you will be blown away with what you can do with so little.

Learn More:

Web: youngcruisers.org


Insta: @youngcruisers


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The Birth of a Young Cruising Generation
Thomas Montague

I used the term O.G. in a conversation with my father (67 yrs young) the other day and realized the acronym, that was a commonplace term for my generation, did not exist in his vocabulary. So let’s start there:

Before Ice-T was a household name for being a bad actor on Law and Order SVU, he was a rapper, and in 1991, he had a song named ‘O.G. Original Gangster.’ Rap culture was being appropriated by white kids around the world (myself especially included) and soon enough, the term O.G. was being used in elementary school lunch conversations to define anyone and everything that was authentic, classic, or “old-school.” Being an O.G. was, and still is, one of the ultimate terms of endearment.

Rewind another 20 years to the 1970’s and two very different things were happening on opposite sides of the country at the same time: The term O.G. was first being used by the Crips gang in Los Angeles, and simultaneously a young couple was launching their sailboat for a multi-year cruising journey in North Carolina. I can only imagine the looks on both parties’ faces had you told them that 50 years later, some fool would be writing an article with a title that brought them into the same context.So in an attempt to not overuse the word ‘legends’ and to properly bridge the generational gaps, we honor Skip and Kit Fry today as “O.G.” Young Cruisers who came before us and helped pave the way.

Kit & Skip Fry O.G. Young Cruisers

Their Story:

Ah, the 1970’s. For many it was a time for bell bottoms, disco fever and pet rocks. For these two brave sailors, it was a time to build a boat and set sail across the horizon. Crazy really if you think about it. While most people in their 20’s were getting funky to ABBA or watching The Newlywed Game, Skip and Kit, newly wed, were building their Westsail 32 and getting it ready for the many unknowns of long-passage cruising.

The story of Skip and Kit’s early years is something almost fictional, and it’s so idyllic. Hollywood screenwriters and Jimmy Buffett try hard to fabricate these kinds of stories. Let’s start at their beginning. Skip and his brother set sail from the Chesapeake in 1971 with no insurance, virtually no money, and a life raft packed with rum. Marrakesh, their 1948, 40ft Owens cutter was all wood and built for racing; not offshore passage making. Regardless, the two had big dreams to sail around the world, but by December of ’71, they were out of money and possibly realizing their boat was ill-suited for the journey. So they sailed into St. Croix with $13 to their names and started looking for jobs to keep the dream alive. It wasn’t long before Skip was running day charters on Marrakesh, out to Buck Island, with tourists eager to snorkel on the vibrant reefs and have a few rum punches on their way home. One day out on the reef, a fellow skipper asked Skip if he could give someone a ride back to the big island. Skip agreed, obliging the simple favor, yet utterly clueless that the person swimming towards his boat would become his lifelong partner in love and adventure.

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It’s hard to imagine there were not some fireworks at first sight, as a beautiful young school teacher climbs aboard a young skippers boat, surrounded by gin clear water on a sunny day in paradise. A full slow-mo moment, if this were a movie. Kit had recently graduated from college in the states and moved to St.Croix in search of warmer weather, taking a job teaching at a local school. She was enjoying a day off, snorkeling the Buck Island reef, and needed to hitch a ride back earlier than her friends were making their way South. The school teacher and the captains’ lives would be entangled from then on. She was 22 and he was 24.

If the idea of a 1970’s Caribbean island isn’t incredibly intriguing and romantic in and of itself, the story of two people falling in love in such a time and place is hopelessly romantic. So it’s no surprise that at this point in our movie script, 3 years later, Skip and Kit are totally in love and sailing back to the states to get married.

After the wedding they moved to Wrightsville Beach, NC where Kit quickly got a job teaching school and Skip began working

for Westsail, a boat manufacturer right there in town. Westsail was a growing company and when Skip wasn’t in the shop, he was using his license to take perspective buyers on sails, especially on the popular 32 ft model. After a couple years in Wrightsville Beach, the call of the ocean and the Caribbean palms were too strong, and they began planning another sailing adventure.

With his boatbuilding skills and connections of Westsail, it was a no brainer for them to outfit one of the 32’s for their cruising. At the time Westsail sold a live-aboard interior kit, and with the help of friends who were willing to work for beer, they were soon owners of a 32ft boat built to cruise and comfortable enough to make a home. Their savings would be used to make loan payments while underway, and with a $5,000 cruising kitty set aside, the couple set sail from the Cape Fear inlet, bound for the Virgin Islands. After working in St. John for a bit, Kit pushed Skip to stop talking about this big ocean crossing, and do it! So in May of 1977, armed with provisions from the big ‘city’ of St. Thomas, a sextant, rolls and rolls of pilot charts, and a desire to see what was on the other side of the horizon, the two set their sites on points east.

Per the normal route, Skip and Kit sailed north to Bermuda before crossing to the Azores. They would fall in love with Flores and much of the Azores, spending real time there and even taking jobs. Most of the time they would be the only ‘cruising’ boat in the harbors, and the two have distinct memories of most of the ‘cruisers’ they came across. They loved the Azores so much the two seriously considered making a life there ashore. Motivated only by a desire to see more of the world, they sailed East to Portugal where they quickly realized it was cheaper to eat out at a restaurant than it was to eat the provisions in their boat. Any cruiser, in any era, would be ecstatic to have that realization and justification for shoreside meals!

Beyond Portugal was Gibraltar, where they learned that their Westsail 32 could handle sailing to weather better than they could. Nothing can beat your teeth out like taking wind vs current on the nose with a 27 ft waterline! It was so bad at one point that Kit’s brownies, only half baked, broke free from the gimbaling oven, painting the salon brown and breaking the pyrex dish. [Side note: the fact that Kit was baking brownies in those conditions is legendary. Most of us eat trail-mix for breakfast, lunch, and dinner when it gets that sporty].

After sailing to Morocco they parked the boat and hitchhiked to Casablanca and Marrakech.

The young couple was totally enamored with that part of the world, and regularly gamed out ways to support a life there. Skip may or may not have even engaged in some lucrative yet legally frowned upon ‘charters’ at some points (maybe more on that next time, something about the statute of limitations). But eventually the decision was made to head back West via the Canaries, where they fashioned a down-wind pole by gluing two 2 X 4s together.

Off the coast of Africa, during a battle with extremely thick fog, they found themselves in the middle of a fleet of African fishing vessels hauling nets. Possibly the most terrifying thing for a sailor, and something that happens so rarely these days thanks to modern electronics. The sail from the Canaries to St.

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O.G. Young Cruisers: Kit & Skip Fry

Croix took 29 days and was made none the easier by a head that broke 10 hours into their crossing. But Skip knew it was not a part that could have been sourced in Palmas at the time, so onward they sailed with a bucket and a smile. With only 40 gallons of fuel, and a tiller as a helm, they relied heavily on their Aries wind vane steering, a genius piece of equipment that has changed little since and is still in use by many.

Back in the Caribbean, they lived aboard the Westsail for 3 years in St. Croix before moving to Tortola for another 5. They ran West Indies Yacht Charters from 1979-84 before moving back to Wrightsville Beach and building Wilmington Marine Center, a 40 acre property on the Cape Fear River with a full service boat yard and protected marina. It’s there in the Wilmington area they built an incredible life off of the experiences they

had as young cruisers. They have impacted the entire boating industry and thousands of cruisers in various ways throughout their lives and careers. Both the 1948 Owens 40 (now named Rubicon) and their Westsail 32 are still sailing today with new owners.

The Caribbean never left their blood, and in their retirement Skip and Kit enjoy more than half of their year in a cottage on the island of Nevis. At the young age of 77 they can be found walking the island, swimming the Nevis/St Kitts channel, doing pilates, and even windsurfing. The teacher and the captain are still very much in love.

Q & A with Legends:

YCA: What made you both want to do it ‘now’ while you were young?

S & K: We decided to go because we enjoyed living on a boat and the boating community. We knew we had a good boat. And it didn’t even cross our minds that there would be a better time to go. It just seemed natural.

YCA: What do you think is the biggest difference between cruising then and cruising now?

S & K: Communication, being disconnected, and obviously electronics. We’re so glad we did it when we did because it seems hard to replicate the benefits of cruising without being in constant contact. There is a beauty in being alone and 100% self reliant.

YCA: Who was cruising then?

S & K: The Caribbean charter boat business was already a thing, so there were all kinds of people there. Bermuda, being such a necessary stop, had everyone. But there just were not many ‘cruisers’ out there. We remember a young family with 3 kids on a steel boat passing through the Azores, and a few others, but for the most part we would be an anomaly in many harbors. People (locals) would be genuinely excited to see you.

YCA: If you had advice for young people, or anyone really, about going cruising, what would it be?

S & K: Don’t think for a minute you should wait until you can afford a fancy boat to get out there and go sailing. You need a solid boat and a good set of sails. You’ll get there, just fine.

Reflections after interviewing legends:

After speaking with Kit and Skip the most incredible takeaway is the detail of the memories these two have from their

sailing; 50 years later. It’s phenomenal. They never missed a beat with the names of harbors or other small details. I’d bet they could walk you straight to where the chandlery was or tell you the bottom type in a particular harbor. As a sailor who started out too broke for a chart plotter, I can attest to the fact that these kinds of detailed memories are harder to come by in a modern world. When I would spend hours pouring over charts, trying to memorize turns before entering a harbor, or kill boredom with chart books, I retained that information for so long. Now I, like many, can’t remember how to get to my in-laws house because google maps is always leading the way, allowing me to turn off my brain. The same happens when I stare at my chart plotter and make route calculations quickly on Navionics.

Skip and Kit are a reminder for me, and hopefully everyone, to take some time to really engage with your charts, turn off the screens sometimes, exercise your brain and force it to find the path without an easy button.

For the modern cruiser there is very little to leave behind when you take off sailing. You can take your family and friends (FaceTime) and you can even take your job many times. There is no taming an ocean of course, and it is always dangerous, but chart plotters, satellite connections, weather routing apps, and AIS sure do make things a lot easier. For Skip and Kit Fry, leaving for an adventure like this in the 70’s meant not seeing the faces of loved ones for years. It meant sailing only with the seasons and having no idea what tomorrow’s weather would bring. It meant stopping for months or years to take jobs just so you could keep exploring. All sailors have so much in common, but it’s hard to hear stories like theirs and not wonder if they were just that much tougher than I.


The last line of the YCA mantra says ‘we were not the first, and we will not be the last.’ This stands not only as a reminder to respect the environment and those to follow, but also to be humble in the fact that we are all following in the footsteps of legends. O.G.s if you will.

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O.G. Young Cruisers: Kit & Skip Fry

4th Annual Floatchella Exuma!

Your Hosts: Raff & Sasha of SV Spear It Animal Location: Kemps Bay, Great Guana Cay, Exuma Bahamas

Date: Feb. 14th, 2023

Number of Boats: 27 (not all were in the raft)

Floatchella is an annual Young Cruisers Association (YCA) meetup in the Exumas, hosted by a willing YCA member, and bound by no rules except to leave the chosen location better than you found it. Brian Currier, one of the YCA founders, began Floatchella in 2019 after a previous season floating the outgoing tide in the creeks of Shroud Cay, Exuma. Armed with a fleet of inflatable floats, a few bottles of rum, and a stoked group of Bahamians and Cruisers, Floatchella was born.

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Raff and Sasha of Spear It Animal hosted this year’s Floatchella Exuma and made it their own. The Hippie Bar Crawl kicked things off in Black Point on the 10th, then as the weather settled, everyone moved south to Kemps Bay to raft up and… ummm… well all we can say is: party. If you want to see the fun, head over to @spearitanimal on YouTube and watch their crazy journey of boat yard delays and a wild rush to Floatchella all unfold.

YCA’s goal is for members around the world to find a place, set a date, and get people together. Then the YCA machine can spread the word and round up the troops. In a world of social media, device distractions, and online ‘friends,’ it grows ever more important to foster real world gatherings.

Just remember. Headaches are temporary, friends to cruise with are eternal.

Floatchella Host: Spear It Animal

Don’t be fooled by the jello-shots and good looks, Raff and Sasha on Spear it Animal are the quintessential definition of the phrase ‘more than meets the eye.’ As their boat name alludes, these two love being under water more than anything. Raff grew up in Florida as an avid outdoorsman and spearfishing has been a passion of his long before every cruiser had a set of long fins aboard. Sasha is equally as passionate about being under water, chasing after their dinner, and living sustainably from the ocean’s food sources.

Sasha’s parents are legendary Young Cruisers who sailed their 44 ft double-ender throughout the pacific and back to California in the 1980s; pre-children. They moved to Florida and Sasha grew up sailing that same boat in the gulf, Key West, and Cuba as a family. Post college, her and her sister Nathalie convinced their parents to do a Bahamas cruise and eventually the two sisters earned the trust to cruise the solid, yet seasoned, old boat alone. This is when Sasha and Raff’s paths crossed in the Exumas and their boats (Raff was on a cat with a friend at the time) cruised alongside to the Dominican Republic.

Now together (and completely in love we might add), these two are a very experienced and capable team who could hold their own with any old salt out there. Raff is a skilled carpenter and the two have completed a big refit on their new boat Spear It Animal, including incredible woodworking projects that look factory built. These two ocean warriors are proof that this life is not just for trust fund babies or people with remote tech jobs. They have worked hard, poured swimming pools worth of sweat, and taken some big risks to make this dream a reality.

They’re currently enroute to Grenada for storm season before continuing around the world. Spear It Animal won Best Emerging YouTube Channel in last year’s International Cruisers Awards; a title reserved for channels with less than 10k subscribers. They have since quadrupled that number and if you are looking for a new channel to add to your watch list, Spear It Animal should be at the top.

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Raff and Sascha are two modern-day pirates who rebelled against the norms of society!

Check them out on their socials!



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“You know I’ll never be cancer-free. It’s just something I’ve been living with for the last five years as I’m fighting for each day. But today…this sail with my friends was the first time since my diagnosis that I didn’t feel like I had cancer. I wasn’t Deb with Cancer. I was just Deb.”

Sailing can change lives. Sailors often talk about the peace they feel on the water—or the heart-pumping that comes from a race or a challenging sail. Some say that sailing has transformed them. Maybe it’s changed their life trajectory or maybe it’s been one small moment that provided a new perspective. It’s easy to see how even a three-hour sail could affect someone with a cancer diagnosis.

50 Latitudes & Attitudes | #44 FALL 2023

Sail Beyond Cancer has provided private sailing experiences and lasting memories to over 1,800 cancer patients and their loved ones. Its mission is to provide lifeaffirming sailing experiences by harnessing the powers of wind, water, and sail for anyone who is being challenged by cancer. I had the opportunity to sit with Suzanne Snyder, Executive Director of Sail Beyond Cancer, to learn more about how her nonprofit transforms the lives of cancer patients and those who love them.


“I’ll never forget the day I found the lump. I knew I didn’t have time for this. I was raising three children alone. But that day started my journey fighting cancer. There were countless rounds of treatment for my breast cancer and the road to recovery was so very long. I started to look for ways to rebuild my strength and courage when I determined that sailing could help. Connecting with the water was an integral part of my cancer recovery.

In 2014, I started a nonprofit to help others use sailing to have a reprieve from the intense stressors and unknowns that come with a cancer diagnosis. Sail Beyond Cancer (SBC) has three chapters: SBC Vermont, SBC North Shore in

Massachusetts, and SBC Annapolis. Each chapter provides free three-hour sails with cancer patients and their loved ones. Anyone in treatment for cancer—any type of cancer— can come sailing with us. It doesn’t matter how old they are or where they reside. I can’t possibly share all the stories from these sailing excursions, but the program is truly making a difference in the quality of life for our nominees.”


“Sailing can be a lot like cancer—you never really know what path you are going to take when your journey first starts. When you sail, you’re constantly adjusting your sails as the wind direction and speed change. The goal is to keep moving forward as best you can to reach your desired destination.

There’s so much intensity to being on the water and moving through the water. Our nominees get to connect to the undeniable power of Mother Nature—both the healing power and the power to show how you are part of something much bigger than your current problems. I’ve seen amazing transformations when a nominee takes the helm. They finally have the ability to control something when they’ve had no control for so long. Steering the

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vessel allows the nominee to feel the pressure and power of the wind—but it’s truly special when you witness that connection, that oneness with the boat that some nominees achieve when they’re at the helm.”


“One of our nominees was about 80-years old and was being moved to hospice care. I contacted him after getting his nomination and his reaction was not what I expected. He says to me, “Suzanne, this is a great idea and I appreciate the nomination, but I just can’t do it. I’m so tired of everything being about me and I just don’t want to be the center of this experience.” I paused. And then I explained how I respected his feelings, but I wanted to offer a different perspective.

One of the crucial parts of the Sail Beyond Cancer experience is the memories that are captured through photography. We take up to 50 pictures during each cruise. These might be the last photos that a family has of their loved one—and they’re taken in a beautiful outdoor setting with smiles all around. After hearing this point of view, our nominee completely changed his tune. He says, “I love it. It is really important that my family gets together one more time doing something fun. Let’s go sailing!” The result was a memory of grandpa out on the water, rather than stuck in a hospital room. And they’ve got those photos to remind them of the experience forever.”


“I had been working with one family to pick a date for their sailing excursion. They picked a Sunday and had arranged for their daughters to fly in from different parts of the country to share the experience with their dad who was coping with a

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“One of the crucial parts of the Sail Beyond Cancer experience is the memories that are captured through photography.”

cancer diagnosis. I called on the Wednesday before the sail to confirm the details. When the nominee’s teary wife answered, she told me that her husband had passed away last night so there would be no need for the sail.

That’s when an idea popped into my head. I proposed a memorial sail for the family. The daughters were already coming so everyone could get out on the boat to share their favorite memories of the nominee. And the Memorial Sail idea was off the ground—or out on the water actually. Now, anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer within the past three years is eligible for a Memorial Sail. They are specifically designed to help people understand they are not alone and to honor the person that they loved.”


“It’s pretty easy to find inspiration in the sailing community and in our nominees. I am inspired by people who remind us that we are all connected, that we are all part of this planet, and that we can help each other. There are nominees who remind me. There are volunteers who remind me. And there are strangers who simply stop by our boat show booth who remind me.

We need to continue to focus on getting the word out about our services. Cancer doesn’t care about where someone came from. And when I see the smiles—and sometimes the tears—from people who come from all different backgrounds, that’s pretty much all the inspiration that I need.”


“Our goal is to continue to grow and open up other locations throughout the United States. As of today, we’ve been approached by 18 communities that want to have a chapter.

While we want to become a household name, we are moving deliberately with our expansion efforts so we can guarantee a consistent experience at each location. We know that cancer doesn’t stop at a state border so we want to be able to share this powerful nonprofit

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After a year and a half in the western Caribbean we passed through the Panama Canal on Soggy Paws, our 44’ CSY Walkthrough cutter, looking forward to a lengthy and warm Pacific crossing.

We had been discussing how to cross the first half of the Pacific to French Polynesia and beyond for some time and knew we did not want to rush through it in one season. We are retired and not in a hurry. It is a huge area, almost 8,000 miles from Panama to Australia and over 9,000 to the Philippines. It is also a paradise for those who enjoy clear water, warm weather, varied cultures, and wonderful safe cruising. I am summarizing the crossing options below and then the story about our first and second years.

Eastern Pacific Crossing Options: There are at least four popular route options for cruising boats crossing to French Polynesia from the Americas. Frequently called the “Milk Run”, or the annual cruising route taken from the West Coast of the Americas through the South Pacific. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and each requires different timing. Here are those that we considered:

Option 1: Take the most well-traveled and most popular route direct to the Marquesas from any of the

US or Central American Pacific ports. It’s about 3,000 nm, depending on from where you start, and mostly a broad reach or downwind. The best time for crossing on this route is March-April, so that you arrive in the Marquesas near the end of the southern cyclone season. For most, this route will cross the equator and the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).

Once south of the ITCZ, the sail will be in mostly E-SE trade winds. But there are no stops along the way to break up the trip. Once in French Polynesia, three island groups are normally visited: the Marquesas, the Tuamotus and finally Tahiti and the Societies.

Option 2: Sail to the Galapagos, on the equator, and then take the direct route to the Marquesas. If crossing from the Galapagos, which is about 500 miles west of Ecuador on the equator, to the Marquesas, it is also about 3,000 nm. However, you will cross the ITCZ between Panama and the Galapagos, before heading west. Departure timing and the rest of the comments in Option 1 apply. Besides the obvious advantage of seeing the Galapagos, stopping in the Galapagos allows for repair work, crew changes, and re-provisioning.

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“ “

Option 3: After the Galapagos, sail south to Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, the Gambier Islands and back north to the Tuamotus and Marquesas in French Polynesia. If you sail south from the Galapagos to Easter Island (Rapa Nui) (27°S 109°W), it is about 2,000 nm and mostly a beam reach. Because this trip takes you well south of the trade wind belt, it should be done earlier than Options 1 or 2 in order to take advantage of the more settled weather during the southern summer. January and February are good months to leave the Galapagos for this trip. Once at Easter Island, it is about 1,100 miles to Pitcairn Island and then another 300 miles to the Gambiers, the SE-most island group in French Polynesia. All three stops offer unique experiences, but stopping at Easter and Pitcairn require settled weather which is not always guaranteed.

By the time you reach the Tuamotus, in April, cyclone season will be nearly over. If you have planned ahead and obtained a Long Stay Visa for French Polynesia, you have many options and can take your time there. With our Long Stay Visa we were able to spend 6 months in the Gambiers, Tuamotus and Marquesas. By doing this eastern part of French Polynesia backwards from the normal Milk Run group, we avoided the crowded anchorages. The normal Milk Run route is: Marquesas, Tuamotus, and Tahiti. Our route was: Gambiers, Tuamotus, and Marquesas. Also, provisioning was considerably easier. This route also positioned us for an easy sail to Hawaii in late September/early October in order to avoid the upcoming southern cyclone season.

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Soggy Paws at Fatu Hiva, Marquesas

Option 4: Sail south to visit Peru and Chile. Then, the following season, leave from any of the South American ports direct to Easter Island and continue on as in option 3. If leaving from Chile, the normal route is to stop at Juan Fernandez at 33-37S 78-51W. This area normally has southeast trades, so it will be a broad reach to downwind run. If leaving from Lima, Peru the distance is about 2,000 miles, but this route sometimes crosses the High Pressure area that sits north and east of Easter Island, and you might find lighter winds in that area. Once south of about 22S, you are no longer in the trade winds. The most settled weather is in the southern summer, January-March, so that is the best time to make this trip. The remaining comments in Option 3 apply.

Our Second Year: After spending the northern winter in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, we arrived in the Western Tuamotus in mid-May. Then after a month or so, we worked our way southwest with the rest of the “Milk Runners” to Tahiti for the Puddle Jump crossing festivities. These activities are worthwhile as an introduction to South Pacific culture. After that we still had four months to get to Tonga before the start of the next southern cyclone season. So we meandered behind the crowds through the Societies, Cooks and Samoas to Tonga.

We arrived just as the rest of the cruisers were leaving for the 1,200 mile trip south to New Zealand (another cold and windy trip). The route from Tonga or Fiji to New Zealand can be a dangerous crossing, and then it must be done again coming back north the next year. For this reason, we opted to keep our boat in Tonga for cyclone season. So for us, the next few weeks involved securing our boat for the two months we would be on “vacation” back in the US. November and December are officially the start of the southern cyclone season, but as Tonga rarely experiences cyclones in those months, it was a good time for us to plan to be away from the boat. We used a strong mooring maintained by some former cruisers at Tapana, south of the main harbor at Neiafu, Vavau. There are also a few strong moorings available in Neiafu Harbor. If staying in Tonga over the cyclone season, choose your anchorage carefully. Upon our return we did get bashed by a small surprise cyclone, but that’s another story.

There are many reasons for taking more than one season to see French Polynesia. Very few Americans spend more than three months there, and only a few take more than six months to cross the Pacific to New Zealand or Australia. The major reasons for not taking longer are cyclone season

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Hiking to the seven waterfalls on Phonpei, FSM Diving on Japanese Emily seaplane in Truk Lagoon, FSM Cave snorkeling in Tonga

and immigration issues. But in some cases it is just poor planning. For others it is the rush to get west for one reason or another. And then there are those who just want to stay with their Milk Run friends. After the first dash across the Pacific to New Zealand, the normal Milk Run brings cruisers from New Zealand back north to Fiji or Tonga and then all the way to Australia at the end of their second Pacific cruising season. This is moving way too fast, in our opinion—skipping through the best cruising grounds in the world.

Avoiding tropical cyclones: Safe options for avoiding the southern tropical cyclone season and delaying one’s progress further west there include: staying in any place within about eight degrees of the equator or anywhere north of it such as Hawaii, the Line Islands, the Gilberts and Micronesia. Only changing one’s latitude is a safe option in a strong Category 3-5 storm.

Cruising destinations south of the equator in the Pacific include such places as French Polynesia, the Cooks, the Samoas, Tonga Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Some of these locations can be a viable option in lesser storms, but only if there is a plan for finding proper protection. In French Polynesia there are a number of places to haul out (some where they will bury your keel), including Apataki in the Tuamotus, and Tahiti and Raiatea in the Societies. Further west both Tonga (Vavau) and Fiji (Savusavu/Buda Point) have storm moorings, somewhat protected haul out facilities and mangrove lined channels. However, none of these are safe in stronger tropical cyclones.

Wintering in Hawaii: Even with a six month Long Stay Visa for French Polynesia we felt somewhat rushed to cruise the Gambiers, Tuamotus and Marquesas. So we delayed our progress west by “wintering over” in Hawaii during the southern cyclone season. From the Marquesas, the last island group we visited, it is an easy 2,000 nm, mostly beam or broad reach northwest to Hawaii. We left the northern Marquesas in mid-September and had a near perfect passage with 12-15 knots of wind and light seas all the way. With an easy ITCZ crossing we arrived in Hilo on October 2nd. However, we knew of only about ten boats, of the 500 that had crossed the Pacific that year that chose to go to Hawaii for the winter. About half of those left from the Marquesas and half from the Societies. The further east you can get for your departure north, the easier the trip will be due to the wind angle advantage.

On the return to French Polynesia, we left at the end of April from Oahu and had a somewhat rough

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Pitcairn Island boathouse River rafting in Fiji
Fulanga Atoll, Fiji with our 2012 tracks 2

windy passage for the first week, close hauled, with winds in the 18-22 knot range. After that it settled down and we had a pleasant passage through the ITCZ and for the last two weeks. Timing and good weather information, as with any long passage, is essential. And it helps to have someone with internet access watching the ITCZ for you.

The Western Pacific: From French Polynesia westward to SE Asia the distances between stops are much shorter, and there are many options for things to see and do. There are island groups on both sides of the equator, and thus the opportunity exists to cruise north and south to avoid the cyclone/typhoon seasons. Since the trade winds are generally northeast north of the equator and southeast south of the equator, moving north and south within about 20 degrees of the equator is relatively easy. It is only when you want to go back east that things get more difficult, but not impossible.

As an example of what is possible if you have time to spend multiple years in the Pacific, read on to see what we did. From the beginning, we thought we would spend at least five years getting across the Pacific, so that we would have time to see and do as much as possible.

The Third & Fourth years: We visited fabulous Fiji during the southern winter cruising season, sailing directly to Fiji from Tonga in May. After thoroughly exploring the many islands of Fiji over a period of 11 months, we moved north to the Marshalls through Kiribati and Tuvalu the following April and May. The fourth year we remained in the Marshalls over the northern summer so as to be there for the calmer cruising season. Diving in Kwajalein and Bikini Atolls were real highlights.

The Fifth Year: Once the northwestern Pacific typhoon season had died down in January, we started moving west. This involved a cruise through the remote islands of southern Federated States of Micronesia, including Pohnpei, Chuuk and Yap. Remaining just south of 10 North, over the northern winter and spring minimizes the typhoon danger. We arrived in Palau in May and remained there through most of the northern summer in order to take advantage of the great diving. In August, we sailed west for the southern Philippines before typhoons began their more southerly tracks.

Davao in southern Mindanao has a nice typhoon-safe marina and haul out yard. Over the next six years, we

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Kaui’s north coast

made two trips north into the central Philippines, three south into eastern Indonesia and one all the way to Papua New Guinea and the Solomons.

Another option would be to sail from Palau south to Raja Ampat and Sorong on the northern New Guinea coast. From there, after November, it is possible to move southwest into Indonesia or southeast to the Solomon Islands. The following year, but before May, one could continue southeast from the Solomons and then west through Vanuatu and New Caledonia to Australia.

Admittedly, since we are avid scuba divers, much of our itinerary is driven by the desire to visit the best diving sites. Fiji, the Marshalls, Chuuk, Palau, Raja Ampat and the Solomons are some of these places. We are also very interested to see some of the famous western Pacific World War II sites and remote Pacific islands off the normal southern hemisphere cruising routes. For these reasons and the more difficult passage south, we avoided the more popular run to New Zealand and back.

The following are some of the more difficult issues that must be dealt with in deciding how to proceed across the Pacific:

Weather: Tropical cyclone seasons drive timing for a safe cruise across the Pacific. Warm water and air enhance storm formation; therefore, summer is the storm season in both hemispheres. El Niño years produce warmer water and therefore more storms further east. Cyclone season in the southwest Pacific, including most of French Polynesia, is November until May. Hurricane season along the Central American coast out to Hawaii is June through November. Typhoon season in the western North Pacific is June through December, but there can be typhoons any month. Only the area within about eight degrees either side of the equator is a relatively safe zone.

The Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), not to be confused with the SPCZ further southwest, is an area of frequent thunderstorms and squalls of variable magnitude, migrating within about 10 degrees of the equator. Crossing it safely involves careful boat preparation, timing, and good access to weather resources. The resources we found useful are included in the French Polynesia Weather Compendium on our website. http://svsoggypaws.com/files/#frpoly

Navigation: Because of the high expense, variable accuracy, and often inadequate shoreline detail of

Easter morning procession at Wolei, FSM

commercial charting overseas, many modern cruisers currently use satellite imagery to navigate in remote areas. The excellent open source navigation program OpenCPN and large collections of free satellite imagery are now available to cruisers for this purpose.

Immigration: French Polynesia currently allows US and Canadian citizens, without making prior arrangements, a maximum of three months stay, no exceptions. This “visa on arrival” cannot be extended from within French Polynesia. If you want to stay longer, you must apply well in advance of arrival for a Long Stay Visa. See the application details here: http://pacificpuddlejump.com/longstayvisa.html

EU citizens are allowed to stay in French Polynesia for two years without having to do any extra paperwork. Regulations frequently change so keep up to date for this and many other island nations at Noonsite.com

Resources: For those headed this way there are only a few good paper and internet resources, some with detailed information, and others of more value to armchair sailors. Some of those we have used include:

The Pacific Crossing Guide – RCCPF, 3rd edition, 2016, the gold standard for Pacific cruising and preparation information, new edition out soon

World Cruising Routes - Jimmy Cornell, 9th edition, 2022, best guide for route planning an ocean cruise

Charlie’s Charts of Polynesia - Charles and Margo Wood, 8th edition, 2021, detailed chart books

Landfalls of Paradise – Earl Hinz, 5th edition, 2006, good but dated destination information

Moon and Lonely Planet Guides - up to date detailed shore location and activity information

Soggy Paws’ Compendiums - 2011-2023, extensive Pacific cruising and navigation information, free downloadable PDF files at: http://svsoggypaws.com/files/#frpoly

We hope some of you reading this will give consideration to planning a multiple year adventure while crossing the Pacific. We think you will find this vast and beautiful area one of the highlights of any round the world voyage. Our own detailed Pacific crossing documentation, technical information and much more are on our website above.

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Diving Fakarava, Tuamotus South Pass Japanese WW2 gun on Tarawa Stone money on Yap, FSM

Sailing Trip Untethered

A couple of years ago, my family set out to complete America’s Great Loop on our Cruisers 4450 Motor Yacht, Light & Salty. About 1,500 miles into our journey and just days after my 13th birthday, fellow Loopers (Paul and Adrienne on M/V Chasing 90) asked if I could crew on their boat for a day. They needed someone to handle the lines while Paul navigated through several locks on the Erie Canal. I eagerly agreed, but of course I had no way of knowing the massive impact it would have on my life.

On top of managing fenders and lines during the locks, Paul let me drive their 48’ Californian. At one point in an open part of the canal he challenged me to spin the boat 360 degrees. Without even a compass, I was told to bring the boat as close to exact as I could. On my first try, I came within three degrees. Paul also spent time telling me about his former days on a sailboat and how he dreamed of being back on one in the future.

Now, nearly three years later, he invited me to crew on Untethered, a Lagoon 42 Sailing Catamaran. This time, rather than just a day on a canal, he asked me to crew on their maiden voyage across the Gulf of Mexico.

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S_V Untethered Dry Tortugas Sunset

My name is Mary Grace. I’m 15 years old and have been a full time liveaboard for three years. I’ve been to all 50 states, completed The Great Loop, and boated over 12,000 nautical miles. However, nothing compares to spending eight days doing an open water crossing!

Our goal was to move S/V Untethered from Kemah, Texas to the Dry Tortugas and on to Key West, Florida. That’s 700 miles of open water on a nearly 800-mile journey. In preparation, I watched many sailing videos and read through tons of sailing instruction manuals. I also worked with Paul to develop a list of safety procedures for the crossing.

6:00 to 10:00 was my assigned shift at the helm, both in the morning and evening. I began my first nighttime watch as a glorious red sunset painted the sky behind us. Shortly after, the stars began to twinkle overhead. As more and more joined the canopy of stars, I wrote in my journal “this is just the beginning.” My words represented the literal beginning of our trek across the Gulf. They also represented something much bigger. I truly believe that was the beginning of a life to be spent at sea.

I’m not usually a morning person, but it was hard not to wake up excited to start each day. I began each morning watch with a granola bar and a sunrise. Soon the dolphins would join me. (For any fellow marine science nerds, I later identified them as Pantropical Spotted Dolphins.) Hundreds of them escorted Untethered through the bluest water I’ve ever seen. Each morning I thought to myself, I could do this forever.

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Mary Grace at the helm on Untethered Mary Grace working out sailing math

As my morning watch concluded, I knew I’d have eight hours of free time until my next turn at the helm. Without cell service, wifi, or unlimited space to roam, the biggest challenge was filling the hours. Some days I took a nap to recharge for the evening watch. During the afternoon I spent time reading books I had downloaded on my Kindle prior to the trip. We also had to get creative to pass the time.

One day, while still aboard, I got to go on a “field trip.” We went around the boat, and I was asked to name parts or what they did. I was forced to answer “I don’t know” more times than I ever have in my entire life. However, it was an enjoyable and educational activity. I also practiced tying knots. I learned several new ones during this journey, including the Sheet Bend (like the reef/square knot but works on lines of different sizes) and the Figure 8 Follow Through (it works like a Bowline). For a challenge, I tried tying a few knots blindfolded!

Additionally, from sunrise to sunset, we had fishing lines in the water. On our second day, Paul caught the first fish, a blackfin tuna. During the next few days, we caught several mahi-mahi, one of which I reeled in. We made Ceviche and fish tacos. Fish you catch yourself when no land is in sight somehow have a way of tasting better!

We also caught a massive clump of Sargassum Grass, which is a brown seaweed that comes from the Sargasso Sea, an ocean gyre in the Atlantic. This won the record of the “Funniest Catch.” We really thought we had caught a huge fish! Later that day, we had a bit of redemption and brought in a four-foot wahoo. We cleaned the fish, cutting it into little medallions, and enjoyed it with fried rice that night.

The next morning, we reached the Dry Tortugas. This was a particularly special arrival for me. Not only did it signal the beginning of the end of my first 800-mile crossing, but it was also a destination that eluded me years earlier. My family attempted to take our boat to the Dry Tortugas, but unfortunately, we never got a weather window. Finally arriving felt like a victory three-years in the making!

We grabbed a mooring ball by Loggerhead Key and spent a few hours snorkeling. We saw a huge tarpon (Paul claims it was the size of the dingy) and tons of reef fish. That afternoon, we moved to an anchorage by Garden Key and took the dingy to Fort Jefferson. We spent hours exploring

Sunrise at the Helm
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Dolphin fish caught by Mary Grace

the fort, learning about its history, construction, and most famous prisoner, Dr. Mudd. The fort’s stunning red brick arches nicely complemented the beautiful turquoise waters. We took the dingy back to Untethered, then swam for a while. A large barracuda lurked under the boat. That night, he showed up again as we took the bones out of the wahoo for a celebratory “Surf and Turf” dinner. We threw the scraps down to the barracuda, whom we affectionately named Barry. As we were feeding him, another fish showed up to investigate. It was a seven-foot lemon shark!

The next day we bid farewell to the Dry Tortugas and set sail for Key West. After getting tied up and washing the boat, we headed to a nearby restaurant to celebrate. As I enjoyed a Shirly Temple and the adults had other beverages, Paul shared a crazy statistic. During the voyage, the wind had been minimal and therefore we only spent a short amount of time with the engines completely shut off. However, we had only used 52 gallons of diesel. As a powerboater, I was shocked by Untethered’s fuel efficiency.

The end of an amazing journey is always sad. Not only was my time on S/V Untethered endingfor now- but I also needed to say goodbye to Paul and Adrienne. One thing I’ve learned as a boater though is that paths will always cross again. Hopefully I will join them on the water in my own sailboat someday. Until then, I have my pictures and memories. Oh, and my sophomore year of high school to tackle!

BIO: Mary Grace Bowlin developed a passion for all things water related at an early age. She is SCUBA certified and has enough hours logged to receive her Captain’s license as soon as she’s old enough. When she isn’t on the water… no wait, she’s always on the water, Mary Grace looks forward to pursuing a career in marine science, specifically shark research. She’s just started sharing her adventures at @MoreThanANomad on Instagram.

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Mary Grace with dolphin on crossing View of Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas
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Red Seas

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from YouTube channel Red Seas Indioko at anchor

When we first decided to buy a boat that would become our permanent home, the world had just gone into lockdown and international travel became impossible. After a four-month wait in our small apartment in Scotland, we grabbed the first opportwunity we could to book one-way tickets to the Caribbean and never looked back.

We had our hearts set on a Leopard 47, a catamaran that checked all the critical boxes and provided a reliable base from which we could build a solid bluewater cruising vessel. Most of these production catamarans were designed for the charter market and our budget meant we were looking at models from 2005 with very simple or non-existent systems onboard. In fact, we lived on one for two months in St. Vincent & the Grenadines and delivered it to Grenada (along with its newer sister, a Leopard 46) as part of our purchase deal with the owner who was stuck in the Dominican Republic at the time.

Unfortunately, things fell through at the last minute in quite a dramatic fashion (it really is worth watching the first few episodes on our YouTube channel as it’s a story most people wouldn’t believe!) and we were left homeless. On an island. 4000 miles from home. During Covid.

As luck, or rather the incredible generosity of the cruising community, would have it, we were able to hitchhike on a few boats and ended up four months later in the US Virgin Islands where we purchased our current boat, SV Indioko - a 2005 Leopard 47 with no systems onboard, freshly out of a hard 15 years in the charter market. Just what we were looking for.

Our rose-tinted glasses were smashed in our first week of boat ownership when the mainsheet system (a boom shackle) broke quite spectacularly. One engine seriously overheated and our fuel tank leaked dozens of gallons of diesel into the bilge. It’s supposed to be fun, they said!

And at this point we had a choice - we could be overwhelmed by our situation, doubt our decision and ultimately return home to our life on land that was comfortable and normal and easy. Or we could push on, learn the skills we needed and figure the rest out along the way. And every time when we’ve faced this choice in the last three years, we have always, without regret, wholeheartedly chosen the latter.

We had to begin our cruising life sooner than planned as our visas ran out for the USVI and we had to leave the country but this prompted us to recognize that we could do almost every repair or upgrade on the hook as we continued to travel. In the first six months of living onboard, we installed 1400W flexible solar panels, 600Ah lithium batteries, a radar, AIS, and a chart plotter. We built our own watermaker and dinghy davits, re-powered the whole boat from 110V to 220V and taught ourselves how to do fiberglass repairs. And we did all that whilst living

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Red Seas
Iain and Brioni Sailing with dolphins

from anchorage to anchorage. Since the day we bought Indioko, we have only spent one night in a marina - and that was because we couldn’t figure out a way to weld our dinghy davits without a shore hook up.

We have since traveled to over twenty countries throughout the Caribbean, from St. Martin to Panama and the experience has been like nothing we could ever have imagined. From sailing with humpback whales to diving with sharks, and meeting sailors from all around the globe to volunteering with an NGO in the aftermath of volcanic eruptions, we have lived life to the full and tried to truly soak up the experience.

We don’t have a long term plan or an end goal but we aim to keep searching for the same thing we set out to find in the first place - the thrill of travel, the love of

meeting new people and the wild exhilaration in sailing our own home to new places. SV Indioko is a name that comes from Ancient Greek, meaning “to be in pursuit of” and that’s what encompasses our life on the oceanthe constant draw to explore the new and undiscovered places that lie on the path before us.

When we first left Scotland we weren’t sure what lay before us or how we would cope in this new and challenging lifestyle, but we are both adaptable and pretty determined, so as each challenge arose, we learned how to tackle new problems and find the joy in achieving something new or solving a problem.

In Saint Martin, just at the start of hurricane season, we ran aground in a shallow bay. Thankfully we were stuck on a sandbar rather than a reef but the five hour wait for

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Beach in Panama

a 10cm tide to rise was still excruciatingly uncomfortable with the repeated noise of two hulls lifting and slamming back onto hard ground. By nightfall we were floating again, just, and we managed to somehow drag our boat off the sandbar using our dinghy and its oversized outboard. Rather than take the same route out of the bay, we opted for the narrow rocky pass which provided quite an alarming soundtrack as we made our way into deeper water.

The following day we checked our keels and found one to be wobbly - not a good word to describe a keel! But with hurricane season building and our need to get south at the forefront of our minds, we decided to sail 400 nm to Trinidad where we could haul out and repair the damage. Wonderfully, both keels were still attached when we lifted the boat out of the water and we spent the next few weeks removing and repairing them - figuring it all out as we went along, as is our way.

We met some incredibly kind and supportive people in Trinidad who took pity on us and our plight and lent more than a helping hand as we took on some fairly major structural work in the boatyard. But once we splashed, we were ready to get back out there again and continue living the dream. Not even an anonymous hit and run would stop us! (And yes, that’s another story to watch.)

We have since sailed west from the Lesser Antilles and found new challenges along the way. We have stretched our legs on offshore passages and taken on some bigger seas around the Colombian coast on our way to Panama. Every anchorage seems to have something new waiting for us to discover and we can’t wait to keep chasing down the next sunset.

Indeed, as we write this, we are hundreds of miles from land, in the middle of the ocean as we take on our biggest challenge yet and sail across the Pacific. We are encouraged that all our experiences so far have taught us to be self-reliant, to have confidence in ourselves as sailors and to think outside the box when it comes to repairs. We know our boat is more than ready for the task and we cautiously believe that we are too.

The biggest change we have made to Indioko over the last twelve months as we considered stretching our boundaries and sailing further is adding Wayfinder. We have been working with iNav4U to develop a situational awareness system which combines all your boat’s instruments in one screen and acts like a First Mate, letting you know when there’s something you may have missed.

It has saved us from running aground in Panama with its customizable depth alarms (we found this to be

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Wayfinder by iNav4U

crucial when sailing in areas where the charts are so unreliable) and saves us mental energy on those tired night watches on passage when we can’t process information so clearly. We are excited to be the first boat to cross the Pacific Ocean using Wayfinder and the automatic logbook feature will save us hours of noting down our position and heading.

In the same way that we have been supported by so many sailors that we’ve met along the way, we are excited to see Wayfinder promoting safe practices on the water and allowing people to stretch out of their comfort zones a little in chasing their sailing dreams. This life has not been the adventure we signed up for, but so much more - and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

When people ask us why we share our life on YouTube, we usually reply that we seem to find ourselves in so many unlikely situations that people wouldn’t believe our stories unless they saw them for themselves! It truly is an incredible experience to live and work on the ocean, and one we desperately try not to take for granted.

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Installing Lithium Batteries Boat yard


Four couples who had never met each other from four different corners of the United States—Georgia, Oregon, Arizona, and Texas —each made their way to the airport, boarded a plane and flew to Annapolis, Maryland for the United States Sailboat Show. Their lives were about to intertwine and change in ways they could never have imagined …

Before we left Georgia, I told my husband Kevin, “we are not buying a boat at the boat show.”

Kevin looked at me funny, which made me suspicious…and a little bit nervous.

I tried to get him to shake on it. He refused. I looked at him with one raised eyebrow.

There was excitement in the air that first day at the sailboat show. We had never been to Annapolis nor a boat show that was so expansive, and we were ready to soak it all in! The weather was perfect—sunny with a slight, cool breeze—and there were so many people wandering the docks and climbing aboard boats and hopping off with their socks on.

YouTubers strolled past us so casually that we may have missed them had we not been paying attention.

The couple from SV Delos stopped, we talked on the dock for five minutes like old friends, a nice passerby took a picture for us, and off we walked with smiles on our faces.

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This is the story of the Annapolis Impulse Buyers Club.

We met the entire SV Delos crew; we talked to Colin of Sailing Parlay Revival and Below Deck Sailing Yacht; later in the week we hung out with The O’Kelly’s and ended up in their subsequent YouTube episode.

There were food tents, restaurants, bars and thousands of people resting their tired feet from the 20,000+ steps they would end up walking that day. As we wandered through the tents full of vendors selling boat gadgets, we looked only casually, not seriously, since we weren’t ready to buy a boat just yet … or so we thought.

“Kevin, we have to buy a boat now!” Kevin looked at me with one raised eyebrow.

I began to make my case..“There’s already a 10% increase on the new price sheet; the one-and-a-halfyear wait time gives us time to prepare; used boat prices are about the same; maybe we shouldn’t wait until retirement because we may be too old and creaky to sail by then; there are no guarantees in life; we may not even be alive anymore!”

Kevin raised the other eyebrow.

He was not sure how the tables turned so quickly, but he was cautiously nodding. Kevin had grown up

sailing and this was his childhood dream, after all—to buy a boat, live on it, quit the day-job and sail around the world!

We had been looking at sailboats for years and knew that someday we would own one. Over the years and after several charter trips, the boat we were looking for changed in size and functionality from a monohull to a catamaran.

Years ago, we had sailed through an unannounced squall in the BVI’s on a monohull with our daughter, only six at the time. I remember yelling — I mean telling — Kevin through the noise of the wind and rain while heeling at 45 degrees with eight-foot ocean swells crashing over our bow and hanging onto the boat for dear life, “I thought you were taking us on a nice family vacation, not survival training!?” But that’s an entirely separate story. The point is, I wasn’t on board with living aboard a monohull.

Four years later, we chartered a 44’ Leopard Catamaran in the BVIs with nine family members spanning three generations ages 10 to 80. That trip changed everything! The Leopard was more like a floating condo, stable and livable. And I loved the front door walk out, “I’m in!”

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But we all know how busy life gets between work, kids, pets, school and travel sports! Before you know it, another eight years have passed, you still don’t have a boat, and your dream seems more distant with every new gray hair and passing year. Then one day, your kid is off to college, and you book that trip to the Sailboat Show in Annapolis … just to look, of course.

By the end of our first day, we reached a decision that teetered on insanity! We decided to go ahead and buy that boat and do that thing and live that dream! However, we were reasonable—we slept on it for one night! The idea, not the boat.

Little did we know at the exact same time, three other couples were having the exact same thoughts and conversations and were in the same boat! Pun absolutely intended because I couldn’t resist.

Friday, October 15, 2021:

THIS was the day! My quiet husband was even more quiet as we walked down the quaint, old Main Street in Annapolis to the marina.

“What are you thinking?”

Kevin: “I’m thinking this is either going to be the best decision of our lives or the worst decision of our lives!”

“I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the best decision of our lives! It’s like having a baby. If you waited for the perfect time, you’d never have a baby, but if you have the baby, you make it work!”

We met our salesperson ready to purchase a Leopard 42. The new design was light, bright, airy and modern, and there was that irresistible L-shaped lounge area on the roof! Sundowners, here we come!

We found ourselves sitting at the contract-signing table with two other couples: Bruce and Brenda Craig and Sarah and Ray Gasper. At first, the mood was quiet and solemn, as we sat there in our own thoughts without a hint of excitement, but with deer-caught-in-a-headlight looks on our faces. Someone broke the silence and asked, “So where are you all from?” And that simple question changed everything forevermore.

Bruce and Brenda revealed they were visiting from Texas—but had an obvious South African accent—and I remember Bruce saying, “We weren’t going to buy a boat

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are never buying a boat...
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we are never buying a boat...

today. We initially came just to look and perhaps buy something used later.” Sarah and Ray and Kevin and I chimed in that we all had the exact same intentions! Our fearful faces were now relaxed and laughing, and we all felt better knowing “we weren’t the only crazy ones!”

Afterwards, we three couples celebrated the first step in making our sailing dreams become a reality by sharing a cocktail on the rooftop lounge of the Leopard 42. We reflected on—and bonded over— the fear we brushed aside earlier that day about the large financial investment and life-changing decision we were about to make in a rather impulsive way. We were changing the trajectory of our entire lives, but as the sun set and the moon rose and the breeze set in and conversations and laughter ensued and new friendships were

forming on the roof of the Leopard, it felt right, and it felt good.

The next morning a massive torrential downpour flooded the docks, and we three couples converged once again for a celebratory champagne party for new owners hosted by Leopard. We met the fourth couple who had also purchased a Leopard 42, Mike and Kimberly Budreau from Oregon.

After sharing several bottles of champagne, stories and laughter, we all took Ubers to a restaurant to hang out with The O’Kelly’s, one of our favorite YouTube couples. At the end of the night we exchanged numbers and said “until next time” because we were friends for life now with a common goal. Brenda set us up with a group text and jokingly entitled it “Annapolis Impulse Buyers Club.”

In the following two months, we texted almost daily as we navigated the many decisions about options for our boats, qualifications for insurance, and life in general.

Then came January of 2022 and Brenda asked, “What do you all think about sailing together in the Abaco Islands? Responses were: “Great idea!” “Hell yeah!” “Absolutely!” and “We’re in!” You guessed it, boats and flights were booked within 24 hours! After all, we are the Annapolis Impulse Buyers Club!

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BRUCE AND BRENDA CRAIG—They received their Leopard 45, eKhaya, in February 2023. Originally from South Africa, they plan to split their time between Colorado in the summer and eKhaya in the winter with stopovers in Texas to spend time with their two sons. Bruce is retiring from homebuilding and Brenda is a retired schoolteacher. Before starting their careers and family, Bruce and Brenda backpacked around the world for a year with a 7’ by 7’ tent. Their next phase of extended travel after retirement, on their Leopard, is going to be a lot more comfortable than their first!

KEVIN AND NICOLE O’DONOHUE Kevin, London-born, and Nicole, born in Switzerland, are avid world travelers and enjoy living and working in Roswell, Georgia. In February 2023, they received their Leopard 42, Tonic, which was on the same freighter from South Africa as Bruce and Brenda Craig’s Leopard 45. Kevin works in corporate America; Nicole owns her own business as a real estate investor, renovator and manager. They are parents to a grown daughter, Leah … and a horse, Atlas; a dog, Daisy; and a cat, Coco. They would like to retire early so they can go sailing full time with the rest of the AIBC crew, but they haven’t quite figured it out yet. In the meantime, they will divide their time between Roswell and living aboard Tonic

MIKE AND KIMBERLY BUDREAU—This amazing couple met when they were teenagers working as cops for the Medford Police Department in Oregon. Kim just 16, and Mike, 17. They started dating when they were 23 and 24 and married four years later. Kim was the first female promoted to Police Sergeant for the department, and Mike was police Lieutenant and department spokesman. They were both also competitive water-skiers. After spending 30 years as police, they retired together in June of 2022, after which they sold their dream home in Oregon, bought an RV, and traveled all over the USA for a year! They will receive their Leopard 42, Blue Haven, in Summer of 2023 and will be well-prepared for boat life— traveling, living in small spaces and fixing things!

SARAH AND RAY GASPER—The Arizona couple will be receiving their Leopard 42, Kismet, in the Summer of 2023. Ray was a badass firefighting hero living on the edge and trying to make it to retirement unscathed. He succeeded and retired in March 2023. Sarah was a Phoenix Police Detective working for both the FBI and DHD (Department of Homeland Security) as a Counterterrorism Detective (Terrorism Liaison Detective.) She’s retired now. They are renting their Arizona house to family and look forward to fixing up the home Sarah’s grandfather originally built in Greece, which needs everything including a roof, windows, doors and floors. They are also proud parents and grandparents.

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I’m excited to share this experience with everyone as I have discovered traveling at night doesn’t have to be scary or frustrating. You don’t have to get into shouting matches with friends and family as they try to direct you on a safe path. Thankfully, it’s all in the past. Why the big change? What happened to my hesitancy to navigate at night? Let’s take a step back and start from the beginning.

After a long day of work around the house, I decided to take my boat out on the harbor. Knowing it would be a beautiful night with a full moon and clear skies, it was the perfect evening to watch the sunset and enjoy time with family and friends. Most boaters will tell you after dark is one of the best times to be out on the water. The bright light from the moon, the freedom of being on the water and the serene sound of nature is true paradise!

As we were navigating back, what should have been a walk in the park ended up being an exhausting experience because as usual, the channel markers were very hard to see, and we still had several miles of local canal systems to reach before we hit home. It seemed like everything was merging into one big black hole. The shadows cast by trees and houses made it harder to visually separate objects from one another. The combination of the moonlight, my eyes adapting to the dark and someone holding a less than satisfactory light on the bow left me feeling stressed and frustrated. This was supposed to be a relaxing cruise, all about fun, family, and friends. However, when you can’t see clearly, it’s no fun because everyone has just entered a dangerous situation.

I take partial blame for not being as prepared as I should. I always have a handheld spotlight on board, but that was

clearly not enough to guide us back home safely. This led me to swear that I would not take another evening cruise without proper on-board lighting. I knew I needed something that could handle a variety of situations. Something that could illuminate dark waters and help me navigate, but also provide bright light when coming in to dock or turning around in canals.

I easily ruled out the handheld light. They are less than optimal since I can’t captain and shine the light at the same time. Plus, you still can’t see everything because it’s just a spotlight.

Eventually, and after studying options for months, I made the decision to install a lightbar. But not all lightbars are created equal and most are not marine quality. It was important to find one which could withstand our Florida environment and any saltwater corrosion. It didn't take long for me to discover Sunbrite Solutions were offering, dare I say, a quantum leap forward in marine lighting. The results were immediate and impressive—I could see almost everything in the water around me. And the ability to adjust your brightness for each specific circumstance is critical. Sunbrite was the only manufacturer, I found, that offered that solution. The low light allows me to see oncoming vessels while not blinding them in passing. The real advantage is that I no longer worry about being out on the water at night. These lights have given me the freedom to come and go whenever I want and the peace of mind knowing that even on the darkest of nights, I can navigate back home safely.

You can find Sunbrite Solutions at www.sunbriteled.com or call 941-217-7727

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A Sought After Pacific Northwest Gem Coastal Craft 45 Flybridge

With a history rooted in commercial-grade aluminum hulls dating back to 1996, Coastal Craft Yachts of Gibsons, British Columbia built their legacy to match the rugged waters and gorgeous coastlines of their native land. And their 45’ Flybridge is the most popular selling Coastal Craft model to date, and one of the most sought after coastal power cruisers still out there. First launched in 2008 and powered with twin Volvo IPS600’s, this economical planing hull offers speeds of over 30 knots with cruising speeds of up to 26 knots at .8 NM per US gallon, ensuring you see more of the coast per season than most boats in her size range.

The strength offered in their commercial grade aluminum hulls provide unmatched safety, security and long life. Coastal Craft’s innovative Drive Guard Skegs provide protection for the IPS Pods from impact with floating debris. The two stateroom and two head layout

offers privacy with the staterooms located at either end of the salon. The interior is beautifully handcrafted in Walnut with teak flooring, Ultraleather upholstery, Corian countertops, window blinds plus much more. The aft cockpit hardtop covers the cockpit seating area and provides an excellent protected getaway onboard. The flybridge with upper helm station offers seating for 10 with or without the optional Bimini Top.

From Alaska to Florida, and west coast to east, the Coastal Craft 45 has a following that verges on cult-like. Whether used primarily as a pleasure boat, cruising boat, luxury power yacht or for fishing, the strength, performance and speed of the 45 is legendary. In any sea, she flies with a silent grace that belies her aluminum hull, hand built structural integrity and incredible responsiveness.

This yacht does it all. Whether you’re looking for the perfect yacht for day trips, weekend getaways or coastal voyages, the 450IPS will deliver it all in style, comfort and safety.

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COASTAL CRAFT 45 LOA 49’ 6” Beam 15’ 3” Maximum Draft 3’ 10” Displacement 35,000 lbs Full Load Bridge Clearance 19’ 6” Engine Brand Volvo Model IPS600 Maximum Speed 32 knots COASTAL CRAFT 45 FLYBRIDGE GET ALL THE FACTS: www.coastalcraft.com www.LatsAtts.com 85



The new Jeanneau Yachts 55, set to debut at this year’s Annapolis Sailboat Show from October 12-15, can be aptly described as innovative, bold, and original. Inspired by modern cruising catamarans, this groundbreaking vessel, designed by Philippe Briand in collaboration with Andrew Winch, presents a revolutionary concept centered around providing an unparalleled live-aboard experience for both owners and their guests.


Like a cat, you’ll notice that the helm stations of the JY 55 are forward rather than in the traditional location of being on the very back of the boat. Having the wheels in this location puts the helmsman and all the sailing controls much closer to the companionway, which is safer (especially when sailing at night) and more convenient for accessing the forward cockpit area.

Located just forward of the helm stations is the forward cockpit. It seamlessly integrates elements of a living space, dining area, and even a navigation area, complete with the option for a chart plotter. The entire area can be enclosed by a full dodger running between the forward part of the arch and the companionway.

By relocating the helm stations and sailing controls forward, the designers ingeniously utilize the entire aft section of the

boat, resulting in a truly unique outdoor living experience reminiscent of catamarans. Notice how the aft lounging area runs the entire width of the boat from gunwale to gunwale. It’s literally like having a patio on the stern of the boat.

Introduced with the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440 in 2018, the walk-around deck has since become a signature feature across all Jeanneau models, from the Sun Odyssey 380 to the Jeanneau Yachts 65. In the case of the JY 55, the walk-around deck starts just behind the helm stations, providing easy access for guests and crew to move fore and aft seamlessly.


The forward interior space of the 55 was meticulously designed to create a private one-bedroom apartment for the owner, complete with a living room, kitchen, master bedroom, and master bathroom.

Access to the main salon is gained via the main companionway. The main salon, including a beautifully designed galley, serves as the primary living area for the owners.

The master suite spans the full beam of the boat, located just forward of the main salon. It features a generously sized queen bed, a comfortable settee, a functional desk, and ample storage.

Just forward of the master stateroom is the spacious, full-beam master head and shower.

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Two guest cabins, each with their own private entrances, are accessed from either side of the cockpit. Each cabin includes everything the owner’s guests need for a comfortable night aboard, including privacy, a large double berth, seating area, storage, and a private head and shower.

The new Jeanneau Yachts 55 is truly a remarkable yacht where privacy, spaciousness, easy access, comfort and superb ergonomics, are at the heart of this revolutionary new model.

And of course, like all Jeanneau’s, the JY 55 is also a true sailor’s boat featuring a very fast hull, twin rudders, and versatile sail plan. And with all lines led aft to the forward cockpit, the JY 55 is easily managed by just two people. Step aboard the new Jeanneau Yachts 55 during the United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis! To learn more, visit Jeanneau.com

JEANNEAU YACHTS 55 LOA 55’ 6” Hull Length 52’ 9” Waterline length 52’ 7” Beam 16’ 4” Standard keel draft 6’ 2”
capacity 201
Gal Engine (Shaft Drive) Yanmar
Fridge capacity
Displacement 40,878 lbs
ALL THE FACTS: jeanneau.com
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Appreciating Excess catamarans means understanding the needs and wants of newer generations of cruisers, and the mindsets of seasoned cruisers looking for more in a boat, or perhaps a different experience. At Excess they call it their “DNA”. By their own accounts the team at Excess has carefully studied the expectations of today’s cruisers who want a a sailboat in step with their lifestyle; modern, lively, aesthetics and suited to new ways of life on the water.

The architectural choices of Excess bear the design signature of VPLP, specialists in ocean racing, and the lines of the Excess 14 have benefited as well. This model is designed with a forward-set rig, a square-top mainsail, and a large overlapping genoa to optimize the sail area to displacement ratio. In addition, bridgedeck clearance was increased for better passage through the water, and the hulls designed asymmetrically to reduce interference drag.

The Excess 14 offers increased sail area, a rig stepped forward of the coachroof, and twin helm stations aft for

directly connected steering at the rudderblades. Then take a low boom, reduced windage resulting from a lower freeboard, taut lines and redesigned hull windows, and you get a performance catamaran with a very distinctive look as fun to sail as it is to live on. Excess catamarans boast an aft-set coachroof, a forward stepped mast, a composite bowsprit, as well as inverted and inclined bows, complete with an exposed forefoot and helm stations right at the stern in direct contact with the rudders and a good view of the sails. Lastly, and an Excess exclusive on the market, is optimal visibility on board through untinted windows!

The Excess 14 is a cruising catamaran which also offers comfort and modularity of its living spaces. Their goal was to maintain volume and good headroom and in the hulls, you’ll find wide, very comfortable beds, and heads featuring a separate shower. Large and subdivided storage spaces have been engineered making for less clutter all around. And the retractable chart table is super ingenious! The walk-in dressing room allows you to store both sailing gear and casual clothes and with additional twin berths, the whole family can enjoy the suite.

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Less certainly IS

The Excess 14 is available in several layout versions.

In the 3-cabin version, the main characteristics are:

• A central head

• A large private dressing area

• An option of extra bunks

In the 4-cabin version:

• A layout including four cabins, four heads & four separate showers!

• An optional skipper cabin in each hull

• A skylounge option: lounging space on the coachroof with no compromise to the look or sensations.

EXCESS 14 CATAMARAN Overall Length 45’9” to 52’5” Draft 4’10” Light Displacement 28,219 Lbs Hull Length 43’9” Beam 25’9” Square top mainsail 893 sq.ft
14 CATAMARAN GET ALL THE FACTS: www.excess-catamarans.com/our-catamarans/excess-14
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an Blas: S

A Taste of the Pacific

90 Latitudes & Attitudes | #44 FALL 2023 Destinations

Temperate, crystal clear waters to swim and palmfringed, white sand beaches to stroll. An archipelago of over 300 unspoiled islands to explore. The painted face and bangled-arm of a tribeswoman selling the intricate stitched artwork of her ancestors and an indigenous community that repelled colonization, banned international development and restricted mass tourism, people who hold firmly to their traditional roots. The San Blas islands are a living history, a preserved native culture, a protected archipelago; they are a different world from the remainder of the Caribbean cruising grounds and are as close as you can get to experiencing the Pacific islands without leaving the Atlantic Ocean.

Located along the Caribbean coast of northern Panama, the San Blas islands stretch 100 miles along the southern Caribbean Sea between the border of Colombia and the Gulf of San Blas. Officially renamed Guna Yala by the Panamanian government in 2011, the majority of islands are small uninhabited islets and cays, and the 49 islands that are inhabited are generally occupied by no more than a family or two living on land passed down to them through the generations. Tradition runs deep within the Kuna Yala culture, and it would be fair to say it is the best preserved indigenous South American culture to this day. Subsistence fishing and coconut cultivation generates their main income, and sale of the unique layered fabric panels made by the Kuna women, the Mola, is also a large part of the economy.

The San Blas islands had long been on my A-list of destinations. Having lived there in the mid-seventies, I was far too young at the time to hold onto my childhood experiences of Panama, but my parents remembered our time there with great fondness. Stories of crash landings in Kuna territory on a broken bi-wing and semi-permanent face markings painted down my mom’s nose were two of my parents’ many stories. They sailed through the remote San Blas islands long before it became a popular cruising destination, where they were greeted by men in dugouts who offered fish, lobster and coconuts and women who displayed their intricately woven Molas. They retold the stories with such vivid detail, making me yearn to seek out similar adventures. When Panama finally lay in front of us, I knew exactly where I’d be spending my time. The question was, what remained? Had the authenticity of the islands been wiped into the past, or had the Kuna truly succeeded in holding onto their tribal heritage? Would I walk in my parents footsteps, or would the adventure only live through their stories?

It was now my time, as we sailed into the San Blas Islands and laid the anchor down in front of the Swimming Pool, a popular anchorage in the Eastern Holandes. Given the name, I knew I wouldn’t

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Celebrating Christmas Eve with fellow cruisers SV Korra, SV Philos, SV Matariki, and SV Zenos, Eastern Hollands.

be experiencing the San Blas of my parents day. We shared the anchorage with one other boat and that was a popularity I could accept. The water was still a clear, transparent aqua blue. The tiny islet in front of us had one traditional palm-built shack sitting under a crowd of palm trees. On the water a man sat in his wooden dugout fishing off the edge of the reef. “Mom, Dad,” I thought, “I walk in your footsteps!”

I strung the hammock on the aft deck and eased myself in, set to soak up every morsel of my quiet, idyllic paradise. Tilting my head back to top it off with a sip of cold rum, I spotted a yacht headed our way. Behind that yacht, another, and another beyond that. My parents’ footprints were disappearing with every sail that popped up on the horizon. Within a few hours the anchorage turned into a crowded parking lot, my beautiful sandy island barely visible through the bimini of the boat that dropped anchor on top of us. Just before sunset a small dugout with a Kuna family slowly paddled towards us. Salvation. My dream had been altered, but was still intact. I knew that the Kuna Indians held firmly to their traditional ways and had refused assimilation into the Panamanian culture. As the dugout pulled alongside I smiled broadly knowing my Spanish wouldn’t help, but searching for a fish in the hold as our common goal. My smile was returned by an equally enthusiastic grin and, in clear and concise unbroken English, he asked for a $5 anchoring fee. Between my English-speaking Kuna host, my island view through the backend of another yacht and the keel-hung traffic jam around us, my hopes of experiencing my parent’s version of the San Blas were dashed. I would have to set my own footprints in the sand.

Shifting expectations didn’t take long, however, as there was plenty on offer within the San Blas regardless of its increased popularity. While there are many islands within the archipelago, there is a concentrated group of islands where most of the cruising happens. Follow the popular cruising guide, the Bowhouse Guide, and you will enjoy a social hub within a defined cruising circuit; tread out of that area and you can experience a far more remote San Blas. There are still areas throughout the archipelago where time continues to stand still.

We were rarely alone as we sailed a clockwise course through the San Blas, as the islands are now an extension of the Atlantic cruising circuit. Charter and cruising yachts fill the anchorages throughout the archipelago and local tour operators run day trips for tourists out to the inshore islands. Panamanians have adjusted to the increase in tourism by running skiffs to many of the popular islands, offering a range

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San Blas: A Taste of the Pacific
Aerial view the Eastern Hollands, an anchorage we shared with a saltwater crocodile. Braca, age 10, enjoying an extended breath hold while spending afternoons snorkelling in the warm Atlantic water
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A Kuna woman and her granddaughter paddle up in their canoe to sell their beautiful molas, Green Island. Braca (10) and Ayla (8) resting after a snorkelling expedition, Western Cocos Banderas.

of provisions from fruit and vegetables to beer and wine. Many of the Kuna have integrated with mainland Panama and now speak Spanish, and English to a lesser degree, allowing us to share a language to bridge the linguistic barrier. While forty years has brought many changes to the San Blas, some of those have made cruising the islands a more convenient and comfortable experience.

That said, while tourism has come to the San Blas, it is still very low-key. The Kuna have refused any largescale development and the options for overnight accommodations are rustic, some as basic as a hammock strung between palm trees. In addition, the handful of islands that offer this option are close to the mainland, restricting tourism to the majority of the islands. We had the unique opportunity to spend an afternoon with the ex-President of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, when his helicopter landed on a small uninhabited cay near our anchorage in the Eastern Holandes, providing us insight to some of the politics of the recent past. The ex-president discussed his campaign to turn the San Blas into “the next Maldives.” The Kuna, however, hold sovereign independence throughout the islands and have rejected attempts to develop resorts throughout the islands. It was not progress the Kuna wanted, and I realized then what a privilege it was for us to be able to travel throughout an area that had fundamentally remained so unaltered by outside influence. It may not be exactly what my parents had experienced, but it wasn’t far off.

That afternoon showed me that my first assessment of a lost culture hadn’t been entirely on the mark. Clearly there were changes, but this two-hundred year old culture still had firm roots. Many of the dugouts had outboards, but square-rigged wooden canoes still sail throughout the islands. Kuna men still row up with their bilges filled with fish and coconuts, often accompanied by their wife and children selling molas for $40 a pane. To sit with these women and look through the intricate stitch-work made me appreciate how much of the Kuna traditions were still very much a part of everyday life; molas are hand-stitched exclusively by women in their spare time between rearing children and household demands, and each meter-square piece can take up to a month or two to complete. While men have moved towards modern clothing, most women dress traditionally in a cotton wrap and a mola blouse, and a colorful headscarf worn to deter evil spirits. Their wrists and ankles are wrapped in multi-coloured beads and married women still wore the traditional gold nose ring and thin black line painted down their nose. Their huts onshore were still very much replicas of the housing of their forefathers, and families still live on land that has been passed down to them through the generations. Some islands are no longer inhabited, but many are still run exactly as they have been for centuries.

We’d been warmly welcomed by all the Kuna we met, and a few of them allowed us a closer insight

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San Blas: A Taste of the Pacific
Toasting to the new year with friends and fellow cruisers, SV Korra, SV Matariki and SV Far Out in the Eastern Cocos Banderas.

into their daily lives. One particular interaction stands out as we were invited to spend the evening with a Kuna family in their home. When we arrived, the head of house stoked the embers of the fire-pit and we were invited to cook with them. Their lodging was built as three separate huts, all made of palm fronds laid over a wooden frame and set on a sand floor. Hammocks were strung up inside the huts for sleeping, the kitchen was set up inside a lean-to and the sink was open air. Their companionship was relaxed and casual, and the evening thoroughly enjoyable. I didn’t leave with a piercing or painted strip down my nose as my mother had during her time with the Kuna, but I was generously wrapped in beaded wrist and ankle bracelets which made me feel that I could experience an authenticity that is still inherent in the culture forty years later.

Nowhere in the Atlantic had I felt so close to an island nation with such a true sense of cultural identity; slightly modified, but inherently intact. The

key factors that made us draw the comparison to the Pacific is that the Kuna culture is completely different from that of the rest of the Caribbean, where islands have become either first world nations or are trying to become one. That development has been wholly rejected by the Kuna. As in the Pacific, you are guests to their island, and you come into a community that is largely unchanged for hundreds of years. They are both a substance culture, with strong family ties, adhere to tribal ways and obey the rules laid down by the chief. In comparison to the Caribbean, there are fewer boats, fewer charters and fewer tourists. For Atlantic cruisers who want a slice of the Pacific Islands, the San Blas offers the very experience on a small scale in the southwestern corner of the Caribbean.

This article was originally published in Passagemaker Magazine

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Out on a dingy tour with the family, exploring nearby islets. A Kuna woman selling her intricate woven Molas on Combombia island. Looking out at the anchorage from the home of our Kuna hosts, who invited us to share a meal in their home with them, Western Holandes.
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Croatia Sailing to the from Caribbean


• A medical doctor working in family medicine in Orillia, Ontario, Canada.

• One of the world’s leading experts on growing strawberries from California, USA.

• A former North American railroad executive living in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

• A retired nursing professor and small business CEO, currently based in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada.

• A former accountant and international management consultant, enjoying a second career teaching offshore sailing.

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Celebrating Mallorca arrival

The thread that binds is a love of sailing and spirit of adventure, which led all five of us to Split, Croatia in October 2022.

We were joining the first leg of a unique sailing expedition that was in part delivery of a catamaran across the Mediterranean and the Atlantic to join the Barefoot Yacht Charters (www.barefootyachts.com) fleet in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in part an opportunity to learn the knowledge and skills required for certification as an offshore sailor, and in part a chance to experience cruising in the Mediterranean. The expedition was organized by Barefoot Offshore Sailing School (https://www.barefootoffshore.com), sister company to Barefoot Yacht Charters, and I was the skipper and instructor for the trip.

The Mediterranean is arguably the cradle of sailing as we know it today. The Phoenicians and Greeks invented the sailing galley, featuring one or more banks of oars, combined with sails that could be used when the wind was abaft the beam. The Greeks and Romans further perfected this design, adapted for both trade and conflict. Through the centuries, a wide variety of rigs emerged deploying various types of lug sails, sprit sails and lateens. The naval wars of the Napoleonic era involved ships that combined square sails with fore-and-aft staysails and boomed sails. Today, Alicante in the Med is the headquarters for one of the iconic around the world sailing events featuring ultra-modern sailing yachts capable of speeds greater than 25 knots.

The Mediterranean region has also been a hotbed of innovation in navigation. Arabic desert wanderers named most of the stars we use for celestial navigation. Mediterranean sailors ventured beyond the pillars of Hercules. Some explored down the coast of Africa, around the Cape of Good Hope, establishing trade routes to India and south-east Asia. Others went north to the shores of Great Britain. Others sailed west, making landfall in what we now know as the Bahamas. While the history of Polynesian navigation is equally impressive, the techniques we use in celestial navigation today have their roots in Mediterranean-based experimentation.

Our diverse crew bonded through the experience of provisioning a boat in a place where most of the food labels are in languages that none of us could read. We trusted the photos on the cans and boxes, combined with occasional references to ingredients we recognized. While there were a few surprises later, for the most part we enjoyed high quality food at a cost that was much less than equivalent supplies purchased in North America or Europe.

Overnight in Cagliari Practicing maneuvers at Isola di Lipari
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Planning Cagliari departure

The catamaran we joined was BlueRay, a Bali 4.1, built in 2018 that had been in charter service in Croatia for a few years. We were impressed with the maintenance and housekeeping provided by the charter management company overseeing the transfer of the yacht to its new owners. BlueRay appeared to be in excellent shape. The engine bilges were immaculate, which for me is one of the litmus tests for boat maintenance. If the people servicing the engines care enough to make sure there is no oil residue remaining after an oil change, it is a great indication of the standard of care demonstrated overall.

We ended up leaving Split a few days late due to the complexities of a change of ownership from Croatia to the USA, combined with the associated documentation required for insurance, export, and reprogramming the VHF for a new MMSI. Much of this will be simpler in the future now that Croatia has joined the Schengen zone and has adopted the Euro, which happened on January 1, 2023. I took advantage of the delay to provide initial lessons on offshore safety and celestial navigation. I am certified as an Advanced and Offshore instructor by both ASA and Sail Canada, which provides an opportunity to support students interested in certification under both systems.

We left Split in calm conditions, motoring through parts of the spectacular archipelago that has enabled Croatia to become one of the top cruising grounds in the world, with over 3,000 charter boats operating in the region. In general, the Med seems to offer not enough wind, or too much wind. In our case, we experienced more of the former than the latter, and learned firsthand why so many of the early Mediterranean vessels had large banks of oars.

Everyone was excited to experience their initial night watches, keeping a lookout for other vessels. This was vital as the AIS equipment we planned to install was not available in Croatia. As skipper and instructor, I was on call 24/7 and slept in the salon to be available at a moment’s notice. Everyone else was on watch for four hours at a time. With four people in the watch schedule that meant that the next watch was in 12 hours. That provided for lots of time for sleep, meals, lessons, and keeping company with whoever was on watch. It also meant that each watch was at a different time of day or night, providing the opportunity to experience sunsets, sunrises, and everything in between over the course of several days.

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City view of Cagliari in Italy


Our first stop was in Brindisi, Italy to top up fuel and water supplies and check into the Schengen zone. Brindisi is an industrial port with a huge breakwater, but with easy access to the fuel dock at the marina. As with many European ports, the Brindisi marina offers a concierge service that helps with customs formalities. As it happens, I had visited Brindisi as a hitch-hiking 19 year old, so it was interesting to dredge up the memories of my earlier visit in much different circumstances.

We then carried on around the heel, sole and toe of the Italian mainland, expecting to refuel again in Messina. However, the fuel dock we approached in Messina showed no sign of acknowledging our presence, so we carried on through the famous Strait of Messina. I had noticed on our digital charts the potential for refueling on Isola di Lipari, one of the seven Aeolian Islands located about 30 miles northwest of Messina. When we got there, we were glad we hadn’t refueled in Messina. Lipari and its neighboring islands were gorgeous; rugged but with striking buildings, and an obviously active steam vent on the Isola di Volcano, immediately to the south of Lipari. Given the delay in our departure from Split, we couldn’t stay long, but an overnight stay in the Aeolians will definitely be on the agenda for our next visit, scheduled for the fall of 2023.

We considered overnighting in Palermo on Sicily, but since we were already 25 miles north, we decided instead to head straight for Cagliari on the southern coast of Sardinia. The approach was breathtaking. Like many old Mediterranean cities, Cagliari is built on a fairly steep hillside. From a distance, one sees rows of stone and whitewashed buildings stretching from the sea to the sky. After locating our marina and securing the boat, we all beelined for the city, and spent the rest of the day exploring remnants of 5,000 years of history, spanning multiple civilizations. Topping up provisions with local produce and wine, we enjoyed dinner at a famous restaurant that has its facade on the street, but the dining area in a cave stretching into the hill behind. Making our way back to the boat in the dark, we enjoyed the liveliness of the streets. While our evening was over, for the locals it was just getting started. Sardinia is technically part of Italy, but Cagliari lived up to its reputation as a place that reflects Italian culture as well as unique aspects of its Sardinian heritage.

Leaving Cagliari we had a decent wind, which provided an opportunity for practicing some sailing evolutions while still in the lee of Sardinia, before heading out on the final 300 miles in this leg of

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Cagliari Harbour view

the expedition. The last few days were spent just like the ones that came before: on watch or asleep, preparing and enjoying meals, practicing sailing maneuvers, receiving lessons and coaching, taking and reducing sun and star sights, and when ready, writing the exams necessary for certification under ASA or Sail Canada standards.

Our destination for this leg was Palma on the island of Mallorca. Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands. While now part of Spain, these islands have been fought over and controlled by many different civilizations over the past few thousand years. Modern Palma is now recognized as a sailing mecca, hosting many thousands of charters, cruising, and racing boats among dozens of marinas. As with so many other places in the Mediterranean, a walkthrough town offers the best of modern architecture, combined with ancient and medieval structures.

After a final few days of sight-seeking, two of the crew prepared to head home to the USA and Canada, while two remained for the second leg, joined by another Canadian. Stay tuned for our account of our second leg from Mallorca to Madeira, in a future issue of Lats & Atts.


A sailor since the age of four, Rob McLean (http://robmclean.ca/sailingresume.html) enjoyed a career as an accountant and international management consultant before becoming a cruising instructor in 2015. He acquired his first cruising boat in the 1980s, and has accumulated more than 35,000 miles since then, 15,000 of these being offshore. Rob is the only person certified by both ASA and Sail Canada as an Offshore Instructor, and is both a Sail Canada Senior Instructor Evaluator and ASA Master Instructor, as well as the co-founder of the leading source of online sailing education in Canada, LearnToCruiseOnline.ca. He is the lead instructor for Barefoot Offshore Sailing School, the largest and most active sailing school in the Southern Caribbean, and sister company to Barefoot Yacht Charters in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Rob will be leading another sailing adventure from Croatia to St. Vincent in the fall of 2023.

Croatian provisions
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Village complex on Isola di Lipari

SECRET SAUCE Destinations

By Erin Carey with Estelle Cockroft

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To uncover the real secrets, it’s best to seek advice from the most experienced. That’s why I reached out to Estelle Cockcroft, co-founder of Catamaran Guru, to learn proven ways of minimizing the expenses associated with owning a yacht. Estelle Cockcroft is renowned for her expertise in large catamarans, having sailed, lived aboard, bought, and sold them. With over 70,000 nautical miles of navigation across 45 extraordinary countries, she has accumulated a lifetime of marine experience. Catamaran Guru, beyond being a brokerage house, represents Estelle’s passion as she shares sailing insights and experiences through her blog on the Catamaran Guru website [https://catamaranguru.com/].

Estelle and her husband, Stephen, established Catamaran Guru with the aim of helping sailors gain confidence to pursue their sailing dreams and find ways to afford their desired lifestyle. Along the way, they have developed various yacht ownership and charter programs that have assisted numerous individuals in achieving their goals.


Buyers are often enticed by charter experts with “toogood-to-be-true” charter programs. They get swept away by promises of vast riches and enormous returns on investment. However, if your focus is solely on returns and profits, yacht ownership may not be the right investment for you. Boats are depreciating assets with significant ongoing costs. Nevertheless, owning a yacht is a fantastic investment in lifestyle and quality of life. While maintenance, insurance, mortgage interest, dockage, and other necessities cannot be eliminated, there are ways to reduce the overall cost of yacht ownership and make your dream more affordable.

When approached correctly, with caution and sound advice, charter programs can be highly beneficial for boat owners. However, not everyone fits this model, and not

every boat is ideal for these programs. The true secret lies in ensuring that your yacht broker advises you on the business aspects and connects you with tax experts and others who can address your boat ownership questions honestly without making empty promises.


“During our maiden voyage exploring Southern Africa, we crossed the Atlantic and continued our liveaboard life in the Caribbean. It was there, in the late 90s, that we discovered yacht charter programs offered by charter fleets. We learned that, after five years of personal enjoyment, the boat would be partly paid for through charter income. We thought, “That’s a winwin situation!” As one of our clients once said, and we wholeheartedly agree, “I can’t think of anything else that could have given me so much enjoyment and fulfillment over the years... and I received a check every month for five years!”

If you are unable to devote the necessary time to regularly sail and maintain your catamaran, placing it in a charter management program makes sense. As an

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owner, you can enjoy sailing the catamaran whenever possible while earning income from charters. In some programs, all maintenance is handled by the charter company. Reputable charter companies ensure that the revenue generated during the charter phase exceeds the wear and tear on the boat. When you’re ready to embark on your own adventures, you can phase out the boat from the charter company, perform the necessary maintenance, and customize it to become your personal home.

Even if your plan involves offering crewed charters rather than retiring, a charter program is still highly advantageous. It provides you with industry experience before deciding to operate independently as an owner with your own boat, which exposes you to various risks. There are numerous pitfalls that can abruptly halt your charter business before it even begins. For instance,

operating in the BVI without the required licenses and work permits can result in hefty fines and your boat being impounded until your business complies with local laws. It can be a bureaucratic nightmare!

Additionally, a reputable charter company will be able to book your boat immediately after it joins the fleet. This infusion of cash ensures that you can sustain operations during leaner times that many start-up businesses experience. Setting up your own charter business would require investing time and money to market your services, and booking five charters in your first year would be challenging. Charter brokers are typically hesitant to book boats and crews they are unfamiliar with.

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The Secret Sauce of Reducing the Cost of Yacht Ownership


Numerous diverse programs exist, which is excellent news, although it can also be overwhelming. Nowadays, smaller boutique charter companies offer the ability to customize your program. Generally speaking, these are the basic types of yacht ownership programs that help offset the cost of boat ownership:

• Boat as a Business: This is one of the most popular and effective strategies, especially when implemented through yacht charter management with active owner participation. It is particularly beneficial for those planning retirement cruising, allowing them to make the boat more affordable and ready to use when they retire. This program involves creating a corporation for your boat business and partnering with a charter company. According to Stephen Cockcroft, “Tax breaks, government initiatives, and charter income all contribute to making boat ownership a more affordable luxury.” When executed correctly, this program offers the least expensive alternative for owning a boat.

• Bareboat Charter Management Programs: These programs enable you to own a boat and sail it in various locations worldwide while receiving a guaranteed monthly check to cover expenses. Some larger charter companies offer guaranteed monthly income that covers most costs such as dockage, insurance, and maintenance. If this is your goal, select a company with multiple locations that interest you. If you prefer the program offerings of a boutique charter company, you can opt for them and become a member of The Yacht Exchange to swap your owner time. In these programs, the typical charter period is five years, after which you own the boat outright. Plan to spend approximately 10% of the initial purchase price on preparing the boat for personal cruising. The secret ingredient to this secret sauce? Visit your boat during its charter phase and ensure it is properly maintained throughout its charter life. Additionally, ensure that your “phase-out” contract is robust.

• Crewed Yacht Charter: Many of our larger catamaran owners participate in crewed charter programs. In this case, the boat is operated as a business, enabling the owner to offset ownership costs through available tax advantages and income from charters. All our owners who have engaged in these crewed yacht charter programs have successfully established small businesses and achieved their ultimate goals. There are three ways to own a crewed yacht charter:

• The owners act as the crew, owning and operating their catamaran as a business within a crewed program.

• Your boat is managed by a crewed yacht management company that employs a professional crew to operate and maintain the boat, enabling guests to enjoy an all-inclusive luxury crewed charter.

• “By-the-cabin” crewed yacht charters offered by larger charter companies, featuring bigger catamarans like the Lagoon 62 or FP 58.

• Fractional Yacht Ownership in a Charter Program: While fractional ownership has been around for some time, sharing the cost of a charter program contract is a relatively

new concept, and it may not be widely available. However, it could be your secret sauce to owning the boat you desire for the limited amount of owner time you require at an affordable price. It is essential to note that this is not a timeshare, where you only purchase usage rights for a specific period. With shared charter program ownership, you legally own a fraction of the asset and hold the title to the yacht. Similar to any charter program, annual operating costs are offset by charter revenue. Fractional ownership in a 7-year program can save owners up to 90% of the cost of traditional yacht ownership.

• Yacht Partnerships in a Charter Program: This approach is similar to fractional program ownership, but allows you to establish your own partnership with people you know. It works well as charter companies offer generous owners’ use. Two families can each enjoy three to four weeks of cruising per year. By sharing the financial burden of the charter program buy-in, you get ample sail time. Furthermore, you can include as many partners as you like, further reducing your investment level (and the weeks you sail). However, it is crucial to have a well-defined contract that establishes clear rules, responsibilities, buy-back percentages, and owners’ use among partners. While it’s essential to document everything, creating the contract is simple with professional help and provides a fantastic pathway to eventually owning the boat by buying out your partners at the phase-out stage if that is your goal.


Investing in a yacht is a significant financial decision, akin to purchasing a home ashore. Consider the following key factors when making decisions regarding charter boat ownership:

• Choose your charter partner wisely. Thoroughly research the charter company you plan to partner with. Speak to other boat owners in their programs, and if possible, charter a boat from them to evaluate how well they maintain their boats and the quality of their booking and support services.

• Ensure that your management company can meet your revenue expectations. Request historical data to verify the achievability of their projections.

• Ensure that both the boat and the program align with your needs. If your primary objective is to obtain guaranteed income to cover the boat’s costs and have the flexibility to sail in different locations worldwide, opt for a max-cabin layout. In this scenario, you won’t be on the boat frequently. However, if your plan involves phasing out the boat and living aboard, consider purchasing an owner’s version. Although revenue will be lower, your exit strategy will align with your dreams, and your phased-out boat will be worth approximately 10% more.

•Thoroughly read and comprehend your charter management contract.

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The Secret Sauce of Reducing the Cost of Yacht Ownership

• Develop a solid exit strategy before making the purchase. Avoid overpaying for the boat and adding unnecessary expensive options for charters.

• Ensure that your phase-out program (if applicable) is secure. Typically, a guaranteed income boat will have a phase-out contract that entitles the owner to receive the boat in good working order, excluding fair wear and tear.


If you opt to start your charter business, there are additional factors to consider:

• Ensure you possess all the necessary licenses and permits required to operate a charter boat business in your chosen location. Compliance with regulations is essential to avoid legal issues that could impede your operations.

• Determine your target audience, assess competition, establish pricing, and evaluate potential profitability. This step is crucial for understanding the market and developing a competitive edge.

• Create a comprehensive business plan that outlines your goals, marketing strategies, operational expenses, revenue projections, and financial forecasts. This plan will serve as a roadmap to guide your efforts.

• If purchasing a used boat, invest in a well-maintained vessel that meets safety standards and appeals to customers. Consider the specific needs of your target market and outfit the boat with amenities that enhance the charter experience.

• Develop a robust marketing strategy to attract customers. Establish a professional website, create a presence on social media platforms, and utilize online booking platforms specific to charter boat services. Implement targeted marketing campaigns, such as offering discounts during offpeak seasons or partnering with local tourism organizations.

Regardless of whether you choose to purchase your boat through a charter program or privately own and operate it, the secret sauce lies in finding a trusted advisor with years of experience to guide you. The experts will help you to understand your personal preferences and determine the solutions best suited for you and your family’s desired lifestyle. Armed with this information, you can make informed decisions, avoid costly mistakes, plan your exit strategy, and derive the utmost enjoyment from owning your yacht.

Erin Carey, founder of Roam Generation, is a travel-loving dreamer who knew nothing about sailing before moving aboard a yacht with her husband and three boys in 2018. Without letting that minor detail get in the way, they went on to sail 15,000 nm, exploring both the Caribbean and the Mediterranean aboard their beloved Moody 47 named ROAM. Erin’s expertise and connections in the industry empower brands to build credibility, expand their reach, and connect with their audience. Through Roam Generation, Erin continues to inspire others to embrace a life of freedom and adventure.

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House of The Heat

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle definitely holds a special place in our hearts. After all, it was where my partner Chris and I spent a good chunk of our 2023 cruising season. Not only does the town offer lively music, incredible restaurants, and a laid back vibe, but it’s also incredibly friendly which is how we came to meet Dakota. We had followed Dakota on instagram for a while (and vice versa) and met for dinner when we arrived in La Cruz, where he has lived for half a decade. Over some delicious street tacos, he shared how he recently visited some hot springs near his friend’s property on the Rio Mascota (outside of Puerto Vallarta) and, alongside his friends, partook in a semitraditional Temazcal ceremony. I was hooked on the story, and thankfully Dakota was able to facilitate another trip so we had the opportunity to experience the ceremony for ourselves.

On the morning of March 11th, we packed up our backpacks and dinghied to shore where we rendezvoused with our friends Jay and Kenna from SV Sitka and Dakota in the town square. From there we hopped on a bus to

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Puerto Vallarta then were picked up by our new friends Mitzon and his girlfriend Dayana who drove us the rest of the way to the Stone House; a beautiful riverside property with the remnants of a stone house and outdoor living space, with the Temazcal proudly displayed in the center.

A Temazcal, that is directly translated as “house of heat,” is a traditional sweat lodge with pre-hispanic roots. The ancient ceremony is led by a shaman (or “temazcalero”) that origins come from the Indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica with the intention to purify the body and mind, heal the sick, or provide a spiritual haven for women to give birth. The ritual takes place inside the Temazcal, which is generally a small domed structure that represents the womb. In other words, you’re supposed to feel like a spiritual and mental rebirth has occurred by the end of the process. The entrance of the Temazcal is opened throughout the ceremony, up to a total of four times, (referring to the four cardinal points) and each time thirteen red-hot stones are introduced to the center while the shaman guides the participants in a spiritual cleansing with the help of Mother Earth.

The preparation for the two hour ceremony - which consisted of heating lava rocks - took hours so while our gracious hosts tended to the fire the rest of our group hiked to the nearby hot springs - Aguas Termales La Desembocada - where we enjoyed the natural steamy pools and cool flowing river. A man offered healing massages and mud masks in a make-shift hut nearby, and a group of tourists, covered from head to toe in the green mud, said they were on a holistic healing journey to recover from lyme disease and their research led them to the hot springs. They were intrigued to learn that we and the Sitka crew had sailed there and had

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met local friends who were kind enough to invite us on this experience off the beaten path. It’s amazing what happens when you say “yes” to an unexpected adventure.

Warm smells of smoke filled the spring air and became stronger the closer we got to the Stone House. The sun was getting lower in the sky, and by the time we reached our starting point the Temazcal was ready to receive us. The fire was red hot as Mitzon and Christopher, the owner of the Stone House, continued to carefully feed the flames. Dayana passed out a jar of clay to cover our skin withnot necessarily part of the ceremony, but an added spa treatment that we had fun with. Once our skin was painted in earth, we gathered at the mouth of the Temazcal.

“To enter you must be cleansed, then thank your ancestors as you walk through the door” Mitzon translated. Our Shaman, Juana, held smoldering pieces of copal to cleanse us from head to toe, removing any bad vibrations before we entered into the sacred space. Copal is an aromatic vegetable resin, a very important element in the medical and religious tradition of Mesoamerica since pre-Hispanic times. Its smoke purifies and was used as an offering or as therapy for physical and spiritual ailments. Once cleansed, we thanked our ancestors and entered into the dark stone igloo then sat in a circle, leaning on the walls of the enclosure.

Before beginning the ceremony, Mitzon assured us that we could leave the Temazcal at any time (you are not allowed to leave in true traditional ceremonies) since their Temazcal, according to Mitzon himself, was “built with love and is really a steam bath with a taste of ritual elements”. Thank goodness he granted us permission to leave, because I had no idea my body could reach such intense levels of heat without being thrown into a roaring fire.

Finally, Juana entered the Temazcal and behind her the only entrance was covered with a blanket. It was dark and discombobulating, with the distinct smell of herbs, smoke and sweat wafting through the air - but this was only the beginning. After asking if we were ready, the first thirteen of 52 lava rocks were brought into the middle of the room and placed in a pile on the floor. Each one of us marked a stone with copal, sealing our intentions for the ceremony and then our trials by fire - or steam - began.

In her mother tongue, Juana “called to the steam,” and upon the four directions while singing prayers and splashing the stones with a mix of water and oils. She then led us in traditional Temazcal songs about the four elements of nature, calling in positive vibrations - a fundamental part of the ceremony. Together in the darkness we sang, shook maracas and howled as the steam increased and heat surrounded us like an inescapable blanket. I took one last

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The House of the Heat

deep breath before burying my face in my elbows to try and remain calm, focused and open to the experience. In my mind I silently repeated the mantra I am tough, I can handle this over and over again. At that stage the heat was comparable to a regular gym’s sauna, only much darker with more claustrophobia.

I’m not sure how long it was before it happened, but Christopher waved a towel over the stones to disperse the steam, then opened the entrance, marking the end of the first round. The clay we dawned on our bodies now puddled on the floor as we carefully exited the Temazcal for a rewarding drink of water. “That wasn’t too bad” Chris said in between sips. The clay I had painted on his chest melted in streaks down his sides. I agreed, secretly hoping the next three rounds would be as tolerable, but tolerance is not the point of Temazcal.

We funneled back into the Temazcal and patiently awaited the next round of steam. Juana added more oils to the new thirteen rocks that were introduced to the pile and the smell of citrus was ever present in the steam that flooded my system. The beat of the drums matched my heart that pounded inside of my chest. I could feel my anxiety rise with the heat, and the sizzle of rocks competed with the songs of the ceremony - all of my senses were stimulated, and my fight or flight was telling me to run, but instead I consciously stayed. With my head low to the ground I let the steam smother me, silently repeating my mantra while my hands kept busy shaking the maraca along to the song. I couldn’t tell if it was vapor or sweat pooling on my skin and rolling off in consistent drips onto the cool concrete floor. The heat continued to increase alongside our voices as we howled into the void. Then, it stopped. The door was opened and the heat escaped into the world with our group not far behind, reacquainting ourselves with the temperature outside that was still in the high 70’s fahrenheit, but to us felt like the arctic.

As soon as our core temperatures returned to “normal” we entered the Temazcal for the third round. Thirteen more rocks were added to the still-smoldering pile, and the process began again. Only this time, right when I thought it couldn’t get hotter, it did. Chris’s hand found mine on the wet floor; his presence anchoring me in the moment, reminding me I was not alone. The singing continued and got louder as the heat increased. We were engulfed by plumes of copal-infused steam and clouds of shamanic smoke, and with no ventilation it felt like a human pizza oven. My insides were on fire, and with that realization my brain served me memories of the 2020 Creek Fire that ripped through Chris’s hometown of Shaver Lake, the flames feasting on over 80% of the Sierra National forest. That’s when the panic set in. I had to leave. The steam was so thick I couldn’t see in front of me, so I carefully crawled towards where I thought the exit was, thankfully finding the blanket that covered the entrance and parting it open

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Christopher feeding the flames Mitzon, covered in Clay The Stone House Steam Bath

where I was greeted with a gentle breeze.

Feeling defeated, I sat outside and gazed up at the stars, some of which fell across the sky with long beautiful tails that disappeared into the night. Chris joined me, sweat glistening on his skin as he reached for our water bottle that was now down to the last drop. The singing that echoed from our friends still inside was soothing and ethereal; my racing heart slowed down and my panic was subdued – and in that moment I felt like everything was going to be alright.

At the start of the final round, I did my best to mentally prepare for the heat we would endure and silently repeated my mantra: I am tough, I can do this. I laid down in the fetal position, suddenly understanding why the Temazcal is referred to as the “Mother’s Womb.” Although at the time I was more focused on surviving the intense rounds of heat, I look back and can see that I was healing. Inside the stone dome when faced with the feeling of controlled danger, I was forced to confront my anxiety head on and coach myself through the unfamiliar that made me want to flee. I was triggered by the loud singing in a foreign tongue, the pungent smell of sweat and herbs, and of course the overwhelming awareness that my body temperature felt like it was inferno incarnate.

The fourth and final round was the hottest of them all, and although I couldn’t make it to the end of the ceremony I was at peace with my progress. I didn’t need to prove to myself that I could withstand the heat. Temazcal is not about punishing ourselves with extreme endurance to repent for our sins and shortcomings; it is about being vulnerable and willing to move past the point of resistance, bringing all the things we’ve spent our lives suppressing to the surface and offering it up to the universe for release. It is about stepping out of comfort and forward into growth, and allowing our fears to be lifted from us with the steam that rises.

We were physically filthy, covered in dirt, sulfur, and sweat but we were spiritually cleansed - even though our neighbors on the bus ride back to La

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House of
Marissa, Jay and Kenna walking back

Cruz probably only identified the prior. What a contrast from the journey we had just been on. Although I still struggle with anxiety, I have added the memory of the Temazcal to my arsenal of anxietyrelief, remembering that I can face my fears and choose to let them go. Anytime we experience a hot day, we are also reminded that all heat is now relative to the Temazcal, and will never challenge the element of fire again.

Our Temazcal experience was honestly one of the most beautiful things I have ever had the honor of participating in. I am eternally grateful to our new friends that made our time at the Stone House so memorable and am pleased to share that you can now experience the Stone House Temazcal for yourselves by reserving a guided tour with Mitzon. Text Mitzon at +3 221-755-7912 for the details!

Author’s Note: Marissa and her partner Chris have lived aboard their 1979 Cheoy Lee 41’ Avocet since 2018, and recently cast off for adventure beyond the horizon. You can follow their journeys on YouTube (Sailing Avocet), instagram @svavocet and their website www.svavocet.com - You can also follow Dakota’s journey on YouTube @dakotalebaron

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Marissa and Kenna Rio Mascota with our friends
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Exploring the Hidden Gems of the Lower Chesapeake Bay

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Love sign in Cape Charles, VA

The Chesapeake Bay is the nation’s largest estuary.

While known for its expansive waters, ideal for sailing and cruising, it is also encompassed by over 100,000 navigable rivers, creeks, and coves. We may be tempted to hurry past those tucked away places, many of which are less than a few hours apart, but the coastal towns and serene settings of the Chesapeake’s southern shores are worth the slow down.


On the Virginia Eastern Shore, you will encounter the small coastal community of Onancock. Founded in 1680, Onancock’s deep-water access made it a perfect port town for steamboats traversing from Baltimore to Norfolk. These days boaters continue to enjoy the deepwater access, quiet coves and still water anchorages. Call ahead for a stay at the Onancock Town Wharf or use the free dinghy dock to explore this charming town. Adjacent to the town wharf is the historic Hopkins & Bros. Store exhibit and a dockside restaurant, Mallards at the Wharf. Onancock is walkable and bike friendly with streets lined with Victoria era homes and reclaimed buildings housing art galleries, shops, and restaurants. Be sure to wander further into town and visit Kerr Place. Kerr Place is a restored mansion and curated museum with an herb and kitchen garden that is stunning in any growing season. Before leaving Onancock, book a ferry to Tangier Island. The one-hour trip is worth the chance to glimpse a part of the Bay’s rich watermen’s history while

it still exists. Situated just 12 miles off the western coast of the Eastern Shore, this small island is slowly giving way to the greedy land grabs of erosion and time. Only accessible by water or plane, Tangier Island is home to approximately 500 people, many of whom speak an old English dialect not heard anywhere else. This unspoiled fishing village will take you back in time. A visit to the local museum will solidify your admiration for this resilient watermen’s community.


When you are ready to pull anchor, head just down the shore to take in the unique beaches and shops at Cape Charles. Before there was the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, railroads connected the Eastern Shore to Norfolk, Virginia by way of steamboats. Ferries loaded down with railcars and passengers docked at Cape Charles throughout the 1800’s. By 1885 a gridwork of homes surrounded this thriving coastal port. The town’s streets

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The historic Hopkins & Bros. store in Onancock, VA

Exploring the Hidden Gems of the Lower Chesapeake Bay

are lined with a mix of historic and tastefully restored buildings and homes. Cape Charles does not offer many protected anchorages, but a stay at one of the three marinas that serve the area is worthwhile. Just off the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, a deep channel leads you to the Cape Charles Town Harbor and Cape Charles Yacht Center. Well maintained floating and fixed docks, easy access to Mason Avenue (the town’s main street) and courtesy cars ensure you get the most out of this stop. Kings Creek Marina sits just north of the town proper and offers amenities such as a pool and onsite restaurant. Attention to the navigation chart is important here as the entrance can get shallow. The town is easily walkable/ bikeable, but local golf cart providers will drop a cart off at your marina if wish to expand your exploration.

The town’s main street, Mason Avenue, is lined with coastal boutiques, restaurants, a distillery, bakeries, and an admirable number of places to enjoy ice cream. The best kept secret of Cape Charles is its beach. A long stretch of wide sandy beach provides a perfect place to relax, wiggle your toes in the sand, walk on the shore and witness a breathtaking sunset. Once you have tried all the ice cream in Cape Charles, a visit to historic Hampton and Fort Monroe awaits you across the bay on Virginia’s southwestern shore.


A well-marked channel on the Hampton River will guide you to The Docks at Downtown Hampton. A slip here places you in the middle of the town’s historic district and near restaurants and attractions. Virginia’s Air and Space Museum is only a few steps away and a great place to go after stopping at the dockside Bull Island Brewery. As you walk through town you will pass historic churches along cobbled brick streets, an inviting history museum and plenty of places to enjoy food and drinks.

If you’re ready to be on the hook again, there is prime anchorage just off of Fort Monroe and the Phoebus channel. This deep-water anchorage has plenty of room and access to a free dinghy dock. A short walk gets you to the town of Phoebus and several places to enjoy food and beverages. For $10 a day the city dinghy dock is also available at Fort Monroe. Fort Monroe is a meaningful place to stretch your legs, as you walk the walls of the

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Aerial view of Fort Monroe in Hampton, VA
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largest stone fort ever built in the United States. With over 400 years of history to absorb, starting at the Visitor & Education Center is recommended, followed by a visit to the Casemate Museum. The museum, surrounded by a moat, houses the cell that once held Jefferson Davis. Start your day at the 1881 Firehouse Coffee Shop and be sure to stop at the Oozlefinch Brewery before heading back to your boat. Mind your charts when dropping anchor as there are submerged cables to avoid.


As you work your way north, don’t miss the chance for a short stop at Yorktown’s Riverwalk Landing. The York River is an easy entrance and Riverwalk Landing Piers provides dockage only steps away from places to eat, shops as well as historic monuments and museums. Just up the Bay and off the East River, Mobjack Bay offers


A brief 30 nautical miles north to Deltaville will take you to an interesting anchorage in Jackson Creek. This narrow creek leads to an anchorage large enough for half a dozen boats with a comfortable proximity to Jackson Creek Marina. Jackson Creek Marina offers a $5/Day dinghy dock that is worth the visit. The friendly staff will gladly share any produce you may find in their vegetable and herb garden. Few things compare to fresh produce after a long voyage. Don’t miss the short walk through a wooded trail to Deltaville’s Maritime Museum and sculpture garden, a perfect example of a Chesapeake Bay hidden treasure. Cap off your leisurely paced exploration of the Bay’s Southern Shores with a rest filled visit to the

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several anchoring options with stunning views and creeks to explore by dinghy or paddle.
Exploring the Hidden Gems of the Lower Chesapeake Bay

Regatta Point Yachting Center. This marina excels at service and hospitality. It is hard to say which is more inviting, the helpful staff, well maintained docks, the grounds, or amenities. Sit a spell in one of the idyllic rocking chairs on their covered porch and bask in the peacefulness as you reminisce about all the out-of-the-way places you uncovered on your journey.

It has been said that words carry weight when there is breath in between. A pause can be a powerful precursor to the thing that comes next. The same can be said of cruising the Chesapeake. The Chesapeake Bay is at its best when, instead of seeking simply an efficient route, we pause to soak in all the hidden gems along our journey.

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Front porch at Regatta Point Yachting Center in Deltaville, VA

5 Hot New Multihulls

Great Cruising Boats Coming to a Dock Near You

Cruising on one hull is so last decade – or so it seems when you see the burgeoning crop of new multihulls. Sailors are leveraging the space, comfort and speed of multiple hulls to broaden their beam as well as their horizons.

Balance Catamarans launched their 442 last Fall and you can sign me up for one right now. Not many cats will sail 11 knots of boat speed in 16 knots of true breeze at 80 degrees AWA, but this one will. In fact, it will tack through 70 degrees which means you can actually sail upwind and that’s not easy on a catamaran.

This model is about smart systems, a livable layout and spicy sailing. Twin daggerboards help pointing ability, rigid solar panels and one or two Integrel supercharged alternators eliminate the need for a generator, and the signature Versa-Helm allows you to drive from two different positions which is key when the weather is crummy.

The sail away price is $1.2 million which still puts her below many of her performance cat competitors and you can bet that if I had the funds, I’d be lining up to get one.

And now for the three-hulled entrant – the NEEL 43 trimaran. Trimarans are known for speed but not so much for livable space, however that’s changing. NEEL Trimarans has been working to introduce comfortable distance cruising on three hulls and with their new 43, they seem to have dialed it in.

With three cabins, a head and a saloon on the main deck level, the NEEL 43 offers easy living with plenty of space. The cockpit is nearly the same size as a 43-foot cat and the single helm is offset to starboard and on the bulkhead for good visibility and protection from the elements.

The engine room/utility space below the saloon sole is inviting with everything made accessible and welllabeled. You can even opt for a 48-volt system and an Integrel alternator that can replace a genset to keep your carbon footprint small.

If you’re looking for a cruiser that’s a bit different – start by checking out one of the multihulls above. You won’t be disappointed!

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Balance 442 NEEL 43 Trimaran

Beneteau launched the Excess brand of sailing catamarans in 2018 and now has introduced the fourth model in the line, the Excess 14. The hulls are asymmetrical on this VPLP design, meaning the outboard sides are rounder than the inboard sides which are flatter. This reduces interference drag between the hulls. Thinner keels and deeper rudders have been added for a better bite and higher pointing ability.

Two rigs are available – the standard and the poweredup Pulse Line which is the performance version that adds six feet to the mast and 130 square feet to the upwind sail area. A 120% overlapping genoa is standard and there is no self-tacking jib. The cabin house has been moved aft so the rig sits on deck forward of the house and outside of the saloon.

In 8.5 knots of true breeze, the Excess 14 will sail 5.5 knots of speed over ground at 70 degrees AWA which is exceptional for a production cat. The smaller Excess 11 recently crossed the Atlantic and placed first in its division which makes me want one of these too.

Right in the cruising sweet spot, the Nautitech 44 Open is a Marc Lombard design that fills out the French builder’s line and delivers fast passage-making in total comfort.

With a higher bridge deck to avoid pounding, deeper keels for better tracking, and twin helms on the hulls for easier driving, this boat is built for performance. A fully battened mainsail, a self-tacking jib on a cabintop track, and a Code 0 on a furler make up the sail plan which is easily managed short-handed. Expect nine-knot speeds in 15-20 knots of true breeze and 10 knots when motoring with the upgraded 60-hp engines.

Packed with features, the 44 Open offers a generous owner’s suite and a utility room to store cruising gear. Oh, and it’s a kick to sail too.

The Lagoon 51 is designed by VPLP and replaces the Lagoon 50. The new model is based on the same hull(s) as the predecessor with a slightly different bridgedeck/ nacelle. It’s 2,000 pounds lighter despite being two feet longer.

There are a few important differences between this model and the previous one: the mast has been moved forward and shortened by nearly 10 feet; the flybridge is larger with three distinct areas including a sunbed forward, the helm at the center and a dinette aft; the swim platforms are wider and lower for easier boarding; and Beneteau’s Seanapps application for easier maintenance and communication makes its first appearance on a Lagoon.

The Lagoon 5 carries 1,646 square feet of upwind sail area between the square-top main and overlapping genoa. Expect to sail 7-9 knots in 14-18 knots of true breeze.

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Nautitech 44 Open Excess 14 Lagoon 51
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A JOURNEY OF RUM TASTINGS: Our Exploration of History and Flavor Profiles

Rum, with its diverse range of flavors and rich history, has long been a beloved spirit enjoyed the world over. Rum was once so valuable that it was used as a type of currency, with some thirsty sailors going so far as to accept rum as a form of payment or even having it included as part of their employment package! Although they say you should never mix alcohol and water activities, that was not always the case. In the 18th century, life at sea was a harsh undertaking with hard work and many deprivations. Therefore, the daily ration of rum, a ‘tot’, was a bright spot. The ration was distributed at lunch and consisted of 70ml (about 2 1/2 shots) rum with a minimum alcohol strength of 50%. The officers received their ration “neat”, i.e. undiluted. The crew got the same ration but diluted with two parts water, a ‘grog’. Serving rum also improved health on board, as it was thought to counteract scurvy, which many sailors contracted due to the lack of vitamin C from fruit and vegetables. To make sure the rum was not diluted, a simple test was invented by navy sailors. You poured rum on some gunpowder. If the gunpowder could still ignite, it meant that the alcohol content was over 57% and the rum was proof or fullproof (guaranteed). In the USA, the term “Proof” is still used as an expression of alcohol strength in spirits. A rum that is 100 Proof has an alcohol strength of 50%. Rum which is even stronger is described as Over-Proof. In this article, we embark on a tantalizing taste testing journey, exploring the distinctive characteristics and history of some popular rum brands. From our own well-known favorites like Kraken and Captain Morgan to lesser-known gems like A.H. Riise and Shipwreck, we’ll delve into the histories and flavors that await rum enthusiasts.

The all-new Lats & Atts Food & Drink segment will celebrate the many palates of flavors found ‘round the world by our fellow cruisers. We kick off this maiden voyage with what else? A Rum Review! Personally I think we need several more rum reviews to accurately explore all the varieties so feel free to send us your thoughts & favorites! We’re also featuring an incredible recipe by non-other than The Fish Bish! Have something food and drink related you’d like to share?

Send to: Submissions@LatsAtts.com!

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Our dwindling stock of generously gifted Shipwreck from ‘Chesapeake Lady’. Panic is setting in!
Captain’s Galley

Captain’s Galley

Known for its mythical branding and mystical backstory, Kraken Rum captivates with a blend of Caribbean rum and secret spices. We love this rum and thoroughly enjoy their dark ad campaign. Legend has it that a lone ship, carrying barrels of spiced rum across the Caribbean, was viciously attacked by the massive tentacles and colossal strength of an unknown beast. All aboard the doomed vessel were dragged into the watery depths, never to be seen again. All but one of the rum barrels was destroyed in the carnage. Stained by the ink of the beast we now know to have been the Kraken, the surviving barrel came to be known as “The Kraken Rum”, a sacred libation of unparalleled flavor and darkness. Whether you’re a seasoned rum aficionado or a curious novice, you can’t go wrong with Kraken Rum as it offers a taste of the extraordinary. Expect a robust flavor profile of caramel, molasses, vanilla, and hints of spices. Buckle up as this can potentially be an entertaining dark ride and has been for this enthusiast!

Originating from Jamaica and leaders in the rum industry, Captain Morgan has been a huge hit since Seagram’s bought the right to create a spiced rum from a Jamaican pharmacy in 1943. The recipe has been perfected by starting out with the sweet juices squeezed from sugar cane, mixing with secret spices and aging it in white oak barrels. Captain Morgan himself was Sir Henry Morgan, born in Wales in 1635. He was a privateer, which is basically a pirate, but with the law on his side, and sailed to the Caribbean to protect British Colonial interests as ordered by the government. He has become the iconic figurehead of the brand we know today. A well-established name in the rum world, Captain Morgan offers a range of expressions. From the Original Spiced Rum with its vanilla and spice notes to the more premium Captain Morgan Private Stock with its smooth and complex flavors, there is a Captain Morgan option for every palate including ours. Captain Morgan Dark Rum is a stock of our liquor cabinet and our go to mix for this rum is Coca-Cola.

Introduced to us by some great friends aboard Chesapeake Lady, Shipwreck Rum pays homage to seafaring history with its distinctive packaging and

intriguing backstory. A family business that began on the island of St. Kitts in 1986 by Bob Brinley, succeeded in 2002 by Bob’s son Zach. The mission was to create the smoothest flavored rum in the world. Brinley Gold Rum blended and marketed its first batch of vanilla rum and started selling on the island. This amazing rum has won the International Rum Festival Gold Medal. In 2011, after years in the making, the company launched Brinley Shipwreck Spiced Rum, a four-year-old aged rum with natural vanilla, nutmeg, orange, clove and exotic island spices. The recipe is dedicated to an actual British troop ship that sunk off the St. Kitts’ coast in 1782. Shipwreck Spiced as well as all the flavored rums continue to convert even traditional non-rum drinkers into die-hard fans. This amber-colored rum boasts a smooth and slightly sweet taste, with notes of tropical fruits and a hint of spice or my favorite, vanilla, which is best served without mix. This rum might go down too easily! Beware.

In June 1838, the Danish Government officially appointed Albert Heinrich Riise as the exclusive pharmacist for the island of Saint Thomas, in the Caribbean, and granted him monopoly status to produce alcohol in his pharmacy. Initially, Albert developed rum and bitters as medicine for stomach ills. However, his rum soon gained in popularity beyond its medicinal purposes, and in 1893 the A.H. Riise Company received its first International Medal at the World Exhibition in Chicago. It is said that rum (in limited quantities) is good for blood pressure and prevents gallstones and diabetes. According to some studies, the consumption of rum can also lower the risk of a number of cancers. It was also common knowledge that rum had an antiseptic effect and could be used to clean wounds. A.H. Riise produces premium rums with a focus on quality and craftsmanship. Known for their rich and complex flavors, A.H. Riise rums often exhibit notes of caramel, tropical fruits, and spices. As a strong rum this can potentially burn the hair off yer face, and cure what ails ya!

Ever since founder Don Facundo Bacardí Massó bought a small distillery in Santiago de Cuba to revolutionize the rum making process, the Bacardi story was destined to be memorable. Bacardi Rum is still a family-owned business

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The dark and spiced rum ARG meeting was very well attended. A totaled success! The Captain and I share many memories. At least I think we do. I don’t really remember a lot of them. Be sure to bring your own small glass to sample the many flavours of rum at the ARG

and the company is still operated by the original family who founded the business over 160 years ago. In fact, many family members work as employees across the world in their global offices. Even though the business has grown and evolved over the generations, they tout a strong sense of family and family values. As one of the most recognized rum brands worldwide, Bacardi offers a wide range of expressions suitable for various cocktail creations. From the light and crisp Bacardi Superior to the aged and refined Bacardi Reserva Ocho, their portfolio caters to different preferences. Bacardi currently has more rum aging than any other rum producer in the world, with over half a million barrels waiting to be blended!

Cruzan Rum is produced in Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands and owned by Beam Suntory. Founded in 1760, it claims the distinction of being “the most honored rum distillery in the world.” From the natives and inhabitants who show up to run the distillery to the island itself, the rum is literally named for the people and the place that made it all possible. With options ranging from light to dark, Cruzan rums boast flavors of vanilla, tropical fruits, and oak.

The Diplomatico Don Juancho icon is inspired by the ‘Mantuanos’, Venezuelan noblemen in the 19th century renowned for their discernment and diplomacy. Diplomatico is celebrated for its exceptional craftsmanship and luxurious offerings. Most of the flavors and aromas are created during the aging process. Diplomático’s facilities sit at the feet of the Andes Mountains in Venezuela, an exclusive microclimate that allows for optimum maturation. The type of casks used also plays a key role in giving a unique character to the rums. Established in 1959, the distillery is unique as it houses three different distillation processes that are combined to deliver unique rums. These rums often feature strong velvety textures, decadent notes of chocolate, caramel, and spices.

The history of Havana Club is full of twists and surprises. The rum originated in Cardenas, Cuba, in 1878, by family-owned José Arechabala S.A. Sadly, the brand was nationalized after the Cuban Revolution of 1959. As a symbol of Cuban rum heritage, Havana Club offers an authentic taste of the Caribbean. There also exists a very colorful historic rivalry between Havana Club and Bacardi Rum, whose family was also attacked by the new regime. The family members were cast out of Cuba in

1960, their facilities nationalized without compensation.

The Bacardi family, however, had wisely already established production plants outside of Cuba in the years before the revolution. They had moved their trademarks, assets, and formulas to the Bahamas and had built distilleries in Puerto Rico and Mexico, so the company was able to survive.

Decades later, in 1994, Bacardi managed to obtain the original recipe of Cuban Havana Club from the Arechabala family and started to produce Rum with the label Havana Club again. With Arechabala’s lawyer in prison between 1959 and 1994, the Havana Club trademark in the U.S. expired in 1973. The Cuban government took that chance and re-registered in 1976. Initially, they didn’t do much with it, but in 1993 they established the state-run corporation, Cuba Ron S.A and started a joint venture (Havana Club International S.A.) with the French brand Pernod Ricard. They began producing and distributing Cuban Havana Club that same year, one year before Bacardi. With a wide range of expressions, Havana Club rums showcase flavors of sugar cane, tropical fruits, and spices.

Introduced to us by good friends one beautiful, blurry evening, Bumbu rum is crafted in small batches on the island of Barbados at a historic distillery, where the first rums were distilled nearly 400 years ago. Bumbu The Original Rum has aromas of Madagascar vanilla, soft caramel and toasted oak, notes of cinnamon, roasted nuts and allspice. This rum is aged up to 15 years to achieve exceptional balance and smoothness, without sacrificing richness and complexity and bottled at 35%- ABV. Bumbu has four different offerings such as The Original, Bumbu XO, Bumbu XO Limited Edition and Bumbu Creme. Bumbu is an ode to the history of rum which reflects on this rum taster as a lovely way to enjoy a sundowner!

The only definitive way to discover which rum you prefer is to try as many different flavors as you can. We got the amazing opportunity to do so at an ARG (Alcohol Research Group) event in Georgetown Bahamas. Luckily we filmed a lot of it, otherwise the memories are bit cloudy! Remember to cleanse your palate between tastings to give each brand and flavor a fair chance!

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Some of the many rums donated by the participants of this amazing evening near Georgetown, Bahamas. We brought the Kraken Our contribution to the Alcohol Research Group near Georgetown consisted of a coveted bottle of Kraken Dark Angel introduced to Bumbu by SV ‘NADI’ on a wonderful, albeit fuzzy, evening.


A little spicy, a little sweet and oh so shareable!

(Serves 4–6)


● 2 large mackerel fillets, skin on

● 1 cup sushi rice

● Chopped chives and white sesame seeds for garnish


● 1/4 cup tamari

● 1/4 cup soy sauce

● 2 tbsps chili sesame oil

● 1 tsp miso paste

● 1 tsp garlic


1. Whisk together the marinade in a shallow container with a lid. Pat the fillets dry with a paper towel and place the fillets in the Marinade and refrigerate for at least an hour or at most, over night. Use a dish just wide enough to place the fillets next to one another and have a couple of inches of room on top. If the fillets are not covered completely when you place them in the marinade, you’ll have to either make a double batch of marinade or gently shake the container every ten minutes or so while they chill in the refrigerator.

2. Heat the oven to 200 degrees F. Take the fish out of the refrigerator and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake the fish for 30 minutes, basting every five minutes with the left over marinade.

3. While the fish is baking, cook the sushi rice as directed on the container and keep warm until ready to serve.

4. Take the fillets out of the oven and plate them on a serving tray with sesame seeds and chopped chives for garnish.

Kaci, known to her fans as The Fish Bish, creates “Seagan” dishes, or plant-based meals invoking sustainably caught seafood. You can find her here: www.thefishbish.com and on Instagram @the_fishbish

Shared plates are a WIN in my book. Family style meals are the way forward if you are looking for less dishes, less plating and more fun. This mackerel dish is meant to be passed around the table or put on a big fancy serving tray in the middle of a crowd so everyone can pick as they please. I love these types of meals for sun downers with friends as it is an easy way to serve a crowd a satisfying dish.

This Asian inspired mackerel is marinated in a sweet and spicy sauce before it is placed in the oven, low and slow. We’re leaving it in the oven long enough to take some moisture out of the fish so it is easily handled in the center of the table and not falling apart when your guests go in for a bite. It’s beautifully plated with sesame seeds and chives and served with sushi rice on the side.

A simple, satisfying and all around fun dish to bring people together at the table. Let me know what you think about this recipe in the comments and don’t forget to head over to The Fish Bish on youtube and instagram to see this recipe and many more!

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I’ve been dying to recreate my own version of the classic lobster rangoon. The number of plant based ingredients that are available in the grocery stores now are endless. Plant based cream cheese and wonton wrappers that are available in local markets if you are looking for a non-dairy or Seagan (seafood+vegan) option. This is a quick, fun and inexpensive way to enjoy lobster with the whole family.

This simple lobster rangoon recipe starts with a classic filling of cooked lobster, cream cheese and scallions that are thrown into the food processor for a quick blitz to create our creamy filling. After filling the wonton wrappers and frying them, we will be mixing up a quick vinegar based chili crisp sauce that will really bring all the flavors together to make this dish complete. The best thing about this recipe is that one lobster tail will make around 24 rangoons, making this a great way to enjoy an affordable lobster dish with everyone! *All vegan ingredients in this recipe can be replaced with traditional ingredients.


(Makes about 24 rangoons)


● 1 lobster tail, boiled

● 1/2 cup plant based cream cheese

● 1/4 small red onion

● 2-4 scallions

● 2 tbsp lemon juice

● 1 tsp garlic

● vegan wonton wrappers


● 1/4 cup Rice vinegar

● Agave to taste

● 1 tsp chili crisp

● 1 tsp sesame seeds


1. Roughly chop the cooked lobster, chives and onion. Place these ingredients along with the lemon juice, garlic and cream cheese into a food processor. Pulse a few times until the ingredients are well combined. Do not over-mix, this will result in a mushy filling.

2. On a clean cutting board, lay down a wonton wrapper and wet the edges of two conjoining sides, place a small spoonful of filling in the center and fold into a triangle shape while sealing the edge of the wrapper. Repeat until the filling is gone.

3. Immediately place in a pan with hot oil and either pan fry or deep fry the wontons until they become golden and crispy. Lay on a paper towel lined plate to rest.

4. Mix the rice vinegar, chili crisp and agave in a small bowl, adjusting the flavor as you like. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve along side the rangoons.

This lobster rangoon recipe is such a great way to eat lobster as a family or use up that last tail you have sitting in the freezer from a dive trip. Simple, plant based ingredients and succulent lobster have never disappointed a crew! Let me know what you think of this recipe and don’t forget to watch the full video, step by step on any of my social channels www.thefishbish.com and on Instagram @the_fishbish!

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Ask the Experts


Is there anything worse than going to bed just to find out the hatch over your bunk leaked during the last sail or rainstorm? Possibly…but that’s for another article!

Ask the Experts is an all-new section where we will take YOUR questions and pass them along to our veteran cruisers, industry contacts and maybe even some random guy named Brad who probably uses more duct tape than is legally allowed. Each issue we’ll publish some of the best questions and answers! To submit your question email us at DIY@LatsAtts.com

Many sailors are intimidated with the idea of resealing a boat hatch for the first time, myself included, but you will find it is quite simple to do and very much a DIY type job that should take an hour or two with a small array of tools.

The first thing to reseal a hatch is to get the hatch removed from the boat. This is also the most time consuming aspect of the job. The first step is to remove any screws holding the hatch frame to the deck. Make sure you get all of them, because just one will screw up your plans…trust me. The second step is to lift the frame up and to do this you will need a hammer, chisel, two flat head screwdrivers, and a blade. Start in one corner of the frame and lightly hammer the chisel in between the frame and deck. I like to use a flattened cereal box to make sure I don’t scrape the deck doing this. Once you have the chisel all

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the way in, use your blade to run under the frame to slice through any caulking and/or adhesive holding the frame down. You may have to run the blade in the new opening several times. Now use your screwdrivers as far on either side of the chisel as you can to hold the frame up, so you can take the chisel out. Repeat the process on the next corner and the next and the next. Eventually you will have most of the adhesive cut and you should be able to simply pull the whole frame away from the deck. This is a process, because you do not want to force anything and bend the hatch frame, so take your time!

Once the hatch is up you need to do some cleanup/prep work to be able to successfully put it back in place. First use a bladed scraper and remove all the excess adhesive material from the deck. Once I have removed it all off the deck I like to use a fine grit sandpaper (220 or so) to get rid of any leftovers and marks made during the removal process. Now it is time to clean up the underside of the hatch frame. I usually can get most of the adhesive off using a big flat head screwdriver and scraping it off bit by bit.

The last part of the job is to liberally apply new adhesive to the underside of the hatch frame and then put it in place. I like to use caulk instead of 4200 or 5200, so I can get the hatch up easier when it needs to be redone in the future. Make sure to use too much adhesive instead of not enough. Once you start screwing the frame back onto the deck you should have it coming out everywhere around the frame. Use the alternating method to get all the screws tightened down and then walk away. I know all the excess adhesive just sitting there will drive you nuts like it does me, but if you wait

until the next day it will be dry and all it takes is a scraper to clean up.

The last time I resealed a hatch it had started leaking because the screws on the hinge side no longer “bit” into the fiberglass, because it was stripped out. All I needed to do then was take some two-part fiberglass resin and squirt it into the screw holes with a syringe and let it dry overnight. I then drilled new pilot holes and seated the hatch just as I mentioned above.

I hope this little “how to” article has given you the confidence to fix those leaking hatches in order to give you a warm, dry bed to sleep in.

Captain Shane & 1st Mate

Lily are busy doing “boat projects in exotic ports” on the Caribbean side of Central America. Check out him and Guiding Light at svGuidingLight.com on the web or any social media.

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We met Sarah Schelbert in Antigua 2022 when she sailed her boat into the harbor with her dog and asked if she could race in the Classic Regatta.

She turned out to be the life of the party. The next year Sarah sailed into Antigua to race in the Classic Regatta and seemed so much more sure of herself and had a crew. We knew that we wanted to get to know her better.

Robin: Sarah, please tell us a little about yourself and your boat. Tell us why you want to live this lifestyle and any suggestions you’d give to others considering something similar.

Sarah: I’m Sarah, 34 years old, born in Germany. Until I was 25 I didn’t set foot on a sailboat, as sailing was just not a thing in southern Germany. I was always into traveling and loved the ocean and I was very much into surfing from my late teens. I studied German Literature and Political Science and have a Bachelor of Arts. I was always the smart kid, never really hands on.

After finishing my Bachelors Degree I wanted to travel to Central America. Some friends told me about the possibility of “boat hitchhiking” across the Atlantic and so I went to the Canary Islands to find a boat. Never having sailed before I thought this would be a great adventure and a good way of slow travel with less carbon footprint. I saw it as a means to get to the other side, not really something I would want to pursue. However, during the crossing I of course got intrigued by it and after reaching Grenada, I started crewing on different boats. My goal was to get to Panama. I couldn’t find a boat, but met a handsome young guy from Nova Scotia with his beautiful Herreshoffe H28 design. We started sailing together and on his boat “Lizzy Belle” is really when I learned how to sail. I sailed all the way to Guatemala with him and then did some traveling and backpacking there. We spent two seasons together sailing Lizzy Belle in the Caribbean in winter and doing other boat stuff in Nova

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Scotia in summer. I learned quickly and loved the simplicity and the closeness to nature and the elements that sailing life brings with it.

After a painful breakup I found myself back in rainy Germany and thought the time might have come to start a “real” life, get a job, buy a house etc, etc. But after four months I knew that I wasn’t made for it anymore and I needed to go back to the ocean. So I found a volunteer position on a Square Rigger, the “Eye of the Wind” for two months in the Caribbean, sailing back through a lot of the places I knew already.

Still kinda heart broken, I was now looking for a project, something more than just floating around backpacking. The opportunity presented itself when after leaving the Eye of the Wind, I stopped in Guatemala to visit some friends. There was this gorgeous wooden boat sighted in the bay and the owner said he wanted to sell her as he felt too old to keep up with the maintenance. My friends urged me “this is your boat Sarah.” I was sure that I was hugely lacking experience (I had only really sailed for about 2.5 years at that point) and also was still on a backpackers budget! But, it was meant to be and a couple weeks later I signed the contract and was now proud owner of Alani. My “new boat”

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was a 35 ft wooden Gurney Sloop built in 1960 and needed more work than I realized.

In the weeks to come I found out she was in much worse shape than I thought. She was taking on lots of water and the stern post was soft and rotten. There were no wooden boat shipwrights in the Rio Dulce at that time and so I sailed her up to Sarteneja in Belize, where traditional wooden boat building culture is still very much alive. One of the shipwrights assured me he could fix the problem and so we took on the challenge trying to figure out how to haul Alani out on the beach in Sarteneja. Traditionally, boats are just laid on their side and pulled out of the water on palm tree rollers. With Alani’s deep keel and fragile rib cage, that wasn’t an option for me. So we built a cradle to pull her out of the water upright. No one had ever done this in Sarteneja but everyone seemed confident. The whole endeavour failed completely, due to too much friction and the soft mud was too deep. We got her half way out of the water before I pulled the plug and realized this wasn’t working.

So I started my journey back to Rio Dulce. On the way, the head gasket of my old Westerbeke engine blew. I arrived back with a boat more broken than before, no more engine and completely out of money. That was the time lots of my friends advised me to just let it go, I didn’t have the money or experience to fix her up and should just go back to Germany, earn some money and buy another

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boat. I cried for a couple days and then decided f*** it! If wqwI can’t find anyone to fix her, I’ll just have to do it myself. So I bought some books, some tools, hauled her out and started the process. I had huge support from my parents, friends, especially from my very good friend Tom, who had a sail repair shop and knew a lot about how to fix things. A couple weeks later I found a job with a charter company in Belize called “Belize Sailing Vacation” which was to finance my whole refit. So I spent three years between charter jobs in Belize and months in the boatyard and later working on Alani at Toms shop.

I started by stripping the hull down to bare wood and ripping the cockpit out to access the rotten stern post. Rebuilding the stern post and part of the horn timber was the first huge challenge. With almost no wood working experience it took a lot of sweat, tears, frustration and time to figure out what I had to do. Fortunately, I had some great wooden boat folks right close by in the yard providing lots of advice and encouragement and several friends who helped when I needed them. After the stern post I started laminating frames to repair and fix all the missing/broken ones on board. Then followed plank repairs. After all that we glassed her over with two to three layers of fiberglass. She was splashed, then I rebuilt the cockpit, repaired the deck, re-glassed the deck, rebuilt the cockpit combings and made a new toe rail. Put all the interior back in, installed a new Beta Marine 25 engine, put the mast back on with a complete new rig, installed new bronze chain plates (we bent and fitted them ourselves) and a bunch of more stuff.

When she was finally ready to sail in November 2019, I took off on my first ever offshore passage as a captain and with the help of friends, and sometimes solo, sailed her across to the West Indies. I had picked up Maya as a puppy before I left.

We got locked down in Dominica during Covid and my brother, who was sailing with me at the time, decided to stay there when I took off to Grenada for hurricane season. In Grenada I met Chris and Chrystal from LTD Sailing and started working for their ASA sailing school as a sailing instructor. I had been certified during my captaining in Belize as a sailing instructor and had done classes there already. I loved Carriacou from when I first anchored there and made that the home of my choice. I now have my own company “Schelbert Marine’’, doing captaining, deliveries, woodwork, general boat yard work and still teaching sailing for LTD.

I love living aboard with Maya, without her on board I probably wouldn’t have made it in many moments. Solosailing Alani was and still is a pretty big challenge as the navigation setup is simple (self-steering wind vane is my only autopilot), she heels hard and the cockpit is not made for comfort.

I took part in the Carriacou Regatta in 2021 and since then the Regatta bug bit me. I upgraded her with a set of

new sails and some bigger winches and am determined to perfect to sail her as best as she and I can.

I am currently not planning on leaving Grenada/Carriacou anytime soon. I would love to get involved in building a Carriacou sloop, as I’m fascinated by this tradition. During the time owning Alani I just learned to not make too many plans far into the future, but to be open and flexible to what life presents. I’d love to do more woodwork, encourage more women sailing and more racing. My brother lives in Dominica and I really like spending time there as well.

The advice I would give for anyone who wants to live aboard is not to be scared. Even if the challenge seems huge at the beginning, you will learn quickly and anyone can do it if the will and determination are there. My personal advice would also be to keep your boat setup as simple as possible so you don’t get overwhelmed by too many (non-crucial) items and appliances that need maintenance and fixing. This lifestyle is, after all, about living simply, being out in nature, connected to the elements, the people and culture around you and being connected to yourself.

You can follow Sarah and her adventures at: @wood_water_and_i or www.woodwaterandi.com

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Now is the winter of my content ( ment ) !

In the Fall of 2004 we moved from the dirt to the water for the first time. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, and hadn’t had the luxury of enjoying the 42’ Wellcraft “Blue Hippo”in the summer. We had researched the marinas in the Boston area, and chatted with several employees and boat owners at Constitution Marina in Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood. The location (in Boston’s historic Navy Yard, and next to the world’s oldest commissioned warship, the USS Constitution) was convenient to our jobs, had easy parking, and was also close to restaurants in both Charlestown and Boston’s North End - well known for its Italian food! The neighborhood also includes famous landmarks including the Bunker Hill Monument and the Old North Church (starting place of the

“one if by land, two if by sea” ride with Paul Revere). We fell in love with the location!

First (of many) lessons learned – we initially moved onto the Wellcraft with most of our belongings. Our neighbors must have laughed at all the carts full of stuff that we brought with us. The forward stateroom quickly became packed from floor/bed to ceiling with our personal items, clothing, books, and cooking pans. By the time April came around we realized we hadn’t used any of this, and off we went to donate items to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. We quickly learned that “less is more”, especially in this much smaller space than we’d had on land.

148 Latitudes & Attitudes | #44 FALL 2023 Lifestyles

We also learned that while the boat had two 50 amp cords, that we couldn’t heat the boat (four electric heaters) and use the microwave or oven at the same time. We became adept at power management, shutting off heaters when we cooked, and remembering to turn them back on afterwards. The nagging feeling of “will the boat be afloat” when we go away for a trip was always in the back of my mind. The new boat has a Sensar monitoring system (www.sensarmarine.com), which provides significant peace of mind when I’m away.

Our first winter, we decided to save money (we thought) by just using tarps and bungee cords to protect the boat from ice, rain and snow. We learned quickly that this was both annoying to ourselves and neighbors, and it was ineffective. Our second (and following) winter, we shrink-wrapped the entire boat and installed a wooden door as access through the 6 mil polyethylene. A gracious neighbor taught us how to apply a propane fueled flame to flammable plastic and how to make it drum-tight. The job seemed contrary to common sense – open flame to flammable plastic – on what is a very flammable material (fiberglass). But after an exhausting day, we got the job done, and were able to bask in a very hot boat during the day – a 30 degree day in the sun equaled a 90 degree day under the plastic! The savings in heat cost was tremendous as a result, and the protection from ice and snow, and added exterior space for hanging outside in the middle of a storm, or storing winter jackets and other bulky items.

We had a neighbor a while back that would describe the day as “another beautiful day in paradise” no matter what the weather was. While I wasn’t too sure about

the “paradise,” I would agree that most every day here is beautiful, whether it is sunny and dry, or snowing, blowing hard, or raining, there is a peaceful and sometimes harsh beauty to this life and place.

Our next boat was a 49’ Gulfstar motor yacht, still our favorite with three staterooms, a salon with house-type furniture that could be moved and, a galley kitchen that could sit eight while entertaining. We had many parties and waffle brunches with our neighbors and friends aboard the “Imagine”.

After a bit of a disaster, we moved up to a 53’ Hatteras “Gratitude,” with two staterooms, an office, upper and lower salons, and a huge outdoor seating area on the stern. While the upper salon was wonderful, it couldn’t be used in the winters.

Cue a 2nd disaster, and we moved up to a 63’ (& 18’ beam) Hatteras “Aquadisiac.” We lived in the life of luxury for a few years with four heads, four staterooms, and sleeping in actual beds. Fast forward a few years, and now I’m living aboard a beautiful 42’ Grand Banks “Blue Moon” that we took from Lake Champlain in VT to New York City and then to Boston in 2021.

Some Tips for Winter Living Aboard:

Heating – after the first winter in the 42’ Wellcraft, all of our boats had hydronic (forced hot water) diesel heating systems (ITR/Hurricane or Webasto systems). The hydronic systems allowed us to heat each room at a thermostat controlled temperature, with no issues regarding electrical

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power management. The 42’ Grand Banks is heated using forced hot air mini furnaces drawing fuel from the main diesel tanks. The main potable water tank is heated using two pad/tank heaters and a heat tape all connected to a thermostat.

Sewerage – Constitution Marina provides year-round black water pump-out on a schedule.

Water – the marina provides a special “winter water” hookup and most years the system provides running drinking water for the 80-100 liveaboard boaters without any problems. Much like a dirt-house in a deep freeze, open cabinets under sinks to allow the room heat to enter the space below the sinks to attempt to keep pipes from freezing.

Fire Protection – every boat I’ve had, had Kidde fire extinguishers aboard – all of them were replaced for free due to a manufacturer’s recall. Know that your standard 2.5 lb dry chemical fire extinguisher provides only 11 seconds of fire fighting chemical – if there’s a fire – GET OUT. The USCG has recently updated fire extinguisher requirements (for new boats) and now 5-B or greater is the standard.

Repairs – all of the boats have been older, and all have had electrical, water, septage and heating systems that have needed occasional repairs. Most of these I’ve taken care of myself. Many of my neighbors are do-it-yourselfers as well.

150 Latitudes & Attitudes | #44 FALL 2023

Pool – yes! The marina has a small built-in swimming pool that is heated in the winter and tented. It’s a great way to meet our winter neighbors and have a drink or pizza on Fridays.

Overall - Neighbors, community, history, helping others, parties and beautiful surroundings are some of the words I’d use to describe living full-time at Constitution Marina over the past 19 years (including winters). It’s a unique environment, we’re “in the same boat” and each day can bring something different. I don’t take the weather for granted anymore. Our tides can be up to 12’ with a storm, yet I can’t imagine moving to land.

And for those who want to know, yes – I do take the boat out during the Summer. We took the “Blue Moon” down from Lake Champlain/Charlotte VT to New York City and then to Boston in 2021. We have also been to Block Island RI, Portsmouth NH, Cuttyhunk, Provincetown, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, and Boston’s 34 islands.


www.LatsAtts.com 151
Walter Hope is a USCG 100 Ton Master, and is also the Chairman of the Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands, and on the Board of the Mass Bay Harbor Safety Committee. His day job is working for the State Environmental Department.

Review BOOK

The World’s Worst Sailor (Still alive to tell the tale)

Stephen (Doc) Regan has written a humorous, though heavily sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek account of his sailing life and adventures in small crafts on the lakes and rivers around his home in Iowa. The “Doc” comes from his doctorate in Educational Psychology, for which he reminds us no less than 37 times throughout the book, which he says is a compilation of stories he has published in various sailing magazines over the years. For those landlocked readers who long to be on the water, and want to listen to the ripple of the wavelets rather than the sound of outboard motors, these stories “Doc” has to share with us could put a smile on your face.

For example, we are given the opportunity to be with him in his early days with family and being bitten by the boating bug. Then he invites us to follow along while ordering his first sailboat, and the challenge of simply picking a hull color…blue, and we learn in five pages of “blue” discussion that it is not as easy as one would think. After all is unpacked, assembled and launched he says it all: “Once on the water I discovered the true beauty of sailing one’s own boat.”

Tongue in cheek he says, “I gave up golf for sailing because I thought it was cheaper”, and we learn the trials and tribulations he has with his various boat projects, and “cheaper” does not enter the equation. His best friends become West Marine, Home Depot, and Ace Hardware. He even quotes the legendary Bob Bitchin, “Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment”, as he shares his sailing education he calls “experimental learning” and blames it on being an eccentric Ph.D from Iowa. His friend and mentor Mississippi Bob, says “wouldn’t it have been easier to take a class or something?”

I found particularly interesting his chapter on the Gods of the sea where we are reminded about the Greeks: Poseidon, Zeus, Hydros and some of the lesser known from other countries like Glaucus the god of fishermen, or Anuker the daughter of Ra of the river Nile and goddess of childbirth. Who would have thought?

152 Latitudes & Attitudes | #44 FALL 2023

If you want to take a break from your Patrick O’Brian books, read Doc Regan’s chapter 16 to catch up on your nautical terms like Pucker String, Peter-boat, Brail up, and Judas door, to name only a few.

The whole book in full of the accumulated tid-bits of nautical trivia including that Ole St. Nicholas, normally associated with Christmas was also the Patron Saint of sailors, and Mary, mother of

Jesus, in Latin is known as Stella Maris, Drop of the Sea or Star of the Sea depending, if you prefer the Greek translation. We even get a reference to Lats & Atts own Tania Aebi’s book Maiden Voyage. There is a chapter on boat knives, boat dogs, and Finnish rowboats. What all these have to do with Doc’s claim to be the world’s worst sailor, I’m not sure, but if you need to kill time over a long Iowa winter, you should read his book then join Doc Regan at Sweeny’s Tavern overlooking the Mississippi River, swap sea stories and sing sea shanties while waiting for the ice to melt.

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November 2–9, 2024


Join us for the SHARE SAIL
166 Latitudes & Attitudes | #44 FALL 2023
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bag bosun’s

Hard-to-Find “Stuff” for the Cruiser

168 Latitudes & Attitudes | #44 FALL 2023
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170 Latitudes & Attitudes | #44 FALL 2023 the

10 They are left behind by an ebbing tide, 2 words 11 Packed

60 Caribbean islands with crystal blue waters

62 Coat for a boat

64 Pecan, for example

65 Highest 66 Bad shot on the links

67 Common pants

70 Take care of, 2 words

72 It’s below the lower deck 73 Quite a party

75 New, prefix

76 Volkswagen model’s nickname

77 French for gold

79 Bond girl in “No Time to Die”, ___ De Armas 80 Vanity 83 Pacino or Yankovic

www.LatsAtts.com 171 GIANT
1 2 3 4 567 8 91011 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 2122 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 3233 34 35 36 37 3839 40 41 42 43 44 4546 47 4849 50 51 52 5354 55 56 5758 59 60 6162 6364 6566 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 7677 787980 81 82 83 8485 86 87 Across 1 Estuary 4 Tobago's island neighbor 9 Navigation aid in the sky 13 Fastener 14 Gear 15 Partial deck above the upper deck 18 Next to a dock or pier, for example 20 " Butterflies ___ Free" 21 Electric guitar innovator Paul 23 Demand 24 Steering wheel 25 Octopus features 29 Short plane trip 30 Mixture of rum and water 31 Harbor boats 32 Boat bottom
Went around the world on one's own, e.g. 35 Eureka!
Staying in a harbor during bad weather, say 40 Sun umbrellas
Panama, for one Across 1 Estuary 4 Tobago’s island neighbor 9 Navigation aid in the sky 13 Fastener 14 Gear 15 Partial deck above the upper deck 18 Next to a dock or pier, for example 20 “ Butterflies ___ Free” 21 Electric guitar innovator Paul 23 Demand 24 Steering wheel 25 Octopus features 29 Short plane trip 30 Mixture of rum and water 31 Harbor boats 32 Boat bottom 34 Went around the world on one’s own, e.g. 35 Eureka! 37 Staying in a harbor during bad weather, say 40 Sun umbrellas 42 Panama, for one 43 Greeting for a dude or a bro 44 Mellow wind instrument, for short 45 South American parrot 47 Electric fish, perhaps 48 Fish found in warm and tropical seas that can make itself larger by filling its stomach with water 51 Airport board abbreviation 52 Melody 53 “Kill Bill” star, first name 55 Technology for detecting objects under water 56 Endangered aquatic species 57 Diving activity 59 Chamomile, e.g. 61 Dark blue 63 Colorful endings to the day 67 West Indian island where Ian Fleming created James Bond 68 Costa del ____ 69 Rowboat essential 70 Sails 71 Drink mentioned in Rupert Holmes’s song “Escape”, 2 words 74 String for packing 76 Fancy neckwear 78 Painter’s stand 81 “I Got Rhythm” lyricist Gershwin 82 Act as navigator, 3 words 84 Woman’s evening wear 86 Group of fish 87 American Samoa capital and a great place to catch tuna, 2 words Down
Flapping of a sail due to no wind in the sail at all 2 Device used in some navigation systems
Predatory whales
Steering devices 5 __ address 6 Vardalos of ‘’My Big Fat Greek Wedding’’ 7 Little bay 8 Canvas shelter 9 Tackle a mogul
state, abbr.
85 San Juan Islands’
Wanna Cheat? The answers to these are on page 173 Created by Myles Mellor
Take advantage of 16 Gauguin’s output 17 Moray, for one 19 Upright swimmers, 2 words 22 BBQ cloud 26 Officer sporting an eagle, abbr. 27 Port or starboard, for example
Naval petty officer responsible for steering and signals
Clarinetist, King
Go where no man has gone before 35 At right angles to the fore and aft of centerline of a ship 36 Moves with the wind and tide without direction 37 Temporary or movable pillar carrying
block or pulley for various purposes, 2 words 38 Angler’s line material 39 Leave port 41 Long tale 46 Control of the ship, abbr. 48 Takes a swim 49 Are situated 50 Center 54 Soaking meat or fish in a seasoned liquid 58 Einstein’s birthplace
a leading

Nautical Word Search

Answers on page 173


Latitudes and Attitudes Word Search
Find the words listed under the puzzle and circle each one as
Abandon Abeam Ahead Allhands Aloft Backstays Beacon Berth Bimini Bosun Buoyed Cabin Cable Capsize Careen Chafing Deadeye Decks Draft Dunnage Fathom Firstmate Fluke Furled Gaff Galley Grog Harbor Hawse Hoist Hold Horn Hydrofoil Icing Jack Kelson Knowtheropes League Leech Listing Luff Mainbrace Marina Oilskin Orlop Overhaul Pier Pitch Pooped Prow Reefs Rolls Scud Scuppers Scuttle Seaworthy Shakes Sheer Sheet Skysail Slush Sonar Splice Stern Surge Tally Topgallant Transom Wake Weigh Whitehorses Yards
172 Latitudes & Attitudes | #44 FALL 2023 TO DONATE, PARTICIPATE, OR VOLUNTEER,
Bosun’s Bag
L 1 AG 2 OO 3 N T 4 RI 5 N 6 I 7 DA 8 D S 9 T 10 A 11 R U Y R U 12 I P 13 IN W K 14 IT F 15 ORECA 16 STLE 17 A 18 LONGS 19 IDE F O A 20 RE L 21 ES 22 E I E A I 23 NSIST H 24 ELM T 25 ENTAC 26 LES 27 N C Q 28 R O G H 29 OP I G 30 ROG T 31 UGS K 32 EE 33 L S 34 OLOED P A 35 HA E X D 36 R O E S 37 HELTERIN 38 G 39 P 40 ARASOLS 41 A H 42 AT Y 43 O L I E S 44 AX M 45 AC 46 AW E 47 EL B 48 L 49 OWFISH 50 G P O A 51 RR O A 52 IR T U 53 M 54 A S 55 ONAR M 56 ANATEE S 57 CU 58 BA O T 59 EA H L R B 60 N 61 AV 62 Y S 63 UN 64 SET 65 S 66 J 67 AMAICA P A T U S 68 OL E N H O 69 AR S 70 HEETS P 71 INACO 72 LADA S N E R B 73 C N R T M T 74 WIN 75 E B 76 O 77 A E 78 A 79 SE 80 L I 81 RA S 82 ETA 83 COURSE N G 84 OW 85 N S S 86 CHOOL G H P 87 AGOPAGO Latitudes and Attitudes Word Search Find the words listed under the puzzle and circle each one as you find it. HSULSTOPGALLANTICINGL WEUOEFATHOMSBECNEERAC TEYFFAGLAJGUGANIKSLIO KMIEACGBLAOAPGLMARINA ECBGDKEULYNSEOLIOEKAW RSAKHANLENILSRUBVEHQT EYWJMOEDUZTFYGRBEACON TAEASYGDETEWLASMRSESB ATNLHORNUEFVHUYUHKEPH MSEOBVUCRLIASYKSACLLF TKNVYESDERGDRNREUEAIE SCUPPERSGTNYODXLLDUCS RASPIERTFAIWPITCHGAEH IBOSESROHETIHWASDRAYN FNBHDSLLGHSSONARBWDOM OSSASALNETIDIHONORDKO MWELCAIRTSLESZIRONLWS GHLARFORLOPLTATFAUOON AOBKAPOOPEDRMHOBFRHVA R IAHESTERNTUYIAFPVBYR NHCSHAKESZMFLDTLSHEET wanna cheat? Here are the answers to this issue’s Extra Large Maritime Crossword Puzzle and The Word Search Puzzle. Go ahead. No one will know... except you! :) www.LatsAtts.com 173 GOT A NEW HAIRCUT OR TATTOO YOU’D LIKE TO SHOW OFF TO THE WORLD? Do you have a pic of your life at sea that you think tells a good tale? Send it on over! Just tell us who you are, where you are, and (if you have it) your social media handle and you just might make it into the magazine! Won’t that be a hoot! Email your photos to us at submissions@latsatts.com SEND US YOUR PICS AND WE’LL BE HAPPY TO DISPLAY FOR ALL TO SEE!


In the Advertiser Product Spotlight we take one of our long-time advertisers and let them feature one of their best products! Check it out!

Whisker Poles

Experienced cruising sailors know the benefits of using a Forespar Whisker Pole to control their headsail downwind. No matter if they’re flying a small jib or a larger reaching sail, they know a whisker pole helps hold the sail clew out of the mainsail’s wind shadow to keep it full and drawing smoothly during downwind runs. This allows them to comfortably sail much deeper angles so they can get to their destination quicker. A whisker pole also helps them eliminate the annoying headsail flop when sailing deep downwind.

As the world leader in downwind pole production, Forespar has been perfecting their whisker pole designs for nearly 60 years. Their adjustable length Line Control (LC) models have become the goto standard for most cruisers because it can be adjusted to fit different size sails and retracted for easier storage. They make several different LC models to fit your needs and budget including a standard all aluminum version, as well as lighter weight 50/50 or all-carbon models. Forespar also offer’s several other models designed to fit everything from dinghies and smaller sailboats, all the way up to custom poles for larger cruising boats.

There are many things to consider if you are thinking about adding a Forespar Whisker Pole to your boat, so be sure to check out these helpful resources before ordering!

174 Latitudes & Attitudes | #44 FALL 2023
One Life Sailing Whisker Pole Installation Video Whisker Pole Buyer’s Guide
50/50 forespar.com
All Carbon


Meet some of our favorite cruisers out there making dreams happen! The fine folks on this page are the dreamers and do’ers and can be spotted easily on oceans and seas worldwide. They have that look of excitement and joy, with a hint of whimsy. We are all family and a global community and it’s a wonderful world we are part of. Have a favorite cruiser you’d like to see featured?

Send it us at: Submissions@LatsAtts.com

Certified beach bums, nature lovers, and adventurous travelers, Laura and Ken have been sailing the Caribbean from Grenada to the Bahamas for the last seven years. You may spot their 2022 Leopard 45 catamaran, HOPE, currently in charter service in the BVI.


Let Go, Let’s Go!

Letting go of their fears, expectations and everything holding them in the warm comfort of the familiar they decided to sell everything they had in Cape Town, South Africa, to buy a Nautitech Open 40 catamaran to travel and explore the world full time with their two little boys, Kay (4) and Jay (2). @let.go.lets.go

Anna Sea Capps

A dive instructor and spearfishing guide in the Florida Keys. Anna’s partner and her have been fulltime cruisers aboard a 43 ft Marine Trader Tradewinds for about a year, making plans to cruise locally throughout the summer season, and then over to the Bahamas sometime early next year. If you cruise to the Keys or are looking to dive into Freediving, reach out!


Tanner & Jaclyn have spent the last several years slaving away, saving up every penny in order to afford their boat, and set off on adventure! They are eager to see new places, eat local foods, and meet lovely people, in a life of living nowhere but everywhere!


Vamos A Vela

They are Flor and Ger! A young couple from Argentina who recently bought Kirra in Martinique and are planning to spend at least one year sailing in the Caribbean, working from their new home and shooting videos! @vamos_avela

Sailing Sea Pearl

Luisa and Matthias are on mission to discover the most beautiful corners of the earth on their Sea Pearl. They are looking for unique sailing experiences, the specialties of the countries and great encounters! @sailingseapearl

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727 Sailbags | 120

AB Marine Inc | 169

Aero Yacht Ltd | 16

Annapolis Boat Shows | 165

Annapolis Hybrid Marine | 123

Aquamarine Water Solutions | 19

Atlantic Towers | 132

Aumaris Nautical Jewerly | 29


Bacon Sails | 81

Banner Bay Marine | 170

Barefoot Yacht Charters | 155

Battle Born (DragonFly) | 79

Bavaria Sail & Power By S&J Yachts | IFC, 1

Beta Marina East/West | 80

Bitter End Yacht Club Intl Inc | 35

Blue Water Sailing School | 32-33

BoatLIFE | 153

Bocas Marina | 81

Bolt Depot | 82

Boot Dusseldorf | 81

BOW (Lewis Marine) | 12

Call of the Sea | 172

Catamaran Guru | 30

Conch Charters | 156

Coppercoat | 99

Cruise Abaco | 122

Cruising Solutions (Indie Marine) | 97

CS Johnson | 99

E-SeaRider Marine Seating | 122

Eastern Yacht Sales | 160

El Cid Marinas | 30

Evolution Sails | 113

Forespar Products Corporation | 82

Forget About It | 170

Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show | 164

Foss Foam & Rudders | 170

Froli Systems | 132

Greatland Laser | 113

Hamilton Ferris | 18

Hart Sytems | 170

HMC Handcrafted Mattress | 123

Hull Shield | 34

Hydrovane International Marine Inc. | 170

ICA Group | 123

Indiantown Marina | 113

Jeanneau America | 17

Kanberra Gel | 80

Keenan Filters | 7

Keylime Sailing Club | 172


Lanex Yachting | 120

Lasdrop | 120

Lifeline Batteries | 132

Little Yacht Sales | 157, 161

M&B Shipcanvas | 132

Mack Sails | 25

Mack Yacht Services | 24

Magica Rust Remover | 169

Mantus Marine | 122

Maptech | 96

Masthead Enterprises | 170

MJM Yachts | 78

Mystic Knotworks | 168

Nautigold | 28

Newport Boat Show | 163

Next Gen | 132

No Wear Guard | 174

OffShore Passage Opportunities | 169

Offshore Sailing School | 8-9, 170

Panama Posse | 101

Progressive Insurance | 13

PYI | 113

PYI - Kiwi Grip | 98

Rainman Portable Watermakers | 21

Ringed Davits | 99

S&J Yachts | 158-159

Sail Caribe | 20

Sailmakers Supply | 172

Sailing Trader | 172

Sailrite | BC

Seabbatical Long term Charters | 157

Sea Water Pro Watermakers | 11

ScuttleButt the App | 154

Shadetree Fabric Shelters | 98

Signal Mate | 122

Snap-A-Lot | 168

South Coast Yachts | 162

Spade Anchor | 97

Sunsail | 31

TeakLite Flooring Inc | 98

Technautics | 170

Titan Marine Air | 82, 101

The Moorings | 2, 3

The Sail Warehouse | 169

The Starboard Rail | 132

TPG Marinas | 101

Ultra Marine West | 14 US Spars Inc | 150-151

WWalker Bay Boats LLC | IBC Wichard | 6

Zarcor | 168

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