Cruising: Donna Gallant

Author:
Publish date:
DownWind700x

Donna Gallant always planned to live a life of adventure. In school, she told her roommate that she was going to marry a man with a boat so she could sail the world (and she did). Since then, she’s built up an impressive nautical resume, having sailed over 6,000 miles and lived aboard for years. She even sailed from Miami to Los Angeles on a 50ft steel ketch called Bernina with just her husband and two babies (one and three years old). “I was washing diapers in saltwater and hanging them out to dry in the rigging,” she remembers with a laugh. In the late 1950s, she published an article about bringing up children on a sailboat.

Eventually, she and her sailor husband split up, but Donna’s wanderlust never waned. Instead of waiting for someone to travel with her as she had back in school, she decided to do it on her own. The result were trips are too numerous to list, but which included visits to Thailand, Morocco and the Arctic (where she learned to fly, but not land, a twin-engine plane).

In her 50s, she took up commercial fishing even as she continued traveling, but she missed sailing, as she went 30 long years without a boat. The result was a bad case of “sea fever” as she calls it. “I had to stop walking by the marina because it made my heart ache,” she says.

Finally, in 2017 at the age of 86, Donna decided enough was enough, and she purchased a Catalina 30 called Downwind. With the help of her 90-year-old friend and neighbor, Bob, who has two circumnavigations to his record, she then cruised the San Juan Islands. Though the pair isn’t going to be able to do the sailing they had hoped to this season, the spirit of adventure lives on as Donna intends to do a riverboat cruise in Europe and is planning another trip back to Thailand. 

August 2018

Related

m123728_13_01_171012_PMA_02901_9999

Alicante Announced as an Ocean Race Europe Stop

The Ocean Race Europe, a new event in offshore sailing, will include Alicante as one of four stopover cities. This European offshoot of the former Volvo Ocean Race will include the biggest change to the racing rules under the new title—fully crewed IMOCA 60s will join the ...read more

01-LEAD-doublehanded2

Preparing for a Doublehanded Race

A few months ago we took a look at the development and attraction of doublehanded racing (Two to Tango, June/July 2020). Hopefully, that served to whet your appetite. If so, the question becomes: “How do I get started? The good news, as we explained in Part 1, is that if you are ...read more

01-LEAD-Day-three---dolphins.-300-dpi

A Key Approach to Passagemaking

How you approach offshore sailing is key to the success of each passage. In addition, some of the most valuable, even crucial attitudes and skills may not be either learned or valued in everyday life on shore and may even fly in the face of talents that are greatly admired and ...read more

OceanVoyagesInstitute-2048

Point of SAIL: Mary Crowley of the Ocean Voyages Institute

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with Mary Crowley, founder and executive director of the Ocean Voyages Institute, a not-for-profit based in California that has been both educating sailors and working to preserve the health of the world’s ocean ...read more

01-Ocean-Voyages-Institute_PHOTO-READY_1_pg

Tracking and Catching Plastic Waste

Plastic waste—in the form of everything from plastic soda bottles to abandoned fishing nets—constitutes a major threat to the health of the world’s oceans. Giving the immense size of an ocean, though, actually finding all the plastic floating around out there in a time-efficient ...read more

Dreramcatcher -Cate Brown

Marblehead to Halifax Canceled; Alternative Races Planned

The Marblehead to Halifax race that was scheduled for this summer has been canceled due to continuing Covid concerns. Organizers at the Boston Yacht Club and Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron who co-sponsor the event have made the decision because of uncertainty about when the ...read more

SailGP-Team

SailGP Announces Roster and Coach Additions

Athletes Daniela Moroz, CJ Perez and Paul Campbell-James have been added to The United States’ SailGP lineup. Also joining the team will be head coach Philippe Presti. Moroz is a four-time Formula Kite World Champion and two-time U.S. Sailing Rolex Yachtswoman-of-the-Year. ...read more

NEW-westcoastmultihullsmob

Chartering the West Coast

Although two-thirds of the U.S. boating population lives along the Eastern Seaboard, there are many hardy and enthusiastic cruising sailors on the “left coast” as well. Better still, if you’re looking to charter on the Pacific side, there’s plenty of great sailing and many clubs ...read more