MHS Summer 2018: Cat People

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Randy & Lennie Smith

Port of Origin: Delray Beach, Florida

Boat: Happy Together (Leopard 48)

We are all about the education and entertainment of this awesome watery lifestyle. This adventure began in July of 2015 aboard Happy Together and has taken us all around the Americas, from San Francisco to Colombia to the Caribbean. Currently Happy Together is in La Paz, Mexico. We will spend the summer cruising the Mexican coast and then head back to Panama to transit the canal to the Caribbean. Our favorite place is EVERYWHERE but our best trip would have to be the Baja Ha-Ha Rally; a family reunion in San Francisco Bay was the reason we headed up there in the first place. After having such a great experience with that rally, we’re planning to join the world ARC in 2020.

*Follow the Smiths at on their YouTube channel, Sailing SV Happy Together

Janice & David Rowland

Port of Origin: Palmetto, Florida

Boat: Livin’ Life (Dean Cat 441)

Dave and I have called Livin’ Life home for the past four years. Make no mistake, we were not sailors when Dave decided it was a good way to see the world. I thought it was a hair-brained idea that would fall by the wayside. But it didn’t. Dave has battled ulcerative colitis since he was 18 years old, sometimes becoming seriously ill. Therefore, he wanted to take a sabbatical and buy a boat sooner rather than later. I insisted we take some lessons first and we really enjoyed them. So, after trying out different boats by charter, we purchased our Dean Cat, a South African catamaran.

We made a pact to give cruising a full year before deciding whether or not we would continue. Our first-year plan was ambitious for beginners: leaving Tampa Bay in January to spend the hurricane season in Grenada. Three years of sailing lessons still didn’t prepare us for cruising and we had our share of screw-ups, scary moments and emotional breakdowns; however, by the time we arrived in St Maarten, our skills had improved and our confidence had grown.

St. Maarten was a definite turning point for us. We met so many wonderful cruisers that took us under their wings, introduced us around and invited us out on their excursions. Now we were in love. We didn’t need the full year to know we could not give this up any time soon. Four years later, we are looking to cross the Pacific!

*For more from Janice and David, visit

David & Sherry McCampbell

Port of Origin: Melbourne, Florida

Boat: Soggy Paws (St Francis 44 Mk II)

Sherry and I left Florida on a 1980 CSY 44 monohull in 2007, crossing the Caribbean and then cruising the Pacific over about 10 years. We had been monohull cruisers for 40 years, but by 2014 we were exploring a cat purchase for our improved cruising comfort and safety. After some thorough internet research and thoughtful discussion with nearby owners, we finally purchased our 2005 St Francis 44 cat in western Malaysia in 2015.

On our 2,000-mile shakedown trip back to Davao in the Philippines, we skirted the Jolo Archipelago pirate box with a military escort, survived a 50-knot “Sumatra” wind off Borneo and enjoyed some very comfortable and fast cruising. We’re hooked on catamarans now and would never go back to a monohull. We moved to the “enlightened side” partly because of improved comfort and internal space, reduced roll at sea and anchor, engine redundancy with doubled fuel efficiency, sail plan and anchoring advantages, increased speed, and floatability if holed.

*Find the rest of the McCampbells’ story (and the catamaran buying guide they’ve put together) on their website

David & Sarah Abbott

Port of Origin: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Boat: EXIT ONLY (Privilege 39)

EXIT ONLY has been a member of our family for 25 years. Over the course of the first circumnavigation she brought us safely through squalls, windless doldrums, effortless downwind runs, tsunamis, pristine remote anchorages, overcrowded tourist spots, pirate-infested waters and everything in between. She hosted journeys that shaped and strengthened the DNA of our family forever. This season we are testing new waters by adding two additional crewmembers (aged 4 and 7) to the mix as we cross the Pacific. It’s a totally fresh (albeit far more crowded!) dynamic with three generations on board. Best case: We gift the priceless perspective of global citizenship to a whole new generation. Worst case: We all go crazy. Either way, this is going to be very interesting.

*To keep up with David and his family of sailors, visit them at

Stewart Coates

Port of Origin: Cape Town, South Africa

Boat: Luckyfish (Wharram Tiki 38)

Crew: Zaya and Tuya Bukhchuluun

Our adventure began in South Africa where we bought Luckyfish, a James Wharram-designed Tiki 38 based on the Polynesian voyaging canoe concept. We love the boat’s simplicity and energy efficiency, performance and safety record—and she didn’t cost us the earth. After equipping her for long-distance sailing we made the 6,000-mile Atlantic crossing via Namibia, St. Helena and the Ascension Islands, arriving in Barbados without any gear breakages or drama—and we only burned 6 gallons of gas!

It was exactly 60 years after James Wharram’s pioneering trans-Atlantic in the tiny Tangaroa, also completed with two women as crew. My crew, Zaya and Tuya, also became the first recorded Mongolians to cross an ocean under sail. Their self-reliant, nomadic culture teaches problem-solving skills that translated to being resourceful and well equipped for the sailing lifestyle.

Since arrival in the Caribbean, we have cruised the Windward Islands and taken Luckyfish to Florida for the annual Wharram Hui, where we met many kindred spirits and made lifelong friends. We are currently exploring the Exumas before heading south again to cross the Pacific. It was the philosophy of James Wharram’s designs that drew us and many others to this style of craft. After four years of sailing and seeing how Luckyfish harmonizes with the sea, our respect for the design has done nothing but grow.

*To see more of Luckyfish’s adventure, visit their vlog at

Michelle & Matt Peacock

Port of Origin: Austin, Texas

Boat: Giro (Lagoon 420)

Crew: Zach (12), Austin (11), Bebo (dog), Flicka (dog), Ninja (cat)

We started dreaming about a life aboard about 10 years ago. Well, Matt started dreaming before that, but it took a little while for him to convince me (a person who gets severely motion-sick and remembers childhood sailing as nerve-wracking at best) that traveling around the world by boat was a good idea.

One year later, we purchased a four-cabin Lagoon 380. We got our certifications, sold the house and moved aboard. Matt continued to work remotely from the boat while we finished making repairs from a lightning strike. Two years later while on a trip to the Bahamas, we realized it was time to upgrade. We decided to sell OG (original Giro) and purchase the current Giro, a Lagoon 420.

In September 2016, we crossed the Gulf of Mexico. I was flat-out seasick/dead-to-the-world for the first 24 hours—as I’d feared from the beginning! But then I rebounded, and the rest of the trip was incredible. We caught tuna, raced dolphins and swam in the deep blue sea.

We stopped off at St. Petersburg and Sarasota and made it to Key West in time for the annual Christmas parade. But when we arrived in Marathon, we knew we’d found our tribe. Boot Key Harbor is truly a cruiser’s paradise—so many new friends, boat kids, and things to do for families living on boats. We thought we would stay for a weekend, and we stayed for three months! Snorkeling, beach days, homeschool field trips, turtle releases, dinghy tubing, fishing and many, many sundowners.

*To keep up with these adventures and more, follow the Peacocks at

Marce and Jack Schulz

Port of Origin: Annapolis, Md

Boat: Escape Velocity (Manta 40)

We met in mid-life and decided to buy a boat and sail around the world: an odd goal for two worker bees from land-locked Pittsburgh. We took a long detour down the rabbit hole of a project boat before coming to our senses, selling everything and finding a ready-to-go cat. We named our Manta Escape Velocity, an aerospace term meaning the speed a rocket needs to reach to escape Earth’s gravity. It’s an apt description of how hard it can be to unhitch from a comfortable land-based life and find your own orbit.

We expected to make a four or five-year circumnavigation, but six years in we’re not even halfway around. The Go-Slow Plan gives us time to learn something of a place, befriend the locals, wait for good weather and find the best ice cream. What started as an adventure has just become our life. The Japanese poet Basho put it this way: “Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”

*To follow Marce and Jack, visit

Susan Golden

& Tom Moisan

Port of Origin: Portland, Oregon

Boat: Julia (Fountaine Pajot Helia 44 Evolution)

Our goal? Sail around the world. In May of 2017, we set off on our first leg from Portland, Oregon, made a quick stop in San Francisco, then sailed on to Hilo, Hawaii—a 2,590-mile voyage.

It was a hideous 700-mile motorsail down the West Coast. We don’t recommend it if you’re looking for pleasure or comfort. 10-foot waves banged Julia’s hulls for hours as we crossed the Columbia River bar into the mighty Pacific. We headed 35 miles offshore, then turned south for more beating. Hilo-bound on autopilot and under sail, Julia leaped and groaned and surged ahead, hour after hour, day after day. The dog lost his appetite. Outside, the surround sound of the ocean’s roar unnerved me. We lunged into inky black. If ghosts existed they’d be there. It was an exercise in mind over matter.

The second week at sea we were finally in the trades and downwind. Suddenly, Mother Ocean welcomed us. Temperatures rose. Julia glided along at 7.5 knots in a warm consistent breeze. Our dog ate again. I hung laundry to stunning sunsets. Tom caught five mahi-mahis. Our sailing dream had finally begun.

For more from Susan and Tom and their sail around the world, visit or follow Julia Sails on Facebook.

MHS Summer 2018


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