When these cruising sailors decided to move aboard and explore the world, they did so on multihulls. Here’s an inside look at what prompted them to make the choices they did and the adventures they’ve had along the way...
Kristian Beadle and Sabrina Littée
Port of Origin: Santa Barbara, CA
Boat: Trimar 42, Aldebaran
We’re currently fixing up our 42-foot trimaran, Aldebaran, so we can circumnavigate. We’ve owned her for five years and lived on her for a year and a half now, which we decided to do so we could focus on fixing the boat and saving money on rent.
We have a great community of friends who join us on trips to the Channel Islands, just off the shore of Santa Barbara, where we dive, surf, explore coves and see some of our favorite critters: elephant seals, bald eagles and island foxes.
Aldebaran lives on a mooring, so I take a skiff out to her. I love it, though, because every sunrise and sunset is wonderful. It’s freeing to take in the ocean view and be surrounded by dolphins, sea lions and birds. Of course, the challenge is to keep the bird poop off the deck! When we’re off the mooring, which happens regularly to keep us and Aldebaran in top shape, we explore areas with rough waters. We don’t like to roll around, which is why we decided on a trimaran. An unforeseen benefit of sailing a multihull is that when we get a slip, we always get end-ties, which also gives us the best views.
Our favorite place to sail is anywhere around Santa Cruz Island and to Cuyler Harbor on San Miguel Island. Most people sail there when it’s foggy and there are strong northwest winds, but we sail in the fall and winter on calm, sunny days. We’ll live aboard for at least another six years while Sabrina works as a travel nurse and I consult for three months a year to pay the bills. In that time, we’ll visit remote islands like Guadaloupe, Socorro, Cocos, the Galapagos and Easter Island and end with French Polynesia.
I’m excited for the future, but I cherish the memories we’ve had so far: swimming with humpback whales near Santa Rose Island, enjoying Thanksgiving at San Clemente Island and winning the 2013 Santa Barbara Parade of Lights, to name a few. Of course, we’ve learned to appreciate little things like cotter pins, hose clamps and fuel filters.
Perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that as captain, I should own up to my responsibility. If something breaks or doesn’t go according to plan, it’s not “the crew’s fault.” Rather, the system wasn’t good enough, communication was poor or our decisions were poor. Sometimes, it’s plain bad luck. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time on board so far, and even though I miss getting pizza delivered to my door, I now enjoy getting pizza delivered to the pier. Find out more about Kristian, Sabrina and Aldebaran at Aldebaran42.wordpress.com
Caroline and Bill Cole
Port of Origin: Portsmouth, UK
Boat: Fountaine Pajot Lavezzi 40, Juffa
“We’ve learned that plans exist so they can be altered”
We moved aboard between Christmas and New Years in 2010, welcomed by one of the coldest cold snaps on the southern coast, with snow and ice on deck. Cruising is both everything and nothing like how I imagined it to be. We’ve seen some beautiful places, and the people we meet and experiences we have constantly amaze us. Each day is different, each sunset new. Although life is simpler in some ways, living aboard is hard work. We never imagined that everyday tasks like grocery shopping could take all day, but sometimes they do.
We decided on a multihull for its light, stable platform. It’s comfortable and can accommodate friends, family and all the stuff ranging from pottery to pictures that we’ve accumulated but probably shouldn’t have due to lack of space. We’ve cruised the European coast, Morocco, Canary Islands, Aruba, Colombia, Panama, Galapagos, Marquesas, Tuamotus, Tahiti, Australia and plenty of other places. So far, the plan is to sail to Indonesia and
Malaysia. I loved the Marquesas, but my husband’s favorite place was New Caledonia.
Along the way, we’ve learned perseverance, how to make do, how to complete boat tasks in exotic locations, and that plans exist only so they can be altered. We’re glad we took the chance to live aboard. We’re prepared to not know everything, but have a go at anything. Although we do miss taking regular baths, we’ve remedied this with a small paddling pool on board that catches rainwater.
Follow the Coles on their blog: sailblogs.com/member/roaming2
“Our motto has been, ‘if we feel like doing, let’s do it,’ meaning we live day by day and trust our instincts”
Liesbet Collaert and Mark Kilty
Port of Origin: New Castle, Delaware
Boat: Fountaine Pajot Tobago 35, Irie
Though our point of origin is Delaware, we’ve never been there. Mark is originally from New England, and I’m from Belgium. We never owned a house together—we lived aboard a monohull for a short time (which our two Australian shepherds hated), then a camper in Central America, and then we traded it in for our catamaran, Irie, in 2007. We set sail from Annapolis, Maryland, sailed the ICW, the Bahamas, and continued on to Turks and Caicos. Soon after, we hit Puerto Rico, the BVIs and the Caribbean. For the next three years we sailed up and down the Eastern Caribbean to Grenada for hurricane seasons and island hopped along the way. In 2011, it was time for a change, so we sailed west to Venezuela, Colombia and Panama, where we spent a year in the San Blas islands. We’re currently in French Polynesia, and we plan on hitting Tonga and Fiji next.
At first, our decision to live aboard surprised our families, especially Mark’s. Sometimes, they still say they’d prefer if we settled somewhere so that they can visit us easily, but they respect our decision, and we visit family for a few weeks a year. Despite the original plan to live aboard for a year, we’ve lived on Irie for seven years. We think we’ll stop in about a year and a half, due to health reasons, but we don’t know for sure.
Our motto has been, “if we feel like doing, let’s do it,” meaning we tend to live day by day and trust our instincts on what feels right. Neither of us had stepped on a catamaran before we moved aboard, but we just went with it. Life on board is more challenging than most non-cruisers think. We’ve learned that patience is a virtue, that we can’t trust weather forecasts, and that the wildlife and scenery in the Pacific is spectacular. Sailing Irie has been wonderful. We cherish being comfortable both at anchor and sea, and being able to maneuver easily with two engines.
I also love living the minimalistic, non-materialistic lifestyle. Living aboard is glorified camping, but with more space. It doesn’t have to be that way, though, as there are plenty of different ways to cruise. Living on a cat requires some creativity, being somewhat agile and adventurous, and being interested in various cultures. For us, the best part of living aboard is seeing the wildlife. We’ve seen beautiful coral, swum with manta rays in Tahuata and snorkeled with sea turtles and sharks in French Polynesia. We can’t wait to see what our next adventure brings. Keep up with Liesbet and Mark’s adventures at itsirie.com.
“Every day, we still feel like the winners of the lottery, and to share this experience as a couple is great”
Tor Hungnes and Valentine Pellegrinelli
Port of Origin: Gravenhage, Netherlands
Boat: Leopard 47, Yum-Yum
We sail together on Yum-Yum, and Tor is the captain in English-speaking waters while I’m the skipper in French- and Spanish-speaking waters. Tor and I met in June 2010 in the Azores, where both of us were crewing on different sailboats crossing the north Atlantic. On this journey, both of us had sudden events occur separately: a volcano eruption delayed Tor’s trip, and my boat had to turn around after sailing 350 miles. We managed to bump into each other in the famous Peter’s Bar in Horta, on Faial. We started chatting and realized we shared the same dream of buying a boat and sailing the world. The next day, we traveled our separate ways and went back to our respective lives, but 10 months later, we bought Yum-Yum together.
At first, no one could understand how I could get rid of my beautiful house and garden, and leave my prosperous business, as well as my family, to live on a boat. But my close friends, knowing that I had dreamt about this for so long, were thrilled for me. We started in St. Martin where we bought Yum-Yum, then sailed up and down the Lesser Antilles for 18 months, from the Virgin Islands to Grenada. In October 2012, we sailed from Martinique to Colombia. We transited the Panama Canal in March 2013, visited Las Perlas and had a great time in the Galapagos. Twenty days on the ocean brought us to the Marquesas for four months. After that we checked out the Society Islands and are now back in Tahiti. Because November through April is hurricane season in the South Pacific, we’ll hide in the Marquesas, Gambiers or New Zealand. We’ll see where the winds push us.
Overall, living aboard is even better than I imagined it would be. Every day, we still feel like the winners of the lottery, and to share this experience as a couple is great. Prior to this, I had only sailed on rental sailboats several weeks every year, and was not prepared for the amount of work it is to keep up a boat! Luckily, Tor skillfully handles any technical trouble we encounter.
We love Yum-Yum and appreciate the luminosity and the 360-degree view in the galley. We were hoping to have a fast boat originally, but it turns out she’s a bit heavy. Nonetheless, we’ve lived on Yum-Yum for more than three years, and we’ll stay here as long as we’re happy to be aboard.
Allen and Patricia Valkie
Port of Origin: Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin
Boat: Leopard 40, Nauti-Nauti
We sail aboard Nauti-Nauti because we thought both hulls deserved a name and that they should reflect a bit of our character. We primarily sail alone, but we often have family and friends aboard, especially for longer trips to places like the Bahamas. We’ve done a few passages with buddy boats that share our schedule and destination.
We decided to move aboard a few years before retirement, purchased Nauti-Nauti in Fort Lauderdale and took off to live the dream. We’ve been sailing—in comfort, thanks to our two hulls—for seven years, but it feels like we just moved aboard yesterday. It’s true that time flies when you’re having fun. Most of our friends and family are excited for us, and they’ve traveled with us to exotic places. We’re currently in Bocas del Toro and have finished cruising the Caribbean, where we learned about and enjoyed the islands, people, cultures, sights and sounds. Our next stop is the Panama Canal to transit to the Pacific. But so far, our favorite stop has been the outback boonies and isolated islands of the Jumentos and Ragged Islands of the Bahamas.
Our current plan, written in the sand at low tide, is to live on Nauti-Nauti before passing her along to someone who will enjoy her as much as we do, or until someone drags us off. We’ve collected stories and plenty of lessons along the way. Once, we were motorsailing the ICW and our friend Pat fell off the bow just as we were passing an alligator. Things got exciting from there, but Pat’s alive and the gator is still hungry. We’ve learned that despite your best efforts, you’ll make mistakes and move on—things will always break, cost more and take longer to fix than planned. However, there are always workarounds. Most importantly, I’ve learned that my wife is fiercer than I thought, and I appreciate her more for it.
My advice to anyone thinking of moving aboard is to go now—add up what you think it’ll cost and double it—but know that you’ll do just fine. Take some classes at local sailing schools to ensure you have skills, like small engine repair, refrigeration and the like to maintain your boat. Find a boat that suits you. We love the room and stability Nauti-Nauti provides, as well as her shallow draft. Every day has brought about new adventures and lessons, but one thing we know for sure is that we don’t miss living on land. Allen and Patricia can be found at sailblogs.com/member/nautinauti.
“We miss home a little, but if I were home right now, I’d miss the cruising life even more”
Peter and Martina Maslen
Port of Origin: New Castle, Australia
Boat: Privilege 515, Havachat
I’m Capt. Pete Maslen, and I sail with my wife and first mate, Martina, and our kids, Ben, Kate, Jack and Lisa. We’ve sailed halfway around the world from Les Sables d’Olonne in France, where our Privilege 515 cat, Havachat—which means, “someone who likes to talk a lot”—was manufactured. We chose her because she’s sturdy, safe and reliable. We have four separate cabins with their own heads, so everyone has space, and I even have an office.
We’ve now sailed over 13,000 miles in 12 months. We cruised up and down the French Atlantic Coast before sailing into the Med and then to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. From there we sailed in the ARC Rally, which departed Las Palmas and finished in St. Lucia, and then cruised the Caribbean before heading to the San Blas Islands, which were fantastic. The native Kuna Indians are wonderful people. From there, we sailed for Colon to transit the Panama Canal. We hit the Galapagos and sailed to French Polynesia, which we reached in 16 days at an average speed of just under 8 knots. We had great southeast trade winds pushing us along. We’re currently in Tahiti and plan to sail along the Pacific islands to Fiji, after which we’ll head south to New Zealand. We’ll continue living aboard as long as we can! Living like this is addicting, and we’ve met some wonderful friends along the way.
I’ve always dreamt of sailing to various locations, and this has proven to be the perfect adventure. We’ve had some great passages. Since moving aboard, we can cook a little better than we used to, even in rough conditions. No one’s been food poisoned yet! Our most memorable experience so far was scuba diving in the Galapagos with the family. We also did a drift dive in Fakarava, where we saw about 300 reef sharks and many reef fish. It was spectacular.
If you plan to move aboard, get into it and do it. You can talk and think about living aboard all you want, but at some point, you’ve just got to get out and have a go. You’ll have a few hiccups here and there, but you’ll work it out. This has been a fantastic experience for my family. We miss home a little, but if I were home right now, I’d miss the cruising life even more. Follow Pete and Martina at havachatadventures.blogspot.com
MHS Fall 2014