Uncut: Adventure Called, They Answered - Soundings Online

Uncut: Adventure Called, They Answered

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Cruising Near Coron Island, Calamian Group, Philippines

We found a handful of people who had a dream, made a plan and headed for the horizon. Their stories are inspirational, largely because we can see ourselves in them — and because they did it.

We asked these world voyagers how they got started, how they prepped, what they’ve learned and how it’s changed them. We didn’t have room to share everything in the print article, but to follow are all the questions we asked these world adventurers. They make for good reading. Whether they inspire you to dream or create a plan is up to you.

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John Brice

North Pacific 49 Restless

Currently lying in Singapore

LOA: 51 feet, 6 inches

BEAM: 15 feet, 4 inches

POWER: single 305-hp Cummins diesel

SPEED: 7 knots cruise

RANGE: 1,900 nautical miles at 7 knots

TANKAGE: 920 gallons fuel,350 gallons water, 65 gallons waste

CONTACT: North Pacific Yachts, Vancouver, British Columbia, (877) 564-9989. northpacifcicyachts.com

1. What was your introduction to boating, and what is your boating history?

I started boating 35 years ago when I bought an 18-foot bowrider. We enjoyed this with my wife and son but quickly grew out of it and moved up from there.

2. How did you get into long-distance passage making?

While our kids were growing up we would go boating during summer break. We cruised extensively from Vancouver, British Columbia, to the Alaskan border. This gave me the confidence to cruise in other areas of the world.

3. What was the first voyage where you pushed the limits, distance-wise?

We eventually took our North Pacific 49 Pilothouse to Hong Kong and ended up in Manila, Philippines. This was a four-day crossing and from here we ventured out farther and farther.

4. What was your scariest moment at sea?

Going from Miri, Malaysia, to Kuching, Malaysia. We had waited almost four weeks for a good forecast, because there is virtually no shelter along this coastline. Within about eight hours of setting out, we encountered an unexpected storm with 40-knot sustained winds, 50-plus knot gusts and blinding rain, non-stop for over 30 hours. The waves were huge, and my crew was sick, so I had to stay awake at the helm the whole time. Because of the high head winds, we were only make four knots burning 6.6 gallons per hour, while we normally go 6 knots and burn 1.6 gallons per hour. We eventually detoured 50 nautical miles out of our way to find shelter in a commercial port as I simply could not keep going.

5. What can you tell us about your best cruising moment.

This is tough, because there have been many. When we were cruising in the Pacific Northwest, near the Broughton Archipelago, we saw a large pod of around 50 killer whales. They were heading our way, so we stopped the boat and turned off the engine. We watched for several minutes as they made their way toward us. One large male headed directly for the boat. He surfaced for air about 30 feet from our port side and went right under the swim platform where we were standing. As he did, he rolled and looked right at us. It was amazing making direct eye contact with this huge whale a few feet under our boat. It felt as if it was in slow motion and is an incredible experience I will never forget.

6. What is the favorite spot you've cruised to so far?

Aside from the Pacific Norhtwest, we enjoyed Koh Rok Nok in the Andaman Sea, Thailand. Unlike most places in this area there was no one there, beautiful beaches and perfect weather. We planned to stay one day but ended up staying several.

7. Can you tell us what the GPS coordinates (alternatively a location) of your boat now?

Singapore

8. What are come challenges of long-distance passagemaking?

In the United States and Canada we are used to having great boating infrastructure. In Indonesia, we found none of this, and getting fuel became a problem. There were many instances where we had to find locals who were willing to bring jerry cans and barrels of diesel out to the boat on smaller boats. Aside from this, you need to be self-sufficient with lots of spare parts.

9. Which of your seamanship skills have improved the most?

Night cruising. In the Pacific Northwest we had no need or desire to cruise at night. There have been many times in Asia when we needed to cruise nights or even several nights in a row. In remote areas we needed to be concerned with debris in the water and small fishing boats. In other areas the shipping traffic is very busy, and this took some getting used to.

10. How has long-distance cruising changed your outlook on life?

I have a more can-do attitude and am ready for more adventure.

11. What type of modifications/special gear/systems/equipment did you have to install on your boat to make it ready for this type of voyaging?

We have several redundant systems such as dual water pumps, dual macerators, two water makers etc. We installed a get-home drive; something we never considered in the US/Canada. Lots of spare parts and good fuel filters.

12. What are your future cruising plans?

We are planning to cruise the east coast of Myanmar and then we aren’t sure. We have several ideas including cruising to Australia or shipping the boat to the Mediterranean.

13. What advice would you give to anyone who's considering doing what you've done?

Read all you can online and talk to people who have done extensive cruising. We have met and spoken to some amazing people. People who have cruised the whole world, sometimes more than once, on smaller boats with limited equipment.

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Bob and Margaret Jack

Diesel Duck 462 Highland Duck

Currently lying in Valetta, Malta

LOA: 48 feet, 5 inches

BEAM: 14 feet, 10 inches

POWER: single 150-hp John Deere 4045TFM diesel

SPEED: 6.5 knots cruise

RANGE: 6,825 nautical miles at 6.5 knots

TANKAGE: 2,000 gallons fuel, 250 gallons water, 40 gallons waste

CONTACT: Seahorse Marine, Zhuhai, China, +86 (756) 550-1060. seahorseyachts.com

1. What was your introduction to boating, and what is your boating history?

We got started in boating with a 20-foot cabin cruiser on Lake Kariba, Zambia.

2. How did you get into long-distance passage making?

We left the Diesel Duck yard in China and headed to the Philippines, which took us six days. We knew we wanted to cruise all the way to Scotland, so it was inevitable that long passages would be ahead of us.

3. What was the first voyage where you pushed the limits, distance-wise?

A 10-day voyage from Thailand to India

4. What was your scariest moment at sea?

Our scariest moments are often in marinas, but ours was in the Gulf of Minyar between Sri Lanka and India. We cruised for 10 days with two days of very high winds and high seas on the beam.

5. What can you tell us about your best cruising moment?

We loved the Philippines, with its beautiful clear water, coral reefs, fish, desert islands and friendly people.

6. What is the favorite spot you've cruised to so far?

Port Barton in the Philippines.

7. Can you tell us what the GPS coordinates (alternatively a location) of your boat now?

Highland Duck is on the hard at Manoel Island Yacht Yard in Valetta, Malta.

8. What are some challenges of long-distance passagemaking?

One challenge is having physical and mental health to accomplish any task come hell or high water. Your boat must be in tip-top condition with all preventative maintenance complete.

9. Which of your seamanship skills have improved the most?

Our route planning is our most improved skill. Planning a voyage is one of the most important aspects of passagemaking followed closely by preparation. We had to learn all of these skills from scratch since we had no previous passagemaking experience.

10. How has long-distance cruising changed your outlook on life?

Bob’s outlook on life has always been very positive having lived and worked in a few overseas countries before emigrating to Australia, so travelling is in our blood. Cruising from the factory in China all the way to Malta on Highland Duck’s own bottom showed us that dreams can come true and that we could meet lovely people on the way and see the world while keeping in good health.

11. What type of modifications/special gear/systems/equipment did you have to install on your boat to make it ready for this type of voyaging?

Diesel ducks are designed for long-distance cruising, but the following list includes gear we would call essential for long distance passage making: Long-range fuel capacity, dual autopilot, reliable watermaker with plenty of water storage, two good fridges and a large freezer, offshore-capable safety gear and liferaft, an EPIRB with GPS, satellite phone and internet connectivity for retrieving weather data.

12. What are your future cruising plans?

We’re planning a 2018 passage from Malta to Scotland. We’ll likely make a number of four-to five-day passages to get there.

13. What advice would you give to anyone who's considering doing what you've done?

You must select the correct boat for what you want to do. Having an engineering background is a huge help, but training courses can fill in this part of the equation. It’s also essential to have good physical and mental health and if cruising with partner/wife/girlfriend, your relationship must be strong.

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Chris and Sandra Tretick

Diesel Duck 462 Moken

Currently lying Subic Bay, Philippines

LOA: 48 feet, 5 inches

BEAM: 14 feet, 10 inches

POWER: single 150-hp John Deere 4045TFM diesel

SPEED: 6.5 knots cruise

RANGE: 6,825 nautical miles at 6.5 knots

TANKAGE: 2,000 gallons fuel, 250 gallons water, 40 gallons waste

CONTACT: Seahorse Marine, Zhuhai, China, +86 (756) 550-1060. seahorseyachts.com

1. What was your introduction to boating, and what is your boating history?

We both grew up on the West Coast of British Columbia, Canada, and we’re avid divers, so we’ve been in and around boats our whole lives. Before buying this boat, our biggest was a 26-foot Glen-L Hercules trawler, and we’ve also owned small runabouts and an aluminum landing craft. We volunteered with the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (now Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue), which gave us great training, on-the-water experience and simulator time related to boat handling, seamanship, search and rescue, and first aid.

2. How did you get into long-distance passage making?

This is still a work in progress for us. Since we purchased Moken, we’ve been cruising in the Philippines, learning as much as we can about all of her systems and getting her (and ourselves) ready for longer crossings and passages.

3. What was the first voyage where you pushed the limits, distance-wise?

Pushing the limits isn’t really our style. One of the nice things about cruising in Southeast Asia is that we can day-hop our way from place to place for the most part. Granted, sometimes we weigh anchor at 3 a.m. so we can arrive at our next anchorage with plenty of daylight to spare.

4. What was your scariest moment at sea?

One dark and seemingly calm night, while we were hand steering on an overnight crossing in the Philippines, we were clobbered by a rogue wave. In the weak moonlight, we could just barely see a wall of white water approaching on our port beam, but there was no time to react before it plowed into us. The anticipation was much scarier than the actual impact and our Diesel Duck didn’t miss a beat. The only casualty was our life ring, which was blasted out of its bracket.

5. What can you tell us about your best cruising moment?

It’s always a highlight when the seas are calm, Moken is humming along, and a huge pod of dolphins comes to visit and play in our bow wake, a juvenile blue-footed booby makes a string of passes overhead with one eye tracking us or a fisherman or a group of local children paddle up to say hello when we’re at anchor.

For our cat, Nukaat, it was the night at anchor when we were visited by a swarm of flying ants, followed closely by a flight of small swallows. Nukaat dashed up and down the deck not sure of which ones to chase first.

6. What is the favorite spot you've cruised to so far?

We are in love with the Calamian Group of islands in the Philippines. Navigating this area can be a challenge, because the charts aren’t terribly accurate and there are pearl farms everywhere, but the waters are protected and the islands, beaches, diving and people are incredible. In a way, it reminds us a lot of cruising in British Columbia’s Gulf Islands.

7. Can you tell us what the GPS coordinates (alternatively a location) of your boat now?

We’re currently berthed at the Subic Bay Yacht Club in the Philippines as we finish projects on Moken and provision for departure.

8. What are some challenges of long-distance passage making?

For us, the combination of wind and swell has been the big issue. The Northeast Monsoon winds in the Philippines can be relentless and many passages in the areas we like to cruise are exposed to swell coming from the West or Northwest, making for some messy seas and uncomfortable crossings. Waiting for better conditions usually means we have to deal with wet dinghy rides to shore, bumpy anchorages and tedium.

9. Which of your seamanship skills have improved the most?

All of our seamanship skills have improved over the last five years, but we are now much better at docking, grabbing moorings and anchoring. Docking a heavy steel boat with a full keel and a single engine can be challenging and stressful if the wind isn’t cooperating. We try to practice docking without relying on the bow thruster just in case it doesn’t work one day when we really need it. We have a large triple hook on a length of line that makes it fairly straightforward to grab moorings. As for anchoring, we really love our Rocna. We have 450 feet of chain and add a mooring pendant once our anchor is set to take the stress off our windlass and stop the noise at the bow roller as the chain moves around. We still have more to learn about sail handling.

10. How has long-distance cruising changed your outlook on life?

We’ve always loved to travel and dive, and we like to experience new places, cultures, foods and activities and meet new people. Cruising seemed like the perfect solution for us to do it all. But there are times when familiar is good and feeling grounded is important. Finding a balance between these two extremes has taken us some time, but we think we’ve finally got it figured. When we first moved onto Moken we had a five-year plan for cruising. Now, five years later, we’ve modified our plan, so we can spend part of each year back home in British Columbia and part of each year cruising in Southeast Asia. The only thing we’re missing is a boat to use in the Gulf Islands in the summers.

11. What type of modifications/special gear/systems/equipment did you have to install on your boat to make it ready for this type of voyaging?

When we bought our Diesel Duck, it came with a lot of necessary equipment for offshore passagemaking already in place, from the Northern Lights generator and the Village Marine watermaker, to the iCOM IC-M802 HF marine transceiver. Most of our modifications since then have addressed three main areas: increasing power generation, reducing power usage and building in redundancy.

We added four solar panels that generate 800 watts with an Outback controller and an Eclectic Energy D-400 wind generator. We’ve swapped halogen lights to LED and switched out an AC refrigerator with two Isotherm DC fridges. We added a second depth sounder and VHF radio, upgraded our two Victron inverters and have multiple navigation charts and plotters to choose from. Other changes have focused on security, safety, comfort, ease of use and diving.

We installed a Viking RescYou self-righting life raft, a FLIR infrared and thermal camera to make night passages safer, an alarm and light system to deter boardings, a man overboard pole with strobe, and halogen fire extinguishers. We replaced our tender with a Bullfrog utility tender, and added a dive compressor and a dive hookah system to make for easier hull cleaning. We also had custom shade cloths made for the fore and aft decks and the cockpit area to provide relief from the harsh tropical sun, added a Reverso Oil Change System to make oil changes a breeze and purchased two sit-on top kayaks for exercise and exploration.

Here in the Philippines, we found an excellent stainless fabricator, so we’ve also indulged our stainless-steel fantasies and had them make a wide range of stuff for us, including kayak racks, ladders, fittings, brackets, shelves, davits, a rope reel and the frame for our new hardtop Bimini that supports our solar panels.

12. What are your future cruising plans?

In February, we will start to make our way south from Subic Bay en route to Miri in Malaysian Borneo, arriving by June. After spending summer in Canada, we plan to head over to Peninsular Malaysia, including Johor Baru, Penang and Langkawi and on into Thailand. Indonesia is in our longer-term plans. After that, who knows?

Having a cat on board means we have to forego some places we’d like to see. Some countries, like Australia and New Zealand, have very strict quarantine rules around pets. We’ve been fortunate in the Philippines to have an excellent cat sitter available to us, so we have been able to indulge in several land-based trips in the region.

13. What advice would you give to anyone who's considering doing what you've done?

Do your research. Check out lots of boats. Walk the docks at marinas to look at how different boats are set up for cruising. Read lots. Join groups like Bluewater Cruising Association and Seven Seas Cruising Association. Go to boat shows and events like TrawlerFest. Take some courses. Check out some of the many Facebook groups dedicated to sailing and cruising in the regions you plan to go. Ask lots of questions.

Once you find the boat you want, live on it for a while before you start modifying everything. Take the time to learn all the systems and how to maintain everything yourself, because finding qualified technicians outside of major ports is difficult at best. Chris’ experience as an aviation maintenance engineer is a big plus.

We chose a Diesel Duck because we love trawler-style passagemakers, like the functional design and layout (especially the large engine room) and appreciate the ruggedness of a steel hull and get home sails.

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Chris and Carolyn Groobey

FPB 64 Toccata

Currently lying in Gaeta, Italy

LOA: 64 feet, 11 inches

BEAM: 17 feet, 9 inches

POWER: single 236-hp John Deere 6068TFM diesel

SPEED: 9 knots cruise

RANGE: 6,400 nautical miles at 9 knots

TANKAGE: 3,400 gallons fuel, 1,800 gallons water,

CONTACT: SetSail FPB, info@setsail.com

1. What was your introduction to boating, and what is your boating history?

Our first date was the 1993 Annapolis Sailboat Show. Chris was already sailing but Carolyn was new to it. We owned a series of race boats and sailed together for 20 years, including big travel regattas and offshore races. We had never cruised until recently, but it was a dream of ours from the beginning.

2. How did you get into long-distance passage making?

Before we bought the FPB, we spent three years building a Gunboat 55 sailing catamaran. The goal at the time was to have a boat that we could both race and cruise. But that boat turned out to be a disappointment and we also decided that we wanted to do more adventuring and long-distance travel and less racing. That led us to sell the Gunboat and buy the FPB. We bought the FPB in Seattle in the summer 2015. Since then, we have been around Vancouver Island, down the West coast of the US, Mexico and Central America, through the Panama Canal, up to Nova Scotia, back down to the Caribbean, across the Atlantic and now in the Med.

3. What was the first voyage where you pushed the limits, distance-wise?

Our crossing from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Horta in the Azores in June 2017. It took us 10 days. While the distance was long, we had two great friends with us and the trip was exactly as we hoped: uneventful.

4. What was your scariest moment at sea?

In January 2017 we crossed from Annapolis, Maryland, to Bermuda. Conditions were rough on arrival and we had significant following winds and waves for the final approach into St. Georges Harbor. We had arrived there a few times before on sailboats but in better conditions, and this time we needed to keep up our speed to maintain steering control. Town Cut seemed especially narrow that day, but we made it in safely and shortly thereafter calmed our nerves with celebratory Dark and Stormies at the White Horse Pub.

5. What can you tell us about your best cruising moment?

Each night we share a kiss at sunset on the boat. It's a sappy answer but we spent a great deal of time apart during our first twenty years of marriage, and the last three years of spending 24/7 together has been wonderful.

6. What is the favorite spot you've cruised to so far?

This is a tough question. We've loved so many of the places we've been for different reasons. But if we had to choose, for us the Mediterranean has been the perfect combination of beautiful scenery, rich history, good food and friendly people.

7. Can you tell us what the GPS coordinates (alternatively a location) of your boat now?

The boat is currently enjoying a well-deserved winter break and some "spa treatments" at Base Nautica Flavio Gioia in Gaeta, Italy. It’s a great boatyard in a wonderfully un-touristy town between Rome and Naples.

8. What are some challenges of long-distance passage making?

One of the challenges is being away from family and friends for extended periods. We consider our two Labradors family and wanted to cruise with them. So, it sounds silly but we spend an inordinate amount of time making travel arrangements for them, sourcing good food and building itineraries around their requirements. But it's completely worth it. We make so many friends because of the dogs.

9. Which of your seamanship skills have improved the most?

For Chris it's maintenance and repair of the boat. It's a steep learning curve but very satisfying. For Carolyn it's route planning, weather and navigation.

10. How has long-distance cruising changed your outlook on life?

We have become even more pessimistic about the current state and future of the natural world and count ourselves lucky to be able to see what is left now, before it gets even worse. But on the bright side, we have made many new friends in our travels and they and their experiences and teachings will positively impact the next stages of our lives.

11. What type of modifications/special gear/systems/equipment did you have to install on your boat to make it ready for this type of voyaging?

We were very fortunate to be the first people to purchase a used FPB 64. Our boat had already been cruised more than 20,000 miles by very experienced and capable owners. So, between the exceptional original design and build partnership between Steve Dashew and Circa Marine, and the fine-tuning and outfitting by the original owners, we purchased a truly turn-key boat that was ready to go voyaging immediately.

12. What are your future cruising plans?

We will return to the boat this spring, cruise Greece and Croatia for the early part of the season, and then likely head to the British Isles. Eventually we hope to cruise the Baltics and then return to North America via the northern route across the Atlantic.

13. What advice would you give to anyone who's considering doing what you've done?

We are in our mid-50s and are not retired, just taking a sabbatical to reconnect with each other, pursue some shared dreams and figure out what we want to do next professionally. Why shouldn't adults have "gap years," too? It's frightening to walk away from careers and paychecks when you are not "done" earning money, but it will be worth it, and the world is changing enough that you need to see it now. Have confidence that you will be just fine when you return to professional life in whatever form.

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Richard Bost

Kadey-Krogen 42 Dauntless

Currently lying in Marina Chahue, Huatulco, Mexico

LOA: 42 feet, 4 inches

BEAM: 15 feet

POWER: single 135-hp Lehman diesel

SPEED: 7 knots cruise

RANGE: 3,200 nautical miles at 7 knots

TANKAGE: 700 gallons fuel, 360 gallons water, 40 gallons waste

CONTACT: Kadey-Krogen Yachts, Stuart, Florida, (800) 247-1230. kadeykrogen.com

1. What was your introduction to boating, and what is your boating history?

Books. I was always fascinated with sea and boat stories. Growing up across the street from the Hudson River piers in New York City, New York, where ships of all sizes came day and night from all over the world, I had a natural fascination with the ocean.

Five years before the purchase of my first and only boat, Dauntless, a 1988 42-foot Kadey-Krogen, knowing little about actual boating, I read everything I could about boating and traveling across oceans in both large and small boats. About a year before the 2013 purchase, I joined the USCG Auxiliary, figuring I should learn the basics.

2. How did you get into long-distance passagemaking?

The initial goal was simply to have a boat that a couple could live on in Europe. The more I read about the exploits of others in small boats going all sorts of places and crossing oceans, I realized not only that I could do that, but that I was always into the trip as much as the destination. In the previous 12 years my wife and I had already taken three cross-country car trips of two months each. We’d taken a wintertime car trip driving around Alaska. We loved traveling.

Because my wife had only three weeks’ vacation in the summer, the original plan was for her to meet Dauntless in Europe after arrival, but my prospective crew fell though just weeks before our planned departure. Julie decided she wanted to do the Atlantic and she did from Rhode Island to the Azores. She loved it. Her first words upon her first steps on land after three weeks were “I could do another three weeks!” A couple years before Dauntless, we spent a week in Scotland and the Outer Hebrides with my Dutch sailing friends on their sailboat. That trip made us realize we loved the ocean and hated sailboats (too dark, like living in cave, too uncomfortable while underway).

3. What was the first voyage where you pushed the limits, distance-wise?

Our first summer cruising to New England, Maine and Nova Scotia. The crossing from Maine to Nova Scotia was our longest, at that point.

4. What was your scariest moment at sea?

I’m never scared. Confused, stressed, annoyed, miserable is more like it. Pretty much every 30 days I’ll experience one or many of those feelings, usually at night, often alone.

5. What can you tell us about your best cruising moment?

I’ve travelled almost 20,000 miles in the last 5 years. Ninety percent of the time comes under the “best” category. One percent is the worst. Nine percent is, “I’m tired, bored,” or, “Are we there yet?”

6. What is the favorite spot you've cruised to so far?

Northern Europe, the Baltic and North seas, Atlantic France and Galicia in northwest Spain. No doubt about it. It’s a seagoing culture in every way along the coasts of the Atlantic and the North and Baltic Seas. The people are wonderful and so receptive to any boaters. They are truly people of the sea. I will go back.

7. Can you tell us what the GPS coordinates (alternatively a location) of your boat now?

Marina Chahue, Huatulco, Mexico

8. What are come challenges of long-distance passage making?

Boredom. Planning and reparation gives you the confidence to be at sea for three weeks going 24/7. Knowing your boat can handle anything Neptune sends at you. Understanding the systems on the boat and how they relate to each other.

9. Which of your seamanship skills have improved the most?

Better understanding my limitations. I’ve spent too much time in head seas, going nowhere slowly in truly miserable conditions.

10. How has long-distance cruising changed your outlook on life?

After my first Atlantic passage, from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to Ireland, my perspective was reset. Almost everything that bothered me before, became minor after. The mantra became, “Oh well, at least it didn’t happen in the middle of the Atlantic.”

11. What type of modifications/special gear/systems/equipment did you have to install on your boat to make it ready for this type of voyaging?

Five years of reading brought me to the right boat, the Kadey-Krogen 42. I think only the Kadey-Krogen 48 would have been better, if I had the money. What makes the Kadey-Krogen so right is that it was designed and built for this kind of use.

The bow rise on the Kadey Krogen makes her look dated, but this boat, with all the trials and tribulations I have put her through, has never had any green water over the cap rail. The half-inch Lexan storm windows I installed before leaving Rhode Island have never been needed. They were great in the northern European winters, however, almost totally reducing condensation in the boat.

Twice in the last four years I have found myself and Dauntless dead in the water in seas that were between 12 to 20 feet with 30-plus knot winds. Each time, for 20 to 30 minutes, I discovered that Dauntless would roll much less when not underway, but instead would bob up and down like a cork on the ocean.

Simplicity is more important than redundancy when crossing oceans because you must have the confidence to be able to fix any problems or breakdowns.

Required additions:

· Paravane stabilizers

· Katadyn Water maker

· AIS transceiver

· Rivere 4P Off-Shore Commander four-person life raft,

· Jeppesen C-Map charts of the Atlantic, North America, Atlantic Europe,

· Fuel polishing system

· Half-inch Lexan storm windows over all glass, except for aft deck windows

· A ton (literally) of spare parts

Required and already on the boat:

· ComNav autopilot. It does particularly well in large following seas

· Radar with adjustable gain, filters and alarm

Nice to have:

· Dedicated boat computer running Coastal Explorer and C-Map charts on two Samsung 24-inch LCD monitors

· Auxillaey electric fuel pump (used for priming and could be used in emergency)

· Coast Guard master’s license. I’ve never needed it, but in Europe, they expect some kind of license. But it also made you learn the international COLREGs. That’s critical to know.

12. What are your future cruising plans?

2018 – Cruising north along the west coast of North America

2019-2020 – British Columbia and Southeast Alaska

2021 – Crossing the North Pacific to Japan and South Korea via the Aleutians

2022 – Taiwan, Korea and Japan

2023-2024 Return to Northern Europe

2025–Baltic Cruise II

13. What advice would you give to anyone who's considering doing what you've done?

· Have confidence in your boat. Getting a well-found boat that has been maintained well is paramount.

· Have confidence in your own skills. At least believing you can find a fix for almost everything.

· Understand climatology. Forget weather forecasts. Think about the worst conditions you can expect for that route and that time of year.

· Plan for the worst; hope for the best.

· Have a way to pass the time. If you don’t, you will worry yourself to death.

· Having common sense goes part and parcel with understanding your boat systems. For example, never feed from both fuel tanks at the same time, so you can always isolate potential problems.

· Crew. No crew is better than bad crew. You as the skipper need to be sure that if your watch stander is even a bit confused about anything, they will get you up. More accidents happen when the crew did not inform the skipper than when the skipper was solo.

· Don’t chase the weather. Once you’re underway, it is what it is. Your boat is traveling about 150 miles/24 hours. A low-pressure system moves at 500 miles/day. You are not out-running it and the forecast is not enough to guide you around it (because you are simply too slow).

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John and Paulette Lee

Kadey-Krogen 5816 Seamantha

Currently lying in Chaguaramas, Trinidad

LOA: 63 feet, 3 inches

BEAM: 18 feet, 10 inches

POWER: twin 158-hp John Deere diesels

SPEED: 7 knots cruise

RANGE: 3,840 nautical miles at 7 knots (single engine)

TANKAGE: 1,760 gallons fuel, 400 gallons water,

CONTACT: Kadey-Krogen Yachts, Stuart, Florida, (800) 247-1230. kadeykrogen.com

1. What was your introduction to boating, and what is your boating history?

Our intro to boating came from our fathers. Years later, we did some sailing and powerboat charters in Greece, the BVI's and the Pacific Northwest while searching for our first trawler, a Nordic Tug 42. Three years later, we bought our current boat, a Kadey-Krogen 58. Along the way, we took any classes we could find from the American Sailing Association, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Power Squadron, PassageMaker University, boat shows and even some private classes from professional captains.

2. How did you get into long-distance passagemaking?

Initially, we cruised up and down the Intracoastal Waterway. When we felt we were ready, we began doing short offshore runs. As confidence in our boat and abilities increased, we began doing longer offshore runs. Now, long offshore passages are second nature to us.

3. What was the first voyage where you pushed the limits, distance-wise?

One year we planned to do a 900-nautical-mile voyage from Stuart, Florida, to Jersey City, New Jersey. As this was to be our first extended offshore experience, we brought along two professional captains to help us. It was an invaluable experience while we made our way up the east coast, at times taking us as far as 100 miles offshore.

4. What was your scariest moment at sea?

We try not to have any by planning ahead and watching the weather carefully. That being said, Mother Nature isn’t always predictable. On that first long passage from Florida to New Jersey, there was a large band of thunderstorms stretching across the entire East Coast. As we headed up the coast of New Jersey, the storm decided to head offshore (not what was predicted.) The sun had just set and there was no moon. It was scary because you could not see from where and when the next wave would hit you. Managing the helm was difficult, but we got through it with the guidance of the professional captains onboard. Having gone through it once, the next time we hit rough seas was not as bad.

5. What can you tell us about your best cruising moment?

There are so many! Motoring on a beautiful day with calm seas and birds catching our draft with flying fish skimming across the water, dolphin dancing on our bow, or a whale spouting in the distance. Those are the moments that we love best.

6. What is the favorite spot you've cruised to so far?

That’s a difficult question to answer. We loved heading up the Chambly Canal to Montreal and Quebec. Maine was a favorite. In the Caribbean, the lesser-known islands of Les Saintes, Marie Galante and Tobago enamored us with their quaintness and charm. We love the French island of Martinique for the beautiful landscapes, hiking and good food. The less-developed islands of the Dominican Republic and Dominica taught that less is more and demonstrated the unity of “a village.” Each place has its own charm, and we have something good to say about almost every stop we’ve made over the years.

7. Can you tell us what the GPS coordinates (alternatively a location) of your boat now?

We are currently in Chaguaramas, Trinidad. We came down to enjoy the Carnival celebrations, food and to explore this lovely, welcoming island.

8. What are come challenges of long-distance passagemaking?

Getting enough rest when the seas are a bit rough, overcoming sea sickness, remaining sharp and alert when you have reached your destination and have to “get into action” to anchor, pick up a mooring ball or tie up at a marina.

9. Which of your seamanship skills have improved the most?

Confidence in our boat and ourselves. It is the fear of the unknown that is unnerving. The more you do, the more you experience and the more you learn what you, your spouse and your boat can handle, the easier it becomes to handle new challenges.

10. How has long-distance cruising changed your outlook on life?

By going farther, we have been able to experience different cultures, languages, flora/fauna, local foods and geology and topography. We have been touring, hiking and snorkeling every chance we get. We even learned to dive. This has all been very stimulating, both mentally and physically. We've enjoyed befriending and being befriended by locals as well as cruisers from all over the world and have been presented with opportunities to “give back” to some of the communities we have visited.

11. What type of modifications/special gear/systems/equipment did you have to install on your boat to make it ready for this type of voyaging?

With this type of voyaging you need to be as self-sufficient as possible. Besides the obvious safety equipment, we added solar panels, wind turbines, flopper stoppers, an electrical system that can handle foreign power sources, heavy duty bow lines for Med-mooring, security system and cameras, duplicates and triplicates of spare parts and about every tool you could possibly need.

12. What are your future cruising plans?

We hope to head west to the ABC’s, Colombia and Panama and perhaps after that, work our way back to Florida and prepare to “cross the pond.”

13. What advice would you give to anyone who's considering doing what you've done?

The short answer: Just do it! Be properly prepared and always be mindful of the weather.

The long answer: Prepare yourself mentally, knowing that your life will be “different.” Life will be simpler. Know that you will not be the first people doing this. Educate yourself. Understand your equipment. Know how to spot a problem or a potential problem. Then, get off the dock. Take baby steps to build your personal confidence, confidence in your spouse and confidence in your boat. Don’t force yourself into situations you are not ready for, but keep pushing yourself a little at a time when you think you are ready. Boat with a buddy-boat.

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Ron and Nancy Goldberg

Nordhavn 50 Duet

Currently lying in Tahiti, French Polynesia

LOA: 51 feet, 2 inches

BEAM: 16 feet

POWER: single 300-hp Lugger L-6108A diesel

SPEED: 8 knots cruise

RANGE: 2,800 nautical miles @ 8 knots

TANKAGE: 1,320 gallons fuel, 260 gallons water, 50 gallons waste

CONTACT: Pacific Asian Enterprises, Dana point, California, (949) 496-4848. nordhavn.com

1. What was your introduction to boating, and what is your boating history? What sort of boats have you owned?

We started with sailboats in 1993. We chartered in the British Virgin Islands, Grenada and Guadalupe. In 1996 we fell in love with a Nordhavn 46. A wise salesman told us to buy a smaller trawler first, so we bought a Monk 36 and cruised her on the Chesapeake Bay. She was a great boat, easy to handle, tough enough for the trouble we got her into and comfortable.

In 2000 we bought a 1996 Nordhavn 46 and named her Duet. We cruised the Chesapeake Bay for a year, then Nancy retired, and Ron went part time. We sold our house and moved aboard. We spent winters in the Bahamas, and summers in the Chesapeake. We traveled about 10,000 miles over the next six years. In 2007 we sold the boat and moved to Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

After five years we realized we really missed cruising, so we bought our current boat, a Nordhavn 50 also named Duet. We split our time between home and the boat. Since we purchased Duet in 2012, we have traveled about 13,000 miles from Seattle, Washington, north through British Columbia to Alaska, and then south to Mexico and across the Pacific to French Polynesia, where Duet is today.

2. How did you get into long-distance passage making? What was the inspiration behind your decision?

We started on our Nordhavn 46 with the idea of crossing the Atlantic one day. We're not sure there really was an inspiration; it was more an idea that formed over several years after meeting folks who had traveled far and wide. We never did cross the Atlantic though, something always seemed to get in the way.

When we bought our second Nordhavn, we really wanted to cross an ocean. We felt that we would regret it if we didn't do it and, since we weren't getting any younger, we figured we'd better go soon. We decided on the Pacific, as the destinations along the way appealed to us.

3. What was the first voyage where you pushed the limits, distance-wise?

We have done dozens of 24-to 72-hour coastal runs. Our first “long” voyage was from La Paz, Mexico, to Ensenada, Mexico, in early 2016. That journey was just over 100 hours, or about four days and 600 miles. It was uphill into wind and sea — slow and bumpy.

This trip was a test for our planned 2,700-mile leg from Mexico to French Polynesia. We figured if we could handle four to five days in rough conditions we could do 18. Everyone said it got easier after the third or fourth day. We find longer journeys much easier, since you become accustomed to the motion and you sleep better. The worst are 24-hour hops, because you don't get into a rhythm and you are exhausted when you arrive.

This trip convinced us that we needed a third person on the 18-day Pacific crossing. We didn't want to take the risk of being that far offshore with just two of us aboard because there's no back-up if one of us gets sick or hurt. A third person also relaxes the watch schedule, you have 4 hours on and 8 off, instead of four to six on, four to six off.

4. What was your scariest moment at sea?

All of our scary moments have been in close quarters. All kinds of things can happen at sea, but so far, the worst thing that has happened to us was the loss of our stabilizers halfway across the Pacific. It turned out not to be a big deal, as the weather was behind us.

5. What can you tell us about your best cruising moment?

We have a lot of favorite cruising moments. They tend to be times when we have achieved something together.

For example, we once crossed the Gulf Stream from the Abacos, Bahamas, and arrived around 2 a.m. at Cumberland Island, Georgia, via the St. Mary's River inlet. It was about a 30-hour trip and had been challenging, due to weather, adverse currents, etc. We set the hook, sat on the bow in the light of a full moon and drank a cold beer. A special cruising moment.

6. What is the favorite spot you've cruised to so far?

We don't have one. Everywhere we have been has had its special attraction, whether it’s the scenery in British Columbia, the water in the Bahamas, the gunkholing in the Chesapeake, the isolation of the Sea of Cortez or the majesty of Alaska.

7. Can you tell us what the GPS coordinates (alternatively a location) of where your boat is now?

Duet is in Marina Taina, Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia.

8. What are some challenges of long-distance passagemaking?

It can be uncomfortable, boring and both of us get seasick. It can also be scary, but you become accustomed to whatever it is that scares you. You don't have any choice, as there is nowhere to run. Over time, you find you can get used to almost anything.

French Polynesia is, relatively speaking, little visited by recreational cruisers. So, there isn't much information. The cruising guides, for example, are more than 10 years old. The charts can be limited. The anchorages are often open to swell or full of coral. But the people are incredibly friendly, there is almost no one there and it's spectacularly beautiful, so it's worth the effort, at least for us.

Over the years, we've learned that we can deal with whatever the problem is, or at least we have, so far. We can fix it or work around it, find it somewhere or make it or borrow it. Regardless, we'll figure it out. That's not to say that we don't worry, because we do, but in the end, we figure we've gotten this far, so we will probably manage the rest of the way.

9. How have your seamanship skills improved?

Seamanship, to us, is a combination of a lot of things, ranging from the obvious, such as being able to navigate, to the less intuitive, such as being able to judge a good anchorage from a bad one with no cruising guides or knowing the wind speed from the state of the sea.

There's only so much book learning you can do and then you need to get out there and feel it. The more experience you get the better. On a boat like ours, seamanship includes a lot of technical skills, such as knowing how to use both radars and the AIS simultaneously to figure out exactly what those fishing boats are doing on a dark, rainy night.

We are much more comfortable with situations and conditions that would have scared us silly several years ago. Someone once told us to push our personal envelope just a little bit every time we take the boat out. Our personal envelope is much bigger than it used to be.

On the technical front, both of us are much more sophisticated now. Ron can fix almost anything since he's usually seen something like it before. Nancy is able to do many boat tasks that, in the early days, she had no idea how to even begin.

10. How has long-distance cruising changed your outlook on life?

We are much more patient. When you are at sea there isn't much you can do, particularly in the short-term, about much of anything, especially in a boat as slow as ours. The sea doesn't care that you want to be there already, or you don't feel well, or you can't sleep.

We live much more in the moment on the boat than we do on land. Time is elastic; it seems to be pass slowly, yet suddenly our passage is over. We get up with the sun and go to sleep when it gets dark. What we can and can't do depends entirely on the weather.

We spent 17 days at sea on the Pacific, and every day was like the movie Groundhog Day. Looking back on it, however, we can remember specific moments, such as when we swam across the Equator, as if they occurred just minutes ago.

11. What type of modifications/special gear/systems/equipment did you have to install on your boat to make it ready for this type of voyaging?

The most significant equipment upgrades we made for our South Pacific voyage were to our fuel and electrical systems. Prior to this journey, our Nordhavn 50 was capable of whatever voyages we chose to make.

First, we were concerned about having enough fuel to travel 2,700 nautical miles from Mexico to the Marquesas. Ron addressed our fuel worries with two important equipment upgrades: 1) Maretron fuel flow sensors on the main engine 2) A 300-gallon fuel bladder in the cockpit.

Our second issue involved Duet's AC electrical system, which is configured for 120/240-volt 60 Hz power. Our water maker and washer/dryer are 240 volts AC and all other appliances are 120 volts AC, including our reverse-cycle air conditioning. Most of the foreign power we will encounter will be 230 volts AC at 50 Hz. To solve both the frequency and voltage issues, Ron installed two Victron 100-amp universal battery chargers plus a second Victron Multiplus inverter-charger, to increase our inverting power to 6 kVA (120 VAC, 60 Hz).

The chargers put the power in the house batteries and the inverter-chargers then convert it into a combination that is safe for our equipment. This system allows us to plug into foreign dock power and use most of our AC appliances. We can also run two reverse-cycle compressors simultaneously. The generator will run when we do laundry, or if it's hot enough to need more than two of our five reverse-cycle units. An added advantage of this installation is redundancy, if one unit should fail.

12. What are your future cruising plans?

We are leaving French Polynesia in June 2018, bound for Tonga and Fiji. Duet will remain in Fiji for a couple of months while we return home. We will then set off for New Caledonia in September and plan to arrive in Australia in early November.

13. What advice would you give to anyone who's considering doing what you've done?

We started pretty slowly, and it was years before we went more than 50 miles from shore. So, we developed a lot of basic boating skills, such as navigation, weather, anchoring and repairing your boat in exotic places. We have anchored, for example, more than 1,000 times. We know many people who have set off across an ocean with far less experience and done just fine. It's all about what you are comfortable with. We are risk-averse, a bit obsessive-compulsive and plan very carefully. That's not the only way to do this, it's just the way we do it.

The key to this is to not bite off more than you can chew. One or two bad experiences can shake a couples' confidence and doom what could have been a wonderful cruising career. We advise people to change only the boat or the cruising area, not both at the same time. When we got our Nordhavn 46, which was a more complex boat than our Monk 36, we spent a year in the familiar Chesapeake Bay before we set off into new waters.

This is supposed to be fun. Whether you go around the world, or around the Bay, it's up to you to decide what is comfortable for you. Often one spouse will want to emulate Joshua Slocum, while the other just wants to get to the next marina. Make sure you are both on the same page or work out a way that both of you can have what you want. We know plenty of couples where the husband crosses oceans and the wife flies in for the local cruising. There's no wrong answer to this, there's just a right or wrong answer for you.

14. Can you give us a list of the places you've traveled under power?

The Chesapeake Bay, the East Coast of the United States from Norfolk, Virginia, to Miami, Florida, the West Coast of Florida as far north as Ft. Myers, Florida, the Bahamas as far south as Georgetown, Exumas, the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, Southeast Alaska, the Oregon coast and the Columbia River as far inland as Portland, Oregon, the California Coast, the Baja Pennisula of Mexico from Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas on the Pacific side and La Paz to Bahia Conception in the Sea of Cortez and the Eastern Pacific Ocean from Mexico to French Polynesia.

15. Please tell us a little bit about your boat.

Duet is an 18-year-old Nordhavn 50. She is a slow, heavy, full-displacement pilothouse trawler, built to cross oceans. She is 50 feet long, with a beam of 16.5 feet and a draft of 6 feet. Duet displaces approximately 40 tons at half load.

Her main engine is a 300-hp Lugger 6108A. We have put more than 2,400 hours on this engine, and it now has about 4,600 hours on it. She also has a Yanmar “get home” wing engine with its own shaft and prop and she is hydraulically stabilized.

Duet carries 1,440 gallons of diesel and 260 gallons of water. She has two staterooms, two heads, a separate pilothouse and a flybridge. She has all the creature comforts: air conditioning, washer and dryer, dishwasher, water maker, etc.

We normally cruise at about 7.5 knots delivering 1.75 nautical miles per gallon, for a range of around 2,000 miles with a 20 percent reserve, but no generator usage. She can easily manage 9 knots, provided you don't mind the fuel bill. On our Pacific crossing she averaged 6.9 knots, at 2.4 nautical miles per gallon, over nearly 2,700 miles and 17 days nonstop. Duet is a comfortable, safe boat, easy for a couple to manage. She takes very good care of us and we love her dearly.

16. What do you most enjoy about this type of cruising lifestyle?

The people we meet and the challenges we overcome. Looking back on 17 years of cruising over 23,000 miles, we are amazed by the places we've seen, the things we've done and the issues we've solved together. It's not always easy, and it's not always comfortable, but we have never regretted a moment of it.

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Jennifer and Mark Ullmann

Nordhavn 46 Starlet

Currently lying Society Islands, French Polynesia

LOA: 45 feet, 9 inches

BEAM: 15 feet, 5 inches

POWER: 105-hp Lugger L668 diesel

SPEED: 8 knots cruise

RANGE: 1,800 nautical miles @ 8 knots

TANKAGE: 1,000 gallons fuel, 280 gallons water, 50 gallons waste

CONTACT: Pacific Asian Enterprises, Dana point, California, (949) 496-4848. nordhavn.com

1. What was your introduction to boating, and what is your boating history? What sort of boats have you owned?

Prior to Starlet we owned a 24-foot boat for diving. It was a Chaparral named Easy Diver. Mark has his captain’s license and Jennifer took a power squadron’s course, both of us have spent time on sailboats. We had taken several week-long liveaboard dive trips and chartered a Mainship trawler to explore the Exumas.

2. How did you get into long-distance passagemaking? What was the inspiration behind your decision?

A bad day at work was the inspiration. We love to travel and realized that many of the places that we wanted to see could be reached by a boat. We also had two dogs and we wanted a dog-friendly yacht to take our family with us. Both of us love the water and we are both scuba divers, so it seemed like an economical way to see the world.

3. What was the first voyage where you pushed the limits, distance-wise?

We worked up to it slowly. We have spent 132 nights at sea. First, we did an overnight from Ft. Pierce, Florida, to Jacksonville, Florida. Then we did a two-night trip from Jekyll Island, Georgia, to Beaufort, North Carolina. Our longest passage was from Galapagos to Marquesas in French Polynesia, it took 20 days.

4. What was your scariest moment at sea?

Thankfully we really have not had anything too serious.

5. What can you tell us about your best cruising moment?

We have so many. Sitting in the Azores at 10 p.m. at night after eleven days and nights at sea and realizing that we really did really. We arrived with the local fishing boats. One fisherman cut in front of us to check out our stabilization system. When we have both paravanes in the water we look like a fishing boat, I’m sure he was curious.

We have always wanted to visit Italy so walking around in Sardinia for the first time felt exhilarating.

A week in Santorini Greek was very memorable. We loved all 43 islands, but sunsets in Santorini are extra special; it is a nightly event.

6. What is the favorite spot you've cruised to so far?

We don’t have a favorite. We loved all of the 43 Greece Islands, Malta, Maine USA and Azores. We loved diving in the Red Sea and diving French Polynesia.

7. Can you tell us what the GPS coordinates (alternatively a location) of where your boat is now?

She is currently in the Society Islands

8. What are some challenges of long-distance passage making?

Making sure we have spare parts. When friends visit they bring bags full of supplies for Starlet. Communications can be challenging. We have a sat phone for emergencies and to download weather but finding Wi-Fi or cell signals can be difficul,t especially in the remote islands in French Polynesia.

9. How has long-distance cruising changed your outlook on life?

Life is short too, so spend your time doing what is important to you. The world is full of kind people who are very interested to meet Americans. When we were in Hurghada, Egypt, several people told us we were the first Americans they have met. The wanted to sit down and have mint tea and chat, which we did. In Morocco, two female nursing students came to our boat to chat. They had a day off from school the following day and invited us to tour Tetouan with them. The spoke English but carried a small dictionary just in case it was needed. We were also adopted by a family in Morrocco that we were able to see again when we exited the Mediterranean. We were also adopted in the Azores by a young lady who had studied a brief time in the States. She wanted to practice her English and show us her beautiful island.

10. What type of modifications/special gear/systems/equipment did you have to install on your boat to make it ready for this type of voyaging?

The most important revolve around improving Starlet’s electrical storage. We enlarged the house bank, added charging capacity and solar panels and installed more efficient refrigeration. We now have much more flexibility when staying at anchor.

We also added an isolation transformer that accepts a wide variety of dockside voltages and feeds the correct power to Starlet. Our washer/dryer and water maker are now set to run off the inverter. This is important when visiting 50 Hz countries.

Since Starlet depends only on paravanes for stabilization, we changed their rigging to make them much faster and easier to deploy and retrieve.

11. What are your future cruising plans?

In May 2018 we will leave French Polynesia for the Cook Islands and will travel to American Samoa, Samoa, Niue, Tonga. Toward the end of October, we will be in New Zealand for six months before moving on to Fiji in April 2019 for several months. Diving in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is high on our list.

12. What advice would you give to anyone who's considering doing what you've done?

Don’t wait until the boat is perfect or you will never leave.

Don’t have firm exceptions in terms of an agenda because it is sure to change as you gather more information and weather will weigh on all travel decisions.

When friends want to visit they can either pick the place or the date but they can’t pick both. If they have specific dates you tell them the location. If they have a destination in mind you let them know when you arrive. Schedules don’t work well on boats.

Get a boat that you manage yourself.

13. Can you give us a list of the places you've traveled under power?

The Bahamas, U.S. East Coast, Dominican Republic, U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Bermudua, the Azores, Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco, Spain, the Balerics, Sardinia, mainland Italy, Sicily, Malta, Albania, Greece, Montenegro, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Turkey, Cape Verde, Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Antigua, Saint Barts, Saint Martin, Anguila, Saint Maarten, Saba, Turks and Caicos, Panama, Galapagos, French Polynesia.

14. Please tell us a little bit about your boat.

Starlet is a 46-foot Nordhavn trawler. She was built in 2000 and she has two staterooms, two heads, a flybridge and a washer/dryer. We also have three air conditioning units for some very warm tropical days. We installed an air compressor to fill our dive tanks and solar panels to extend the time between charging the battery bank with the generator.

15. What do you most enjoy about this type of cruising lifestyle?

We like the feeling of empowerment, diversity and the freedom and that every day is different. We are self-sufficient; we are a mini city with a water maker and power plant.

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Paul Hawran

Outer Reef 88 Argo

Currently lying Fort Lauderdale, Florida

LOA: 88 feet

BEAM: 21 feet

POWER: twin 750-hp John Deere 6135 diesels

SPEED: 8.5 to 13 knots cruise

RANGE: 2,600 nautical miles @ 8.5 knots

TANKAGE: 3,000 gallons fuel, 500 gallons water, 250 gallons waste

CONTACT: Outer Reef Yachts, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, (954) 767-8305. outerreefyachts.com

1. What was your introduction to boating, and what is your boating history? What sort of boats have you owned?

I started boating back in college when a friend and I purchased an 18-foot Mako. I enjoyed rebuilding and trying to put her personality back into the boat. I fished, dived and cruised Long Island Sound and had wonderful time both caring for my boat and exploring new coves on the Sound.

I relocated to San Diego in 1993 to begin a new career as a biotech entrepreneur, and one day I took my son, who was diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder, to a local pier for a day of fishing. I was so taken with the fact that my son was so focused on just watching his line, and the sheer happiness on his face.

Based on that day, I purchased a 60-foot Hatteras which, like my very first boat, was in need of a lot of tender-loving care. Following the Hatteras I commissioned an 82-foot Westbay, a 94-foot Westbay and finally an 88-foot OuterReef named Argo.

2. How did you get into long-distance passage making? What was the inspiration behind your decision?

Before my “grand adventure” I didn’t do any long-distance passage making. During my business career I was fortunate in travelling the world, albeit for business purposes. I was blessed with seeing the many “typical” touristy locations throughout the world, but what I was most interested in was the areas off the beaten path — areas that tourists didn’t see or areas remote from the other spectacular tourist attractions.

On one such trip in 2005, I read an interesting textbook about Patagonia and was simply amazed with the wonderful descriptions of the various areas. The pictures were simply phenomenal, and few boaters had cruised there. It was at this time I began to plan my retirement “bucket list.”

During the next years, I studied as much as I could and expanded my voyage to include a passage to Alaska. Then I’d travel south to California, Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and of course, Cape Horn.

3. What was your scariest moment at sea?

I was leaving Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and was told by weather routers that the seas heading to Costa Rica were good, but to expect some squalls on the trip. Just north of Acapulco, Mexico, I noticed a number of squalls forming around me, but based on the weather routers’ advice, these would be individual squalls and not much to worry about.

Well, as I got in the middle of the outlying squalls, they all joined together to form a potent storm. The winds came up to about 50 knots, and the seas, well, I’m not sure what they were but I know there was blue water flying over the flybridge hard top. And of course, Rex Neptune decided to give me a little added twist by killing my hydraulic systems making my stabilizers useless and steering very difficult.

Despite all this, I was never scared. Argo performed like a champ taking the seas and whatever Rex Neptune could throw at her in stride. In fact, in one passage in Patagonia, we entered a channel where the seas kicked up and to my amazement we were experiencing 80-knot winds coming off the Andes. Argo once again went through the seas as if it was just a spring breeze never giving me concern testament to OuterReef.

4. What can you tell us about your best cruising moment?

There are many but include the phenomenal greetings we received from people in the remote fishing islands inside Patagonia; the astonishing glaciers seen in both Alaska and Chile; the whales and dolphins that always gave us a show or just the peacefulness of nature in areas so remote that we didn’t see a person or boat for days. I’m sorry to say I don’t have the literary prowess to explain it.

5. What is the favorite spot you've cruised to so far?

I can’t tell you I have a favorite; everywhere I went was amazing. But if forced, I would say the experience of voyaging by the dry deserts of Chile, to the green forests of northern Patagonia to the wind ravaged islands in South Patagonia, puts all of us in proper perspective. We are merely insignificant visitors in a vast and beautiful world.

6. Can you tell us what the GPS coordinates (alternatively a location) of where your boat is now?

Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

7. What are some challenges of long-distance passage making?

Every day is a different challenge. Just accept it and enjoy the ride.

8. How have your seamanship skills improved?

My basic seamanship skills improved but I’m amazed by the skills of true mariners who have lived this life their entire life. They are amazing individuals. I could travel another 20,000 miles and would still consider myself a rookie.

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Joël and Dominique Marc

Selene 66 Jade

Currently lying Kodiak Harbor, Alaska

LOA: 71 feet, 5 inches

BEAM: 18 feet, 8 inches

POWER: single 525-hp John Deere 6125AFM diesel

SPEED: 7 knots cruise

RANGE: 6,500 nautical miles @ 7 knots

TANKAGE: 3,200 gallons fuel, 600 gallons water, 250 gallons waste

CONTACT: Jet Tern Marine, Zhuhai City, China, +86 (756) 772-5339. seleneoceanyachts.com

1. What was your introduction to boating, and what is your boating history?

My first serious experience at deep sea was in 1972 when I was chosen as crew on Isle du Frioul. This sailing yacht had performed the transatlantic solo race from England to Newport. Rhode Island, and the skipper was looking for crew for her return trip. I discovered long-distance cruising without any modern electronic devices on board, making the journey via the Azores and Gibraltar.

2. How did you get into long-distance passage making?

My first ocean crossing was like a dream for me because I met very famous sailors and visited Newport (where the America's Cup at this time was held). My heroes where Slocum, Moitessier and Chichester. I’ve always dreamed of wild and remote countries that you can only visit by sea.

3. What was the first voyage where you pushed the limits, distance-wise?

In 1977, when I crossed from the Galápagos to the Marquesas using only a sextant and a watch. Hiva Hoa (Marquesas) was a tiny dot on the immense South Pacific and my task was to bring my boat precisely there. And I succeeded!

In 1999 when I crossed the whole South Pacific Ocean from Nelson, New Zealand, to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. It was a 5,400-nautical-mile journey that took 30 days.

4. What was your scariest moment at sea?

I remember two moments. One was passing Cape Horn. We were running fast before 28-foot waves when the steering system broke. I had to switch on the autopilot because it was connected to a different part of the rudder shaft. We also unsuccessfully tried the emergency tiller. Very, very difficult and scary.

Later, during an easterly storm in Pleneau Island, Antarctica, my boat was tied to the icy shore by five lines that we tied off to iron anchors that were hammered into the rocks. Unfortunately some anchors were bent and the lines loosened, so my boat was drifting to the granite rocks and we had to fight all the night against fierce wind, snow and drifting ice to save her.

5. What can you tell us about your best cruising moment?

Discovering the Galápagos when it was "free.” I visited all the islands in 1977 without any people looking at me like spies , which is how it is now.

Exploring the Marquesas, Tuamotus and Bora Bora.

Cruising around South Georgia, Antarctica, where Sir Ernest Shackleton is buried.

Visiting Lord Howe Island and Ball's Pyramid.

6. What is the favorite spot you've cruised to so far?

Alaska Peninsula (Kodiak, Afognak, Shuyak, Prince William Sound).

7. Can you tell us what the GPS coordinates (alternatively a location) of your boat now?

Kodiak Harbor, Alaska.

9. Of the two of you, whose seamanship skills has improved the most?

I think I better manage my boat and choose better crew now. I also know much more about fixing technical problems without outside help.

10. What type of modifications/special gear/systems/equipment did you have to install on your boat to make it ready for this type of voyaging?

I purchased Jade in New Zealand in 2013. The boat had just 400 hours on her engine. She only had a little time on the French Riviera before she was shipped to Sydney, Australia, on a cargo ship.

We upgraded the windlass, chain rode and anchors, installed storm glass around the flybridge, mounted numerous solar panels on the cabin top and installed a dishwashing machine, compactor, microwave, deep freezer, stove and a Spectra (60l/h) 24-volt water maker.

11. What are your future cruising plans?

Exploring Alaska even deeper — it is so beautiful! Then we’ll cruise to Seattle, Washington, and then to California and Baja, Mexico, before heading back home via the Marquesas. We may even go through the Panama Canal and then head back via the U.S. East Coast , Greenland, Iceland and Norway.

12. What advice would you give to anyone who's considering doing what you've done?

Prepare and maintain your boat in the best condition possible.

13. What can you tell us about your current boat?

Jade is a 66-foot Selene trawler. I love cruising on her because we have so much space. I enjoy the self-sufficient nature of Jade and her 5,000-mile range.