Chris and Carolyn Groobey

FPB 64 Toccata , currently lying in Gaeta, Italy
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  Chris and Carolyn Groobey  

  Chris and Carolyn Groobey  

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

How did you get into long-distance passagemaking? 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 race and cruise. We came to realize that we wanted to do more adventuring and long-distance travel and less racing. We bought the FPB in Seattle in summer 2015. Since then, we have been around Vancouver Island, down the West Coast of the United States, to Mexico and Central America, through the Panama Canal, up to Nova Scotia, back down to the Caribbean, across the Atlantic, and now we’re in the Mediterranean.

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“We are in our 50s and not retired — we’re 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 so much that you need to see it now. Have confidence that you will be just fine when you return to your professional life.” — Chris and Carolyn Groobey

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What are some challenges of long-distance passagemaking? One challenge is being away from family and friends for extended periods. We consider our two dogs part of our family and wanted to cruise with them. 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.

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, 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.

This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue.