Sunday, August 21, 2011

Becoming a liveaboard

Our journey which led us to this place began 15 years ago, when Chris and I started sailing on a beat-up Hobie Cat. For our first sail, he took me for a spin in Newport Harbor where we promptly capsized and needed to be towed ashore. I was hooked! (LOL) We then bought our first boat, a Catalina 25 called "Tiger II" and sailed her close to shore along the Southern California Coast. We also began crewing on raceboats out of Newport Harbor. If you are interested in learning to sail but have no idea where to begin, go to your nearest yacht club and look for race boats which need crew.

Racing brought us offshore, to and around Catalina and the Channel Islands, as well as to Mexico in the Newport-Ensenada race. We then bought our next boat, a Catalina 30 named "Free Spirit." With her we sailed to Catalina alone for the first time. Chris later raced to Cabo San Lucas with Chuck Brewer aboard "Heartbeat." A racing teammate enlisted Chris and I to help deliver his brand new Amel 53 Super Maramu sailboat from Portugal to the Caribbean. We only made it to the Cape Verde Islands, 800 miles off the west coast of Africa. But that's another story. A few years later our friend bought another new Amel, and this time Chris helped him sail it from Portugal across the Atlantic to Guadeloupe in the Caribbean.

Finally, we upgraded to our current boat, our Newport 41 "Espiritu." The next step was to make the decision to sell our condo in Huntington Beach and move aboard. In the light of the economy, it was clear to us that this was not only the right decision for us, it was the only decision. We took the leap of faith, sold the condo and moved aboard Espiritu in San Pedro. That was a year and a half ago.

One never knows how one will adapt to such an extreme lifestyle change. The only way to find out is to take the leap. I'm happy to report that we love living aboard. Our marriage has become stronger. We laugh more. We sleep like babies in our cozy v-berth.

We love everything about living aboard. We love the simplicity of it. And secrets between us are simply not an option. There is no private room or space in which to indulge in private lives. Everything we do is within 30 feet of the other. As I see it, moving aboard a small sailboat will either bring imminent despair and divorce, or it will bring you together in such a way that you have no choice but to become a seamless, happy unit. We are, thankfully, the latter. :-)

I strongly recommend moving aboard. Every day is an adventure. :-)


  1. Love it guys. No secrets, aboard a boat, ultimately, it could mean life or death. I really want to hear the story of the 1st attempt from Portugal. So, it's a bottle of champagne to launch a new ship, what's the custom, if any, to putting to sea on a long journey?

  2. Not sure what that custom is, Pete. I'll have to research! Liz :-)

  3. hello Liz,

    I am thinking about purchasing a 74 Newport 41. I cant find much info about the model though. We are thinking of doing just what you are. No circumnavigation... not yet anyway, but the Caribbean, Bahamas, Florida, Hawaii, Tahiti. What are your thoughts on the boat so far?