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The Crew

April 18, 2007

In the Beginning….

Of course it all started many, many years ago for me. I can’t really remember exactly when I got the bug but it probably dates to the early 1960’s. The credit (Or blame, as it were) has to go to Gardner McKay and his television show,“Adventures in Paradise”. If you never saw the show you missed a real treat. Gardner played Captain Adam Troy of the 82 foot schooner “Tiki”. The plot was, basically, just him sailing around the South Pacific in search of cargo, passengers and adventure. Many years later, in about 1990, I had the good fortune to meet Gardner McKay in Hawaii. It seems that we have a common interest, sea kayaking, and, I discovered, a few mutual friends. Gardner is a fascinating man and I have a couple of great stories involving him. Buy me a couple of beers the next time we’re in port and I’ll tell you all about it.

Cruising the Pacific in my own boat remained just a dream while I finished growing up and stayed on the back burner through my fifteen-year career in the US Army. Then, while recovering from knee surgery at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii, I noticed the boats out on the ocean and I remembered the dream. I had time on my hands and access to a library so I started reading. I devoured Hiscock, the Pardeys, Tristan Jones, Joshua Slocum and anything else about cruising I could get my hands on. I resolved to own a forty foot ketch someday and to live aboard and go cruising just like Captain Adam Troy.

Life went on, as it tends to do when you’re not paying attention. Fast forward to 1990. Now out of the Army for ten years and with a good job in Honolulu, I started looking for a boat. I had a small inheritance but not enough for a forty foot ketch in seaworthy condition. A friend of my boss got tired of listening to me talk about my dream of sailing and said to me one day “Why don’t you buy my boat?”. “What kind of boat is it.” I asked. “An Albin Vega 27” was the answer and the price was just right for my budget. “But it’s too small.” I complained. “Nonsense!” he replied. He was right. I moved aboard on April 1st 1990 and found the hoard of VODCA Newsletters stashed in the locker under the forward bunk. I dashed off a check to Sid Rosen.

Now that I had the boat, the dream became a goal. I began developing a plan to achieve it. The plan has changed over the years but, surprisingly, not much.  Laura joined me in 1996.  Bree came aboard at Christmas that year.  Today, after years of planning, we are living that dream.

Thank you Gardner McKay and Rick Monteverde!

And their honeymoon went like this.....

Boatswain Bree 1996-2012

Bree was adopted through the Humane Society in Honolulu and moved aboard at the age of 8 weeks old.  She crossed the Pacific Ocean three times and was a member of our crew for 16 years.

As with all cats, she had a dominant presence in life and has left a permanent pawprint on our hearts now that she is gone.

Goodbye Bree. You will be remembered in every tall tail we tell.

<a link rel=author href="https://plus.google.com/102349719934422416648">Laura Wong-Rose</a>

<a link rel=author href="https://plus.google.com/102349719934422416648">Laura Wong-Rose</a>

<a link rel=author href="https://plus.google.com/102349719934422416648">Laura Wong-Rose</a
<a link rel=author href="https://plus.google.com/102349719934422416648">Laura Wong-Rose</a>
 April 23, 2010

After all these years...
The most common question I get asked is "How do you guys manage to live together on a 27' boat?".  It has never been hard for me.

I have always been attracted to water. Horses and water.  Swimming, scuba diving and paddling.  Sailing only seemed a natural progression for me and so did living aboard.  I think serious cruising couples are much closer than most land based ones.  The need to be alone for a few hours or needing ones space is an alien concept for me.  Even during our lengthy 55 day crossing I never felt the urge to get off the boat and go sit by myself for awhile.

Before Chuck and I made the decision to make our relationship permanent we sat down together and had a serious discussion.  Chuck was quite clear about his personal goals.  When he retired he was going cruising.  He sincerely hoped I would join him and share his dreams but there would be sacrifices and he explained what his had been.  This boat was who he was and NO we would never need a bigger one.  I moved aboard in 1996 and have never looked back.

I can't say I never dream of having a full size kitchen with a real oven to bake in, especially around Christmas time, but those moments are rare and it will happen one day, along with the horses.  

Another question I'm frequently asked is "What do you guys do at night?".  That one always makes me laugh.  What do you think?  We talk, we listen to the radio, surf the internet and watch some of our favorite movies. What do you do at night?

The third and most thoroughly discussed question is in regards to posessions.  STUFF: Junk, things, clutter.  The "stuff" thing for me is fairly simple, there is no extra stuff.  I don't have a shoe fetish or a passion for trinkets so it's not a big challenge but we both still have to occassionally cull our posessions.  Books are usually our problem.   Secretly I have visions of us leaving a harbor and I am hurling "stuff" overboard.  Cell phones, laptops.....

There is nothing mysterious or difficult about our lifestyle.  We try to keep it as simple as possible with the least amount of anxiety and whatever it is we are doing it seems to be working.  Nearly eighteen years of marriage and twenty years of living aboard and we are closer than ever.  

Its not about sacrifices, its about priorities.  

How can you guys live together on a 27' sailboat?  SIMPLE.

Shipmate and tall ship junkie, Fran Taylor, writes of her numerous adventures as crew aboard classic sailing vessels.

We hope you enjoy Fran's stories as much as we did and one in particular about her time aboard HMB Endeavour where she meets a couple on their honeymoon, the groom gets dreadfully seasick and how a new "private signal" was born among the Endeavour crew.