Love travel blogs? Love sailing? You’re going to love this.
We’re super excited to bring you another edition of our monthly series – the diary of a sailing blogger.
Each month we’re telling the real stories of people who travel the world by boat.
These people take the concept of a sailing holiday and turn it into a full-time lifestyle.
If you haven’t already, check out our ‘Part 3’ interview with Tasha from Turf to Surf, and ‘Part 1’ and ‘Part 2’ (at the bottom of this post).
And now, read the story behind one of our favourite sailing and travel blogs – Kelley from Sailing Chance shares it all.
If you’re not itching to book a yacht charter and set sail by the end of this love story, we’ll be very surprised.
1. What sparked your passion for sailing and what made you decide to adopt sailing as a lifestyle?
The truth? I met a really cute guy. Seriously. When Jason and I first started dating he told me he wanted to sail away. The end destination wasn’t clear, but he wanted to explore. We both love to travel, so the adventure aspect definitely appealed to me.
After a little research on what cruising really was, I said, “What the hell?” and a few months later quit my job. We bought a small boat, completely rebuilt it, and headed for the Bahamas for a shakedown cruise.
Luckily, I loved the lifestyle! We even took a land break for a while while we were back stateside, and hated it so much that we bought a bigger boat and moved back aboard this past May.
2. What kind of boat do you sail and what’s been the biggest challenge with it?
When we were looking we had to keep in mind that we needed a boat that could safely take us anywhere in the world, and would be comfortable for dockside living while we’re working full time in New York City.
After a LOT of research and flying to far-off lands to look at boats, we ended up with a Vagabond 42. It sails like a dream and is a really comfortable boat to live in. It’s ketch rigged and gives us a lot more sailing options than our first boat, which was a sloop. We’re really loving trying out new sail trims.
The Vagabond offers all the amenities of an apartment, except a bathtub. It has two main berths – the aft cabin with a queen size bed and a forward berth that has two single bunks for guests. It has a really nice deck layout with wide catwalks, so you can get around the entire boat easily if you need to go up to the bow in a hurry.
One of the big challenges with the boat is the ceiling height. Jason is 6’3″ and, while he clears the ceiling, the doorways are much shorter. He is also always hitting his head on the lights protruding from the ceiling. I think he permanently has lumps all over his poor head.
The other challenge is that the cockpit combing is very low. So low that when you are healing there really isn’t anywhere to lean up against. The dogs have a hard time getting comfortable underway in stronger winds. We rebuilt our entire last boat, so we’re confident that we’ll come up with some creative way to fix this.
They say there is no such thing as a perfect boat, but we’re determined to get as close as possible!
3. What are the three things you love most about sailing?
I only get to pick three? I guess I’d have to say my three favourite things about sailing are:
- The adventure. Everything about sailing and cruising is an adventure. Whether you are simply navigating the ferry traffic and tankers around NYC or exploring a brand new island in the Caribbean, it is always full of unexpected discoveries. Days very rarely turn out how you expect them to. Sometimes that is a happy accident, while others a little less so, but it always turns into one hell of a story!
- Morning coffee in the cockpit watching the sunrise when everyone else is still fast asleep. It sounds simple, but this is really one of my absolute favourite things. It doesn’t matter where I am; most of the world isn’t yet awake, and it’s just me and one hell of a show. When we do overnight sails, I always try to get the shift during the sunrise. Nature is incredible. Now that I’m back dockside, I don’t do this nearly as often as I should, but pilates on my aft deck as the sun rises still counts, right?
- Less is more. I love how living on a boat forces you to be a minimalist. It makes you so aware of your footprint on the earth, and how much you really consume. We’re so much better about what we buy and what we leave behind. We make sure that we absolutely need something before it makes its way onto our boat. Sometimes we’re even a little too restrictive – like that time I needed a new pair of running shoes for five months because my toe was sticking through the top. Ooops!
4. Where are your three favourite sailing destinations, and why?
My three favourite places we’ve sailed have been Powell Cay and Hope Town in the Bahamas, and New York City.
Powell Cay is a secluded island in the Abacos. It’s a long island with great beaches along the entire coast and reefs all along the ocean side. I could have stayed there forever!
Hope Town is probably one of the cutest little towns I have ever seen. It is full of tiny pastel houses, adorable coffee shops and amazing Bahama bread. There are even pink sand beaches!
While New York City may not have the best sailing conditions, it is one hell of a destination. We have so many friends here that we always have a full boat when we go out. It makes us so happy to give people just a tiny glimpse into our life aboard.
5. Which destination has the best:
1. Sailing conditions? The Bahamas have really great sailing conditions. There are tons of little islands with bays you could tuck into to stay protected from heavy blows. When the weather is great, as it is the majority of the time, you can easily island hop your way down each chain exploring crystal clear waters and endless white sand beaches.
2. Food? Double Breasted Cay in the Bahamas has the best food. And by food I mean endless fish. Jason loves to spear fish, and this island is so secluded that the fish aren’t scared of humans yet. They literally swim right in front of your face. Huge Hogfish, Triggerfish and Grouper are everywhere!
3. People? Charleston, South Carolina has some of the friendliest people we’ve ever encountered. It’s a really fun place to explore.
6. Would you advise people to try chartering yachts before purchasing their own?
We are always telling people to go sailing on as many boats as possible before they buy their own. Sail on as many different kinds (cat vs monohull, coastal cruiser vs blue water boat, etc) so you can begin to get an understanding of what you like in a boat.
Day sailing and living aboard are also very different. It’s important to try your hand at more than a night or two on the boat before making a decision.
Chartering is a great way to give the live-a-board lifestyle a try to see if it is for you.
7. What’s your favourite sailing quote?
It isn’t really a sailing quote, but one that resonates a lot with me as I am sailing and embracing this lifestyle.
“Anything is possible if you have enough nerve.” – J.K. Rowling
People are always so amazed that we were able to have these adventures at such a young age. To us, we only get one life; we’ll take the chance. We don’t want to wait until we’re too old to enjoy it. There really is no time like the present!
Are you hooked yet?
Read our earlier episodes for more sailing and travel stories.