Tom sailed small boats on New England lakes with his family in his early years. He carried SAIL magazine on the long school bus ride and shared his dream of sailing around the world with his best friends.
Anita spent some of her childhood living on Pemaquid lake in Maine, swimming, water skiing, and power boating. There was one opportunity to sail on a Hobie Cat 16′ with friends that was memorable and fun; otherwise no sailing experience until meeting Tom.
First Boat – Noelani 22′ Monohull (1977 – 1982)
We met in Worcester Massachusetts while attending separate colleges in the city. Tom graduated first and bought a 22′ ocean going sailboat, before he furnished his apartment. He said, “If you want to see my couch or dining table come to my boat, they are built in.” He renamed the boat from Circe to Noelani; a character in James Michener’s book “Hawaii”. Our relationship did not become serious until we sailed Noelani in rough weather from Groton to Block Island. It was a boisterous down wind sail and Anita kept smiling and saying how much fun faster sailing was! Tom kept shaking his head and once safely in the harbor informed her we had sailed when small craft warnings were up. It was still a lot of fun!! We enjoyed many more weekend sails and the average sail to Block Island (26 miles) took 6-7 hours on Noelani.
Second boat – White Bird 31′ Searunner Trimaran (1982-1986)
Several years after we married we decided to get a larger boat and traded Noelani for a 31′ Searunner Trimaran named White Bird. What a fun boat to sail and take for week long vacations. That trip to Block Island could now be achieved in 3-4 hours! Friends and family enjoyed sailing with us for weekends and day sails. We discovered many new harbors and ventured further from our home port at Shennecossett Yacht Club in Groton, CT. The dream of an extended cruise started taking shape in our minds and hearts. We never lived aboard White Bird, but we nearly took her on our first cruise. She sold a week before the deadline we had set. Unfortunately, we faced a summer without a sail boat. Friends stepped up and allowed us to crew with them a few times and the search for a long-distance cruising boat began.
Third boat – Sundsvalla 34′ Prout Snow Goose Catamaran (1986-1991)
We bought Sundsvalla, a 34′ Prout Snow Goose Catamaran in September of 1986 in Emsworth, England. While celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary, in May of 1987; we quit our lucrative jobs as power station engineer (Tom) and computer programmer/analyst (Anita) to fly to England and begin our first cruising journey. In August 1987 we sailed from England to Spain, Portugal, Madeira, and the Canary Islands. We weathered a few storms at sea by this time and several more at anchor. We joined 200 other boats in the Canaries preparing for the second annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC). The seminars, parties, preparation for the long ocean crossing were all made easier with the companionship of fellow cruisers. We arrived in Barbados two days before Christmas after 28 calendar days at sea. Here we confirmed Anita was pregnant and we truly settled into the ease and wonder of the cruising life. We sailed slowly north enjoying the different flavors, sites, and people of the Caribbean islands. Hosting family and friends a few times on our floating home and sharing a bit of paradise. Our engine used an outdrive and became unusable on our sail south in the spring of 1988. We perfected sailing in/out of anchorages. We worked our way back down the island chain as hurricane season approached and discussed our options for delivering a baby with a doctor in Grenada. He encouraged us to sail on to Venezuela. We found another pregnant sailing couple on Isla Margarita off the north coast of Venezuela who assisted us. Alex was born at the end of July 1988. We hauled out the boat to repair the outdrive, an arduous task, but thankfully successful. Unfortunately, they relaunched us before raising the mast and the crane dropped the mast when a boat sped by making a wake. In early December, we flew home to share our new baby with family and order a new mast. After the new mast was installed we sailed for another year; to the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas before heading up to Beaufort, NC through the ICW to Norfolk, VA then out to Montauk, Long Island, New York and home to Groton, CT in August of 1989. We have so many wonderful memories and stories, perhaps someday I will find the statistics too, e.g. miles sailed, countries visited, days at sea vs. at anchor, etc.
Fourth Boat – Cosmos 40′ Atlantic catamaran (1992-2004)
Our next boat was a Chris White designed Atlantic 40′ catamaran custom built for us in Brownsville, TX. We took delivery of her in August 1992. Our four year old son Alex, created a journal of our two week journey to Groton, CT. Cosmos was a high performance boat; she possessed the best of both worlds: power under sail with a “wing mast” that when feathered properly boosted forward motion noticeably and steering with dual engines was a new and delightful experience for us. We dreamed of extended cruising again in her. Unfortunately, time passed quickly and 12 years later we still had a boat loan. We enjoyed many weeks of sailing Cosmos from home port to Long Island, Block Island, Nantucket, and Maine. We lived aboard year round for seven years, and then switched to six months of the year (spring to fall) for the remaining five years. Tom, now a professional multihull yacht broker, decided our best option was to sell her and buy a less expensive multihull in order to fulfill our dream of cruising again.
Fifth boat – Amakama 43′ Liahona trimaran (2004-2012)
Our first glimpse of our next boat was while cruising on Sundsvalla in the late 1980’s. We met up with the builder Franz and wife Paulette in several locations, Barbados and the BVI are memorable. Tom was listing their boat and decided it would be a good fit for us after we sold Cosmos. This was another high performance boat. We enjoyed great speeds under sail. Amakama has a powerful rudder design that allowed her to turn in very tight circles. For the cold and foggy delivery trip from Halifax, Nova Scotia we were joined by able-bodied crew: our 16-year old son Alex and 15-year old cousin Brian. We continued to live-aboard at least six months of every year and rent furnished homes in the off-season.
Sixth boat – Lone Star 39′ Tristar trimaran (2012-present)
As a multihull yacht broker, Tom was often tempted to buy the next boat. We couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to purchase this cruising trimaran. Much roomier with abundant head room and three large berths. We’ve had years to outfit her how we want our retirement floating home to be. We’ve enjoyed continuing to live-aboard six months each year. Some summer seasons have seen us sailing away nearly every weekend, like last year. Sadly only for two weeks this summer. However, now we are both retired and looking forward to life afloat. So let the sea tales begin!