Our Journey to the Cruising Life
One day in the fall of 2005 we had the brilliant idea of retiring onto a sailboat and cruising in warm places. Living on a boat takes lots and lots of work – so what better plan could there be for two workaholics who have no idea how to “get a life” on land. Elizabeth is a lifelong sailor with little cruising experience and Alan a lifelong scuba diver with little sailing experience. Here’s how our journey has gone so far:
Fall 2005 – Attended fall boat show in Oakland and started a long relationship/friendship with the best yacht broker in the Bay Area: John Kuony of Cruising Yachts.
Fall 2005 – Signed up for lessons with the best sailing/cruising school and yacht charter club in the Bay Area: Club Nautique
2005-2007 – Extensively researched pros and cons of various features, talked to lots of boat owners, and visited lots of boats to decide which one to buy. Eventually we arrived at what we consider an appropriate mix of safety, performance, comfort, and price for a serious blue water cruising boat – the Caliber 40 LRC (Long Range Cruiser).
October 2007 – Spent 9 days cruising the Chesapeake Bay on my brother, Bob’s Catalina 42, Sage V. Knew it wouldn’t guarantee we would love cruising, but knew it would give us a good idea if we wouldn’t. We loved every minute. Looked at some used Calibers and decided to go with a new one because of some recent design changes. Attended the Annapolis Boat Show and placed order for Vivacia. See Cruising the Chesapeake for that story!
November 2007 – Visited Caliber Yachts factory in Clearwater, FL to pick out fabrics and decide on other details.
March 2008 – Took delivery of Vivacia and spent our first weekend sailing the San Francisco Bay in our very own sailboat.
May 17, 2008 – Got married aboard Vivacia on a beautiful clear day in the middle of the Bay.
June 2008 – Sailed/motored Vivacia to Coos Bay, OR where she’ll stay for the next year while we outfit her for the cruising life.
Summer 2009 – Spent 3 weeks cruising the San Juan Islands and then brought Vivacia home to Emery Cove Marina in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Winter 2010 – 2011 – Spent 4 months out of the water at Napa Valley Marina and boat yard having keel damage repaired (hit a rock leaving Coos Bay Fall 2009) and getting new bottom paint.
March 18, 2011 – Back in the water and sailed to her new home in Fortman Marina, Alameda.
September 30, 2011 – Sailed out under the Golden Gate Bridge and turned left.
November – December 2011 – Outfitting in San Diego in preparation for cruising to Mexico in 2012
December 2011 – March 2012 – Elizabeth’s shoulder surgery for a torn rotator cuff plus slow progress on boat projects are slowing down departure. Hurricane season approaches so we must get underway in April!
May 22, 2012 – Finally headed for Mexico in the wee smalls of Tuesday morning. Checked into Mexico at Marina Coral in Ensenada.
May 25-June 2, 2012 – Sailed from Ensenada to La Paz with one overnight stop in Bahia Santa Maria (Mag Bay). Big winds and seas, autopilot problems, used Heidi the Hydrovane for the first time – wonderful! Paid up in La Paz for a month initially, but our time there stretched out much much longer waiting for the autopilot.
July 25 – Aug 10, 2012 – Finally, though only briefly, escaped from La Paz for some long awaited cruising around the Islands. See Where in the World page for places visited.
Sept 25 – Oct 25, 2012 – Cruised again in the Sea, getting as far north as San Juanico above Loreto. Back to La Paz to prepare for winter in mainland Mexico.
Dec 18, 2012 – Left for Mazatlan, followed by Isla Isabela, Matenchen Bay (San Blas), Chacala, Punta de Mita, and finally La Cruz
Jan 4 – Feb 4, 2013 – Marina Nayarit and guest house rental in La Cruz. Wonderful visits from family and friends, fabulous times playing on Banderas Bay in Vivacia and Kiapa, and exploring nearby land destinations like Sayulita, Bucerias, and Puerto Vallarta.
Feb 8 – 16, 2013 – Mazatlan for spectacular Carnaval fireworks and parade. Followed by waiting out a “norther” for a good weather window to cross over to La Paz.
Feb 18 – Mar 4, 2013 – Marina CostaBaja, La Paz, BCS, Mexico using our 2 weeks free won at a raffle last fall. Getting the boat ready to leave at Marina de La Paz while we sail to Tahiti with Lionel and Irene on their Gunboat 52 catamaran Kiapa.
Mar 4 – July?, 2013 – Vivacia and Mimi staying behind in the care of friends at Marina de La Paz while Alan and Elizabeth sail out into the Pacific on Kiapa.
Mar 18-23, 2013 – Banderas Bay Regatta (Puerto Vallarta) on Kiapa
April 1 – May 22, 2013 – Leave Paradise Village, Nuevo Vallarta, to sail to Rangiroa (in the Tuomotus) via Socorro, Fatu Hiva (Marquesas), Kauehi, Fakarava, Toau, and Apataki (Tuamotos) on Kiapa with Irene and Lionel
May 23 – July 7, 2013 – Got off Kiapa on Rangiroa. Made our own way via ship, plane, and ferry from there to various Society Islands: Tahiti, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Moorea, back to Tahiti, and to San Diego.
July 7 – July 29, 2013 – Visiting friends and family in California. Specific events: July 17 Reunion with Chevron friends in San Francisco area. July 20 Alan’s Mom’s 90th birthday in Thousand Oaks. Attempted to see Americas Cup Luis Vuitton racing. Saw one boat racing itself from a distance. Bad timing and bad luck.
July 29 – Aug 4, 2013 – Housesitting in a wonderful La Paz residence for a few days while Alan gets the surfboards, sails, canvas, solar panels, running rigging, etc. out of the cabin so we and our luggage can move back aboard. He also overstiched all the dodger and bimini canvas as the thread was disintegrating. What a concept – an indoor table on which to do the sewing!
Aug 4 – Sept 3, 2013 – The plan was putting Vivacia back together for cruising up into the Sea of Cortez in September. However, we came home to a very sick kitty.
Aug 21 – Sept 18, 2013 – Back to San Diego with sick kitty, Mimi. Sadly, she was diagnosed with cancer and given a few months to live.
Sept 18, 2013 – probably April 2014 – Hanging out in La Paz and nearby anchorages in order to be near Mimi’s local vet for regular blood tests, chemotherapy, and release when the chemo no longer gives her a good quality of life.
May – Nov, 2014 – Mimi passed away in May, after which we remained in La Paz due to health and other issues. Hurricane Odile and its aftermath occupied much of the fall. Drove up the Baja so Elizabeth could revel in the spectacular geology and had Thanksgiving in San Diego with Alan’s family.
Dec 2-13, 2014 – Cruising with good friends Dave and Kathy on their chartered Leopard 44 catamaran in the British Virgin Islands.
Dec 21, 2014 – Away from the dock at last, heading for Puerto Vallarta for a week with daughter Julia in La Cruz before heading south to Zihuatanejo.
Dec 25 – Jan 10, 2015 – La Cruz with Julia and friend Falene having a great time sailing, whale watching, zip-lining, dining, and hanging out.
Jan 11 – March 2015 – Cruising down the mainland Mexico coast as far as Acapulco.
April – May 2015 – La Paz
June – September 2015 – Banderas Bay Paradise Village, Family reunion in Michigan, Marina La Cruz and housesitting at Simply Baku.
October – December 2015 – La Paz
December 2015 – Charter catamaran in Bahamas
January 2016 – Marina La Cruz visit from daughter Julia, Paradise Village visit from brother Bob
February – May 2016 – Buddy boating with Jim and Jess on sv Hajime down mainland Mexico coast to Huatulco and back to Mazatlan.
June 2016 – Julia masters degree graduation in Houston, then La Paz
July – August 2016 – Cruised up into the Sea of Cortez as far north as Puerto Refugio, north of the Bahia de Los Angeles.
September 2016 – Returned to La Paz just in time for Hurricane Newton