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Love on the Water

Darren O'Brien | Published on 11/3/2023
Lisa and I were recently reminiscing about the good old days, during the first few years of living aboard Traveler back when Arriana was a mere toddler. Specifically, 2012, our very first Summer with the boat. Everything about it was amazingly perfect. And to this day, it’s still the best stretch of time cruising we’ve ever enjoyed. We moved aboard at the end of June and were soon off the dock headed for the islands, not returning to our Port Ludlow slip until the latter half of October. In those glorious 15 weeks we alternated between working (shooting gigabytes of video for the WA State Marine Parks project,) enjoying our newfound lifestyle, and getting to know our boat. And boy, did we really get to know that boat!

At the same time, we learned a lot about ourselves and our capabilities. Even at our semi-advanced ages of 45 and 51. There’s nothing quite like diving in the deep end, to find out if the liveaboard and work-aboard cruising lifestyle is for you. As you can guess, we absolutely loved it. 

Now just imagine it’s 1989. You are 28-years old, a newlywed, and heading for Mexico aboard a 26-foot sailboat. With no sailing experience! That is the premise behind the recently published memoir “Honeymoon at Sea” written by fellow PTYC member Jennifer Silva Redmond. What was originally intended as a yearlong honeymoon for Jennifer and her husband, Russel, turned into 34 years-and-counting of living aboard. Obviously, they absolutely love it, too.

Jennifer’s background as a professional editor, actress, and writer is evident throughout their captivating story. If you’re like me, you’ve likely read quite a few books written by sailors over the years. And you might agree not all great cruisers make great writers. Among my favorite “well-written boat books” include works penned by Lin Pardey, Webb Chiles, William F. Buckley, Jr., and closer to home, M. Wylie Blanchet (The Curve of Time). In my humble opinion, Jennifer’s book now stands among that esteemed register of exceptional sailing wordsmiths.

Daeron Katz and I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer about her wonderful book and subsequent live aboard life, in an episode of the Boat Geeks podcast. You can listen to some of that discussion in the Monthly PTYC podcast on our Club website. Even better, you have an opportunity to hear Jennifer and Russel regale us with their story in person at our November general meeting, as they will present the evening’s program. It should prove quite entertaining and inspirational.

Fair warning, though: much like Craig Muma’s enjoyable program last Spring about he and Marie’s trailer boating adventures in Mexico, coming to hear Jennifer and Russel speak or reading Jennifer’s book just might reignite that universal dream of sailing off to warmer climes. Which is precisely what got Lisa and I reminiscing about those wonderful, sun-filled months cruising and living aboard . . . and recalling that Traveler does have 2,500-mile range . . .

“Always approach the dock at the speed you wish to hit it.” Commodore Darren