Archives: Sailing

The New Mango Boat…

The New Mango Boat…

I sit in the cockpit of our new boat, Mila is standing in-between my legs trying to balance herself while reaching into a pile of soggy, dirty leaves she would love to taste and Jaxon measures the inside. Beer in one hand, we talk about the very few modifications we want to do to the inside before taking her out to the water.

A big space for Mila to safely play is our biggest priority. We particularly chose this boat for its spacious cabin, which divides the inside space in two. A v-berth for Jax and I and a spacious settee arrangement that will be governed by Mila and her sibling in the years to come. We can imagine doing all kinds of adventures in our little Windrose 18’. As we discuss which type of mango will grant her its name, we realized that as Surkha, this this boat is yet another boat step towards the vessel that one day will take us around the world.

Our Sunday morning was spent in Home Depot gathering everything we needed for our first boat project. Mila was so excited that she refused to take her morning nap, making it incredibly difficult to shop with a miniature person eager to walk right behind daddy. Our hardware shopping was followed by a visit to the fabric store. After an hour of browsing beautiful potential cushion fabric, we were informed that no more than 10 yards of any fabric we were interested in was stocked and the 13 yards we needed must be ordered in. So, we left empty handed and ready for some online shopping.

The photos below are a mix of:

Our weekend up in Wisconsin, where we not only got to see Mark and Ellen, but lots of friends including our Zuleta neighbors, Chris, Su and baby Art.

This weekend we also got to see our friends Willow and Tony.

Ok… not enough photos of the boat… I know! Don’t judge me! Try to balance a wannabe-walker and a camera on a boat, not easy.

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Our new boat

Our new boat

One boat, two boats, three boats, four boats, five boats and a pile of miles later, we have purchased our new sailboat! It is yellow, 18 feet (5.5 meters) long and it fits in our garage.

It does not take long for Jax and I to want to pack up our bags and set off for a new adventure. We have discussed the idea of buying an old camper/bus and setting off to explore the Americas. We have talked about a new sailboat to explore the Caribbean and we have wondered about just buying tickets to a country with a new culture and language and setting off from there. Yet every time we explore these ideas further, we are reminded of why we committed to Chicago for the next number of years. After much discussion about how we need to get our adventure fix while living in metropolis, we concluded that a sailboat must be in our life. It would not only bring ease to our skipper soul, but it would accomplish the double purpose of teaching our baby girl how to sail – for when we do venture out.

There is only one thing that needs to happen to this boat before we can see her sails flapping in the wind. We need to make her some new cushions for the inside. (Which will be my night project these coming weeks)

The photos below are of all the boats we saw. The last two are of our new boat, which now sits in our garage. As the next weeks unfold we will be posting more photos.


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Visit from las tias

Visit from las tias

48 hours after returning from cheeseland, four of some of our very good friends arrived from Ecuador. I’ve known Delia, Alejandra and Bernarda since my Power Ranger Era and Manuela since I was a dinosaur-looking embryo! The four of them, along with four other girls that are currently dispersed throughout the world, and me have been a tight group since 6th grade. Together, we have been through a lot – of parties – way too many combined breakups, math exam days – and chuchaqui mornings. And even though we survived adolescence as a pack, I am proud to say that drama within our group always stayed uncharastically low for teenage girls. Having had grown up with them, it was particularly special for me to have them meet Mila.

Manuela’s second question after arriving was “how was the birth?” and “fine” or “good” or “amazing” was not what they wanted to hear. Being the first of the group to deliver, they wanted to know every single detail and see every single photo. While Mila cuddled with each tía, we talked, talked and talked some more – something we have always done well. And while Mila’s birth, Alejandra’s return to the country, Bernarda’s finished thesis, Delia’s new job and Manuela’s soon-to-be last essay were being discussed, I couldn’t help myself to think back to the days in highschool when we counted the weeks until the next feriado, so we could hop in a car and drive to Manuela’s grandparents’ house in the beach, play telefunque and smoke way too many cigarrettes. Life just happened, years got left behind and now here they were holding my baby. So much love and so much laughter – I love my friends.

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Mila’s first big roadtrip

Mila’s first big roadtrip

Yesterday morning we woke up to the smell of winter. After a chilly night, we could tell that snow was not too far away. It was still dark out and Mila had not woken up to eat yet, even though the clock read 4:30 am – she skipped a meal I thought and we proceeded to wrap ourselves in well deserved layers. After some big hugs, coffee and last minute “oh I forgots”, we drove off from Jaxon’s parents home. Aboard our stuffed Prius were Yaku, Yana, Jax, Mila and I. The last 10 days, were spent surrounded by family, friends, incredible food, lots of apples and pears and falling leafs. During our short stay, Mila met close to (if not more) 103 people and was held by almost all of them, including Xavi a 4 year old gorgeous little boy that kissed and sang to her. Yaku and Yana, had the best time they have had since leaving Zuleta. Outside, like the lion and wolf that they think they are, they scared every living creature (mostly squirrels and grouses) from Mark and Ellen’s property. From the moment they left the car, they only stopped running to fight or snuggle underneath a now fruitless apple tree.

From mid 90s fahrenheit, we dropped to 50s in just two days. Mila’s adaptability worried me, so I packed everything long-sleeved I could get my hands on (three outfits a day is not overpacking…). Anyway, I was prepared for anything, but baby Mila had another plan in mind. She wanted to wear exactly what she wore at home – a short sleeve onesie. Turns out Mila loves being just a bit cold – so I went with the flow – and made her wear the long sleeves anyway… which resulted in a happy naked baby over the breakfast table and a mom running upstairs to get something less warm.

Other than showing off our beautiful baby and bragging about parenthood, we took LOTS of walks around Mark and Ellen’s trails – ventures that initially were implemented to help Mila fall asleep, but the excitement and beauty of the view meant that pretty quickly, it took close to 40 min until she finally would close her eyes. Jaxon’s “little sis” Willow and her boyfriend (tío) Toni were there for their fall break, which meant Jax and I got to cash in some baby sitting time and snuck upstairs to clean our room (stuffed with three houses’ worth of boxes) – super romantic…

The smell of beach is now hugging me, as I sit on the edge of the bed looking after a pretty tired-sleeping baby and a feverish super Jaxon. After a wonderful drive up to WI, we ended up having a not so great drive down… Mila and the dogs were, as they were on the way up, outstanding. But Jax started to feel sick pretty soon after leaving his parents and having to do all of the driving, he was left with no option but to ignore his throat, feverish body and runny nose. Due to his amazing attitude, I did not know how bad it was until we opened our house’s door and he said “I think I need a hug”.

Our visit in Wisconsin was short and there were a lot of people we missed! Fortunately we will be back in December. Thank you to all of you who came our way! I know many of you drove a lot to get to Almond! We absolutely loved seeing you!

Tomorrow we will have the beautiful company of four of my very best friends, who have travelled from Ecuador and New Orleans to “spoil” Mila.

Oh yeah – on our way down, we stopped and peaked at a Corbin 39 Mark II – more about that later.


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Is Lake Lanier, Georgia our next stop?

Is Lake Lanier, Georgia our next stop?

What does Lake Lanier have you might wonder. Well, a sailboat. But not just any vessel, a center cockpit, pilot house Corbin 39 (mark II) – our circumnavigating dreamboat (to learn more visit our Corbin 39 page). Only a couple hundred Corbins were ever made and of those, the configuration we are looking for is the rarest. Since we have been researching Corbins, two years now, we have only seen three Center Cockpit, Pilot House Mark II’s go up for sale. Of those, only two are left – one in France and another in Lake Lanier, Georgia – a mere 6 hours away from our current home. Our lease runs out in May and although we absolutely love our current home, the ocean calls for us. Will Lake Lanier be our next stop? Will preparing to sail the world be our next adventure? Will the boat still be available? It is obviously too soon to tell. Mila is still so young! Will she love sailing as much as we do? Will she get seasick? So many questions unanswered.

This morning, we went out for our morning walk on the beach. Jaxon with the pups, me with mini Mila. As we walked out, 50 feet from shore, behind a few surfers, a pode of dolphins played in the waves. Jaxon and I looked at each other and without needing to hunt for words, we both knew that there is where we wanted to be. After more than a month of watching The America’s Cup and Louis Vuitton Cup regattas and tonight, watching Jimmy Spithill and Oracle Team USA successfully defend the cup, we both know – life aboard is still very much in our future. Sailing, the ocean and our craving to see this world and document through our cameras and our daughter’s eyes are inspirations to keep pushing for this lifestyle.

Airshot of Lake Lanier by  Christine4ier


<!--:en-->Mumbling out loud, thanksgiving<!--:-->

Mumbling out loud, thanksgiving

Last year our Thanksgiving meal was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at 1:00 am, we were exhausted after sailing only 100 miles in 14 hours. The reason for our delay, Zachary the Pirate .

This time around, we were sitting in La Casita in the middle of the Andes. Chris, Sue, Jax and I had planned a small evening event. We did not have very high expectations for the food or anything, but wanted to get together. At around 5:00pm Jax and I stepped out of work and started getting ready for our meal. Sue and Chris arrived shortly after, with a big surprise, my brother Antonio. I never though of inviting my family over! But Susana and Chris had and I loved the idea. So we starting preparing the meal and soon after Caro, Manuel and my dad showed up. The house was packed and spirits high. We made, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, squash/ginger soup, green beans, tiramisu and even pumpkin pie. What an amazing dinner and what a joy to have shared it with my family and friends in such a distant place in the world. Pablo and Mary are considering moving to Zuleta before heading to Germany in May, wouldn’t that be awesome!

I have been missing sailing a lot lately and cannot wait until we move aboard again, but the same time could not be happier about our current state. Life has been so generous with us and I actually think that we will leave Ecuador having had fulfilled most of the things we came here for. Plans are constantly changing around here, starting a family is on the table, moving to an island in the Caribbean for a little while has been discussed. Who knows, it is all a mystery to us, for now we will just flow…

A year ago

A year ago

365 days ago we were installing a dorade box in Surkha and cleaning her water tank. We went for a swim, took VaLaura out for a sail in Sturgeon Bay and watch the local regatta. Later that evening we went out for a romantic dinner and bought some books at the local bookstore. Crazy how time flies. The craziest thing is that I can remember all this because of this blog and our photos – thank you Mangolandia.

Today, we spent a good chunk of the day working and the other part enjoying a mountain bike race that is going on in Zuleta. 300 bikers have set up their tents in the community’s soccer field. Today, they climbed – various – mountains, tomorrow they will climb a few more. It looks painful. I am pretty sure it is. We will post some photos of the race tomorrow.

<!--:en-->The Pardeys, Quito, Zuleta<!--:-->

The Pardeys, Quito, Zuleta

Yesterday, we arrived to La Casita, after having had spent a few days in Quito trying to apply for a visa for Jaxon. We will attempt this again Friday, this time it will be a volunteer visa. Photographing Quito is an incredible experience, we are often amazed of all the little details we can find in the city while quickly passing by.

On our drive back we did one of our top favorite things to do, read out loud a book to each other. As I was driving us home, Jax read to me “Cruising in Seraffyn” a book by Lin and Larry Pardey, about their early adventures as a full time cruising couple. Once we got home, we quickly put our things away and headed to bed to continue reading – what a journey. Our sailing spirit is itching, we have found an ease by constantly researching our next steps, which surprisingly help us focus on the ones we are taking now.

Today, we worked, researched boats (we are leaning more towards a Corbin 39 – exciting) and hiked. It was a great, relaxing and productive day. Hope you all had a great day too.

<!--:en-->Looking for a sailboat<!--:-->

Looking for a sailboat

As you might have read in this blog before, we have started researching our next boat. The vessel that will take us around the world. We recently added a page in the menu dedicated to our research.

So, if you are also looking for a boat, selling a sailboat or are simply curious, take a look. Let us know what you think of the models we have in mind, recommend others that fit into our specifications and enjoy.

Looking for a sailboat

Looking for a sailboat

July 2012 we sold our beautiful Ranger 28. Now, we are on the look out for a new boat, one that will take us around the world. We currently live in Zuleta, in a small house in the Northern Andes of Ecuador. We have been here since December 2011, getting our economic situation ready for our circumnavigation. As of now, the plan is to buy our next boat after our wedding on August 2013 and move aboard between then and December.

We have always enjoyed researching sailboats and that is exactly what we have been doing since we decided we will attempt to go around this earth by sail. Below, you will find our favorite picks. We have found a lot of the models we like through Blue Water Boats, so you’ll see that site often below.

What we are looking for:

(If you are a sailor looking to sell your boat and have any of the models below or a boat that fits our specification, shoot us an email and we will certainly consider your boat as our next home).

Our next boat has to be a blue water worthy boat. Granted all boats can be sailed in blue water, but we are looking for a full keel or center board (this latter one will only be considered if there have been other sailors who recommend this specific model, after having had sailed her in big water themselves). We want a center-cockpit, 39-43 ft. (to 45ft -maybe) long. With a v-berth and an aft state-room, preferably both with a head. The galley must be an important part of the layout and the main cabin layout has to be cozy, unlike Surkha (our Ranger 28) whose main cabin consisted of two benches facing each other. I have included a picture of the models we are considering, why and a link to a full description of the boat in Blue Water Boats.

This might be our favorite boat so far. Our favorite part of the Corbin 39, is the layout inside. It has a spacious galley, two state-rooms, two heads and a nice main cabin that can sleep 4 people. In most vessels these characteristics come in hand with poor sailing performance, a big boat and not blue water worthy. Not the Corbin though, according to what we have read. Marius Corbin, who commissioned Dufour to design the boat, states the following regarding to their circumnavigation-worthiness, “Safely and comfortably around the world…We get postcards from all over the world…what better recommendation is there for a strong and seaworthy vessel.” We have also read other reviews where blue water sailing is listed as one of her attributes. One problem we have found is that, due to the custom nature of their production there can be a lot of variation of materials used inside the cabin. Some can be beautiful teak, while others give the impression of unfinished boats. If you have a Corbin, we are interested. Please contact us. If you have any advice regarding the boat, let us know.

Review of Corbin 39 and another one from Jordan Yatchs.

The Endeavour 43, is on our list for various reasons, price, layout, space and keel. The cabin layout is beautiful, fitting all our requirements. Due to its high production since the 80s, there are a lot of Endeavor 43s and they are under $100k. The deck space is suppose to be very well designed and people love it. Now, some of the downsides are, its in water performance, Bernie Katchor a long time sailor disputes the Endevour performace saying that he has sailed his in open water for 17 years and has never found it to be a poor performant. If you are interested in this boat, here is a link to Katchor’s book, Around The Next Bend, where he talks about the pros and cons of Endeavours, plus his adventures.

Here is a link to the Endeavour 43 review in Blue Water Boat.

This boat fits everyone of our requirements, but the galley layout, which is located in a hallway – which could be nice for counter space, but not so much for…. walking. The Bristol 45 has a similar layout with a better designed galley, but its sailing reviews are not stellar, plus it is 2 ft above our “perfect” boat. Nonetheless if we find a Bristol 41 outfitted for a circumnavigation, we will take her.

The Bristol 41.1 review. 

Chillaxing + Sailboats

Chillaxing + Sailboats

Our last few days have been incredibly fun, in a personal way. We have had the chance to see a lot of people we missed and see what they are up to. Such as our friends Sam and James who are refitting an old Greyhound Coach style bus from the 1950s be their home and Vinnie and Gina, who are two weeks away from giving birth to their first child! Wisconsin is undeniably hot, but it is not as draining as Alabama, so we are happy for that.

We have also been working, whenever we have the chance. When we are not working we are looking at sailboats and/or scanning through twin babies research.

Anyway – boats: So, they have been on our mind and one model in particular. The Morgan Out Islander 41 (OI 41), maybe models built after 1986 – the year that some problems in the hull were improved – after Catalina Yachts acquired Morgan Yatchs. The OI 41, a Charley Morgan design, have been in production since the early 70s. These boats were some of the first fiberglass boats of this size with a center-cockpit, a design element targeted at the emerging bareboat charter industry and are considered some of the first fiberglass boats to really favor comfort and space belowdecks to speed and windward performance. In 91, production stopped after 20 years, by then over 1,000 boats have been launched.


  • Cabin space and potential of sleeping 7 friends/family
  • Price range
  • Reliability reputation
  • While not major ocean going boats, a number have done extensive intercontinental voyaging, including one that was the subject of a series of books by Earl Hinz, in which he and his wife cruise throughout the Pacific for years.


  • Wheel for steering
  • Fin keel (unless we go pre 1986, at which point, it has a very nice shoal draft full keel)
  • Reliability/reputation (this appeared in the other list also, as every boat has vocal detractors and proponents)

We will write more about this boat and many others in the future, for now I’ll leave you with comically named article, Morgan Out Island 41, The Original Charter Barge.

Selling Surkha today?

Selling Surkha today?

Last night, 3 days after posting Surkha on Craigslist, 2 days after being contacted by the first potential buyer, Mike stepped from the dock to Surkha’s decks. He had brought us a bottle of wine as a welcome to Mobile and the South, as he had noted in our phone conversations, that we were both far away from our homes. We didn’t know what to expect inviting this stranger to our boat, to potentially be her new owner, but whatever expectations we had were pleasantly exceeded.

The three of us ended up spending over an hour talking about sailing, poking around the boat, exploring her quirks and upgrades. After the tour, we decided that he would think it over during the night and that most likely we would meet up again this morning around 11, to haul Surkha out of the water for a bottom inspection…

And that’s exactly where we are at. Up early, we are going to clean to decks and box up our last bit of stuff. Breath held, we are hoping for a positive haul-out and sale thereafter.

Ayer en la noche, tres días después de poner Surkha en Craigslist y 2 días después de que la primera persona nos contacto para comprarle, Mike llego a nuestro velero. Nos trajo una botella de vino, como un regalo de bienvenida a Mobile y a la parte sur de Estados Unidos – el notó en nuestras conversaciones de teléfono que nosotros dos estamos muy lejos de nuestra casa. No sabíamos que iba pasar, teniendo un desconocido en el barco y un potencial nuevo dueño, pero nuestras expectativas fueron excedidas.

Al final, nosotros très hablamos por unas horas, discutiendo la arte de navegar, barcos, y Surkha. Después del tour, decidimos que el iba pensarlo en la noche y que probablemente, hoy en la mañana ibamos a sacarle del agua para ver la condición de la parte de abajo.

Y eso es exactamente en lo que estamos ahorita. Nos despertamos temprano, en un ratito vamos a limpiar los cubiertas y empacar nuestras ultimas cosas en cajas para aumentar a nuestra montaña de cartón en el muelle. Esperamos que estos próximos pasos vayan bien y que vendamos a Surkha.

Surkha’s surprise

Surkha’s surprise

“She’s still floating” Jax said, when we parked the car in front of Surkha yesterday morning. We had driven most of the night, thanks to Martels’s words which kept us awake, and seeing our boat was all we wanted. We walked towards Surkha and hopped into the cockpit. The outside looked very clean, but we could see black mold all around the hatch, ” hopefully this is not a preview of what we’ll see inside” I said. We opened her up and an earthy smell came flying out. Yes, indeed our boat was covered with a dark mold. We looked at each other and said “We expected bad and I think that’s what we have, time to start working”.

Surkha, was only meant to stay in the water alone for a month, our decision to stay in Ecuador meant that she was left floating for 7 months without the proper preparation. We looked around the cabin and saw that the moldyist thing we had, were the “carpeted” walls our boat came with, these were later torn out.

We dropped off the car, picked up some cleaning supplies and started to work on Surkha at around 10:00am. We took EVERYTHING out – because it all had to be washed. The scene reminded me of when we first got her. Some food was lost, luckily the glass jar protected most of it, and some clothes were lost to really bad mold stains. Other than that, it was all cleanable. Inside, we found spiders, lots little larvae and a wasp nest equipped with its owners – they were cleaned too.

At around 11:00pm we ready to hit the sack, so we lay clean sheets in each one of the settees in the main cabin and for the first time in boat history, we slept apart. Today I am glad to see the day is cloudy, yesterday the sun was out all day and it would be fair to say that we both sweated our bodies weight working. After Jax wakes we will continue to work, focusing on the engine and interiors a little bit more. We hope we can make it out by tomorrow, we’ll see.

sailing around the world planning starts

And we have started!! The boat/sailing research!! We said we will stay in Ecuador for 1.6 to 2 years. 6 months have passed and we are getting ready to start sailing again, this time we are convinced we want to arrive to Denmark on our boat – and we will not be taking the Atlantic Route.

Surkha, our wonderful Ranger 28, will not be taking us there, so we have started to research boats again. Obviously, we have no conclusions yet.

But I’ll leave you with two very good articles:

1. Extreme Ocean Gear Testing was sent to us by one of our Beloit Professor, Warren Palmer. The article talks about Matt Rutherford who recently became the first non-stop solo-sailor to circumnavigate the Americas. In the article Ralph Naranjo, tells Rutherford’s crazy story and gives his reviews of the best, good enough and worse equipment. Worth your eye if you are into blue water cruising.
Thanks Warren we enjoyed it a lot!

2. The Best Boat for World Voyaging I don’t quite remember how I found this article! Regardless, if you are thinking of sailing the world, which I know a lot of you have mentioned. Then check some of these boats. The article is okay, the list is also good, although its size makes it hard to really read well, without zooming in.

3. And anwesome video:

The one week countdown

The one week countdown

It is hard to explain how much I’m holding my breath writing this post! Not because I am trying to slowly faint, but because Jax and I can barely concentrate, we can just entertain the thought that in 1 WEEK we will be in Surkha! We have missed our boat so much, even more the water and even more than that, sailing!!! We miss those three thing so much, that we are almost ready to set a date for leaving Ecuador and beginning our world cruising trip! But we wont. We came here for a reason, to create a flow of income so that we can continue traveling and spend time with family here and we will achieve this and then leave. Regardless, we are too excited to see Surkha again. Tomorrow or Friday we take off to Quito, Monday we will drop the puppies off at my mom’s farm, San Jose and make sure they get settled in. We will spend some time with my mom and sister and by Wednesday morning we will be on a plane, going to Miami, by that afternoon driving to Alabama and by that night we will be watching the stars from Surkha!!! I might now faint of excitement – time calm down and continue working.

Es difícil describir que tan emocionada estoy mientras escribo estas palabras, mi cara seguramente esta morada porque casi no puedo respirar de la emoción cuando pienso que en una semana estaremos en Surkha, nuestro velero. Extrañamos a nuestro barco tanto, no podemos pensar de nuestra vida lejos del agua y es hasta más difícil concebir de nuestra vida sin el viento de las velas en nuestra cara. Es más extrañamos nuestra vida en un barco tanto que estamos a pocos pasos de poner una fecha a nuestra partida de Ecuador. Pero no lo haremos, vinimos a tierra firme a crear un salario constante para poder seguir viajando y no nos marcharemos sin hacerlo. De cualquier modo estamos tan emocionados de ver a nuestro hermoso barco. Mañana o el Viernes saldremos de la casa rumbo a Quito, después de unos días visitando a mi mama y hermana iremos a dejar a Yaku y Yana en San José. Para el Miércoles de mañana estaremos en un avión a Miami, esa misma tarde en un carro yendo a Mobile, Alabama y para esa noche en nuestro barco viendo las estrellas. AAAA – que emoción – bueno hora de seguir trabajando!  

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