Steve and Laura Brown were married in 1979 and have been enjoying life together ever since. We took a one year sabbatical in 1997 to cruise the Caribbean on our Moody 40, Orontes. Our children, then 14 and 4, cruised with us, of course. Cory completed his sophomore year of high school on board, while Christy mastered crayons, playing with dolls, and eating mangos without losing too much of the juice.
We began sailing a long time ago on much smaller boats on inland lakes. Steve learned the basics while in Scouts, and then learned a lot while on a one-week cruise to the Florida Keys on an ASA instructor’s boat, a beautiful Mason 48. Having Captain Jay explain and demonstrate proper ways to stow lines, set sails, anchor, go aground (!), etc. was invaluable. This was our first experience on a large boat and went a long way towards giving us experience we would need later.
We both took courses from the US Power Squadron, which we heartily recommend. Laura completed through Piloting, while Steve completed through Advanced Piloting. These courses gave us the knowledge we needed to plot courses and safely follow them.
All the book learning was great, but time on the water is where you really learn how to handle your boat. During our one year cruise, we went from Texas to St. Lucia, stopping at a lot of beautiful places along the way. Although neither of us are real history buffs it was very interesting to visit the old forts and scenes of sea battles between the English and French as they battled for supremacy of the Caribbean.
We bought Orontes 2, our present boat, in La Paz, Mexico. We took several trips there to work on her and get her ready for the long trip to Texas. Finally, we arranged to hire a captain and crew to bring her to Panama, where we would meet them and bring her the rest of the way home. This didn’t work out as planned, and the delivery crew only made it as far as Ixtapa, Mexico before breaking down with transmission and prop shaft problems. Laura, Cory, and Steve flew down, sorted out the problems, and prepared for the trip the rest of the way to Panama. Laura flew home, Larry Mask, (a great friend!) flew down, and Steve, Cory, and Larry brought her to Panama.
Larry had to get back to work, so Laura and another great friend, Adam Gouge, flew down to take her through the canal. After passing through the canal, Laura flew home, and Cory, Steve, and Adam sailed her from Panama to Isla Muerjes, Mexico. After a great week-long stay, Adam had to leave and two more great friends, Griff Finkenaur and Mike Dempsey, flew in for the last leg across the Gulf of Mexico to Texas.
The delivery home gave us plenty of time to see how the boat performed at sea, and where some improvements may be made. In short, Grahamme Shannon and Robert Perry did a fantastic job on the initial design and she sails like a dream. I have another post on the boat description so I won’t repeat myself here.
Today, Laura and Steve are retired from our careers as a Physician Assistant and Electrical Engineer, respectively. We have sold our house and moved aboard and are living the dream. We left Texas in March 2015 to start cruising and are in the Mediterranean all of 2016. Plans from now on are a bit fuzzy, but we will be in the Med for a while and then sail back across the Atlantic to spend a couple of years in the Caribbean. We’ll update everyone when we start to finalize these plans.