our boat size is perfect for the marinas and
anchorages we’ve visited.
TOP: Fishing from the aft salon. CENTER: Nicholas hams it up for the camera
while Eileen gets eaten by a shark in Key West, and right, snorkelling in the
Bahamas. BOTTOM: Kayaking in the Bahamas.
Florida Keys and Bahamas over the summer
of 2010. We’re currently home again to
replenish our bank account and for more
repairs. Ah, the joys of a 30-year-old boat …
LOOKING FOR BONES
I’m not a minimalist at heart. I’d love more
power, I need refrigeration, and I crave
space. In short, I guess I want a house that
also happens to float. When we first began
searching for our boat, our criteria were
few. First, we’re powerboaters. Second, we
needed enough staterooms and physical
space for our family. Third, I wanted a large
galley up, so I could have household-size
appliances and be part of the family activity.
Finally, my husband wanted classic lines.
We were smack dab in the middle of the
typical boater’s conflict: bigger and older, or
smaller and newer. We chose the former. We
knew we had to look for “bones” and not a
completed, cruising-ready boat.
When we found Lady Enna, my husband
fell in love. The hull of our 56-foot, 30-year-
old Matthews was laid up in 1974 and completed in 1979 in Portland, Massachusetts.
She’d been through a few owners and was
showing serious signs of wear, but she had
everything we wanted.
Over the next few years, we worked on
a seemingly endless list of labors, inside and
out. Sure, I have dreams of a slightly larger
boat to add an en suite guest stateroom, a
swim-up open cockpit to store water toys
and our dinghy, and a dining table for
eight. But in reality, when we’re underway,
NOT ALL SUNSETS
AND HAPPY HOUR
For those who dream of sailing away into the
distant sunset with the wind in your hair,
and your watch at the bottom of the ocean,
here’s the reality: Boats require constant
attention, and those warm and beautiful destinations leave you sweating while working.
As I once heard someone say, “Cruising
is working on your boat in exotic locations.”
Luckily, my superhero husband, along with
his network of friends and family, can fix
anything mechanical, electrical, or structural.
That’s the key to our ability to cruise. We
can’t afford to call a mechanic every time
something fails. But even Nick’s expertise
has been taxed quite a few times, including:
n A weld on our aft fuel tank blew apart,
leaking 150 gallons of diesel onto the master-stateroom floor. We had good friends aboard
who helped us clean it all up and not a drop
ended up in our bilge or in the beautiful
n A leak in the salon ceiling allowed buckets
of rain to turn our formerly dry interior into
a rain forest. So instead of being able to enjoy
the gorgeous passage from Eleuthera to The
Abacos, Nick and I were in our flybridge,
fiberglassing the leak.
n We had a huge power issue that impacted
our new inverter for many months. The
first night, nothing worked and we had no
power at all. While Nick sweated it out in
the engine room, the kids and I ate cereal
for dinner, lit candles, and told ghost stories.
They remember that night as one of the highlights of our trip — turning adversity into a
My own struggle is with electricity —
110, 220, generator, inverter, 50-amp, breakers — I’ve learned more about electricity
than I ever wanted to. I’m a city girl used to
flipping an on/off switch, not load-balancing
my electrical use. This is one of the main
issues I struggle with even after boating for
12 years. I just want things to turn on.
“ARE YOU INDEPENDENTLY
WEALTHY OR SOMETHING?”
Boating can be expensive. As we travel
around and get to know people, the ones
we’ve grown close to always ask about how
we afford to do this. The few times we’ve
taken Nick’s parents on a cruise with us,