We are high school sweethearts from St. Catharines, in the Niagara Region (Canada), along the southern shore of Lake Ontario. We’ve spent the past 35 or so years getting to know each other better, but there’s still so much to learn, it seems!
Along the way, we’ve been very blessed. We moved to Toronto in our twenties, raised two wonderful kids into thriving, wonderful adults. And we stayed gainfully employed throughout the years. Time to start sailing!
Thom grew up sailing on the 26′ glass-over-plywood Thunderbird that his father built in their backyard and on the fleet of Nutshells at the junior sailor’s school. But it wasn’t until we were both in our fifties that we discovered that Kathleen also loves to sail.
For Thom’s 50th birthday, Kathleen surprised him with a one-week trip, relocating a schooner from Charleston to Boston. The trip turned out to be very stormy and very cold. While half the crew spent the afternoons losing their breakfast, Kathleen was having a great time! After a second schooner adventure a year later, we were having dinner when we started riffing on the idea of buying a boat and heading south. We’d only been discussing the idea for about 15 minutes when we both looked at each other with that look that meant this was gonna happen.
To get our feet wet, we joined the Toronto Harbourfront Sailing Club where we raced old J24s and sailed a Niagara 35. Kath took basic sailing lessons and we both took CanSail courses on Lake Ontario and in the BVI’s in cruising and navigation. Later we returned to the BVIs to get RYA Dayskipper and Competent Crew certifications.
In 2015, we started boat shopping. After travelling hundreds of miles, we settled on a Niagara 35 called Spartan. She was gently used and extremely well maintained. But not ready for full-time cruising. So, for the past two years, we’ve been learning lots and making the modifications that we need to cruise south.