Welcome to the final story of Sailing Through Life. I wish to introduce my remarkable daughter Sophie. I cannot begin to articulate how proud I am of Sophie. Her passion for life, sailing, the ocean and humanity is infectious. Here is her story…
What brought you to the sailing lifestyle? How did you end up on a boat?
Well… I suppose I didn’t choose sailing and boat life… rather my Mum almost delivered me on the foredeck of Sago, the 42-foot steel cruising yacht that brought many family bonding and strengthening sessions for the next 18 years.
I mean once I was old enough to move out of home, I could have moved into a share house like most 18–19-year old’s and refuse to have anything more to do with boats, but instead I chose to go on a boat hunting mission to find my very own sailboat to continue the sailing lifestyle that was ingrained into me throughout my childhood. I had in my head that I didn’t just want to take a gap year but to make travel a part of my everyday life. So, it made sense for me to get a boat and although I wouldn’t travel straight away after finishing school, I may be able to maintain travel for longer by living cheaply and minimally aboard the boat at the same time as sailing Australia’s coastline and outlying islands…and hopefully one day, beyond.
I am now living aboard my 34-foot sailboat Nakama with my partner Simon and cat Chilli, studying and working all from my computer while sailing the East Coast of Australia, I have to pinch myself sometimes.
What appeals to you about the sailing lifestyle?
To be able to travel cheaply and minimally with your roaming home to explore new coastlines, islands and towns.
At the heart of living on the boat is of course living on the water. The water and ocean are everything to me. I’m in constant awe of how it adapts and changes so quickly to the conditions surrounding it. It’s un-forgivingness is probably my biggest fear of all but it’s life, rich blues and the sound of it gushing past you is my biggest joy. Each stretch of coast and ocean is so unique and different.
These legs we do hopping up the coast is the time I can be in the moment and take a breath in our (surprisingly) busy lives, a restart before settling in somewhere to sit on our laptops for another week. In the most part, I would say I don’t like crowds, sailing is pretty good for that! Allowing you to see places only so few get to see and consequently, there’s no crowds…in all, for me it’s just a good lifestyle to choose.
What are you most proud of or what are your personal sailing achievements?
My partner joined me aboard Nakama with no sailing experience so I would say a personal sailing achievement was getting us out there and getting Simon used to the boat and sailing in general. I’m pretty proud that he took to it and we have made a lifestyle out of it. Now everything is pretty natural onboard, and sailing is almost a routine, but that proud feeling I got pulling into a new place then is still very much something I feel now each time, I think that’s something you will always feel getting somewhere under your own steam.
What are the good/bad/ugly of sailing at this stage of your life?
Most people we come across makes comment that it is SO good that we are doing this while we are young. And I suppose they are right, the good of sailing at this stage in my life is I don’t have the full load of commitments someone may have 10 years older than myself, for example, kids, a house…Having a body that is able to keep up with the physical demands of sailing as well as to be able to function on very very little sleep is also a handy element of being young while sailing.
Hhmm, I feel ‘bad’ is a too harsh of a word so maybe I can change that to ‘what are the difficulties of sailing at this stage in your life?’ annnddd let’s say that is money…every cent is really cherished aboard Nakama. Living is pretty cheap when you’re cruising as you don’t have the temptation of shops nor do you pay rent to live on anchor, but the boat certainty gets neglected when it comes to instruments that some wouldn’t dare to go without, and it would be nice to have some of those bare necessities. BOAT is commonly referred to as an acronym for ‘Bring Out Another Thousand’, which is a harsh reality for two full time uni students. In saying that though, when a new bit of equipment is installed on Nakama it doesn’t go without HUGE appreciation. The wait just makes it THAT much better. We went without an autopilot until the start of this year, and I still look at the interface with pure joy. It seems like magic that it even works. I honestly still can’t believe it.
Ugly is my hair after a month without a freshwater shower and my hairy armpits…eh, but that’s just all a part of the fun too.
What are your plans for the future?
This year my partner and I have adopted a no turning back policy as we are such incredibly slow sailors due to uni and other laptop commitments. We figured if we kept turning south for cyclone season, we would never make any further ground. Our plans at the moment and for the future is to keep heading north, then west, then south, keeping Australia to our left…if you get my drift. We would both love to eventually head offshore and overseas but we think that will be when we have finished our degrees and hopefully have a little bit more money.
You can watch Slim & Soph – Sailing Nakama at: YouTube