Welcome to our little blog!
We are Al and Michele, an “active adult” couple who retired and are enjoying these “golden” years. We have been married for 29 years, and have lived in Durham, and now Middletown, Connecticut. Al is a man of many talents, a mechanical engineer, a builder, a gifted carpenter, and an all-around problem solver — a true MacGyver. I (Michele) retired in 2013 from my career in education as the Director of Mathematics in a Connecticut school system. I am also a 12-year ovarian cancer survivor who now lives with lymphedema.
Al was raised on the coast of Connecticut and has always been on the water, either power or sail (think Jimmy Buffett’s Son of a Son of A Sailor.) When he is at the helm, he becomes “one with the boat” handling her on an instinctual level that few can achieve. Sailing was new to me but I quickly fell in love with it, just like I fell in love with him.
Our homeport is Shennecossett Yacht Club in Groton, Connecticut. The waters in that region delight us with many harbors, bays, and islands within easy reach.
Kindred Spirit, a 1987 Morgan 43 Center cockpit, was the fourth sailboat we owned together. Over our twelve years with her, she was carefully outfitted for the goal of eventually living aboard and sailing south. Which we did! This blog began in July 2013 as a way to record our realization of that dream.
After our wonderful adventure to the Bahamas, we sold our beloved Kindred Spirit in the summer of 2014 and purchased a 2003 Mariner Orient 38 trawler. She was our third Kindred Spirit and we returned to the Bahamas on her for the winter of 2014-2015.
After 12 months of transforming this trawler, we made our second voyage to he Bahamas from September 2015 to May, 2016. This second trip was just as special and even a little more comfortable on the trawler.
We have been home in Connecticut since that trip, taking shorter trips by boat to the New England islands, Maine, and the Hudson River.
I did not expect that I would need to update this part of the blog again, because I thought we had our last boat. I should have known better! In October 2019 we sold our fine Mariner Orient 38 and bought a 2004 Kadey Krogen 39, Hull #42, the boat of Al’s dreams. Our fourth Kindred Spirit, she is our THIRD LAST BOAT. Al has promised this one is really our last boat because there is simply nothing more we could want. Check out the page “60+ Years of Boats” to see all of Al’s boats.
Jim and Julie Brassord
Hi Al and Michele,
We love reading your blog and following your travels on your KK39. We inhabit the same waters of Fishers Island Sound in our Catalina 387, S/V Sun Dog which we keep at Noank Shipyard. Like most sailors eventually do, we are transitioning to power and Sun Dog was just listed. We are beginning to look at trawlers and without question our dream boat is a KK39 which would best fit our needs for a cruising life as we approach retirement. We have grand plans to do the Downeast Loop and if we get really ambitious, the Great Loop. We have a ton of questions about the KK39 and are wondering if you might be able to share some insights?? Are you open to an email exchange or phone chat? If so can you drop me an email at the address provided?? Many thanks and enjoy the rest of your summer!!
All best, Jim and Julie
Laura Lane Bender
We love the name of your boat. Our Grand Banks trawler is Kindred Spirit III. Obviously she follows 2 other boats that we owned—Kindred Spirit and Kindred Spirit II. Enjoy your cruising and living aboard. There’s no better life style.
This is our fourth (and last) Kindred Spirit. We were never able to come up with another name that we liked as much.
Hi Michele! I found your site through the Boat Galley. I was researching cruising and lymphedema and found your article. I wanted to reach out to you to see if I could ask you more questions about your experience.
Al & Michele, my husband and I are looking at a Mariner Orient 34 & 38. We have found little information on the brand in researching. Would love for you to share, what information you know about the quality and sea worthiness.
We just had an offer accepted on a 38 foot Mariner whic is currently down in Annapolis. It needs to go through sea trials and survey, but don’t believe those test will prove to be problematic as it is fairly new with low hours.
We kept out prior sailboat at the Westerly Yacht Club, just up the river from Napatree. We also have a mooring on Block Island.
As I read you posting I could not help to think that if I deleted your names and inserted ours this posing could be ours next summer.
Have a great winter.
Joe & Ann
Look forward to meeting up with your guys sometime.
Hello Al & Michele,
I have been following your adventure and enjoying your innovations, talents and overall positive attitude towards life. My wife and I own and operate a bareboat sailing business on the Chesapeake Bay. We recently sold our sailboat and are moving on to another chapter in our lives that will involve a trawler. We have always liked the Europa style trawler and currently have an offer in on a 2004 Mariner Orient 34. There is very limited information that I can find on these boats (print media or internet). In particular I am trying to find out if the fuel tanks are constructed out of black iron,steel or fiberglass. Both tanks are completely sealed in glass precluding a visual inspection to see if there is an inner tank beyond the glass. Any information or direction to helpful websites or publications would be most appreciated. I believe Steve Smith form Kent Island, Maryland was the person responsible for bringing the line to the US. However, I have not had any success finding any contact information.
All the best,
Hi Al & Michele,
I saw you come into Tashmoo yesterday. I am on my Tartan 27 about a quarter mile toward the inlet. I am interested in buying an Europa style trawler and would love to take a look at yours for reference if possible. If so, I could row over some time when the wind isn’t blowing. No pressure either way.
I just came across your blog and the Eagle 40 ‘Obsession’ caught my eye. I am the owner of the Eagle 40 ‘Avalon’ hull number 20, in Annapolis Md. Feel free to fwd my email address to your friend on ‘Obsession. Say hello to Loraine from Kevin and Karen formerly of the Tayana 37 ‘Dream Seeker’
We have a Mariner 40 Europa style like yours. I am curious about how you like having your dinghy on the davits on the stern. We use our swim platform most of the time getting on and off our boat. I’m guessing you do as well. Can you tell me how you are able to get around the dink and davits?
I am enjoying traveling with you down the East coast ICW. We did that trip a few years ago in our IP-37.
This could be a second comment but the sentiments are the same. I thoroughly enjoy your writing and photography – filled with fun facts and some awsome pictures. Thanks for sharing – looks like you are having a great time.
Wow, Michele, another great blog – so informative and the photographs are awesome – you should share this with the city of Mystic – it is a great ad for them – you are just filled with fun facts – very enjoyable.
I’m really enjoying reading the posts about your adventures in cruising. I can relate to your struggle as you transitioned from sail to power but I’m sure the added years on the water will be worth the change. As my boys grew older they wanted to go faster and do more than just enjoy the zen of sailing so we went from sailing to fishing. I decided I wanted to cruise so I bought a 1978 Chris Craft and rebuilt it from the stringers up only to realize it wasn’t the boat and sold it on completion. I noticed that Al is not afraid to take a tool to the task so he may enjoy my adventures on “mysite/ragtop”.
Anyway it was amazing how our search for a trawler crossed so many paths. I was convinced I wanted a Europa style and actually made an offer on a Mariner 38 in Annapolis. When I gave up we were $10K apart but my heart wasn’t in it. It was a twin and I really wanted a single. I located an Albin 36 but decided against it for all the same reasons you guys did plus it was a twin as well. I now have an Eagle 40 under contract in Connecticut and if it ever gets above freezing I am going to head up there to inspect it.
I still like the lines and roomy outside space that the Mariner offers and if the one I looked at had the single I would have probably met the seller’s price. I look forward to following you guys on your next adventure and if the CT boat works out maybe we will see you along the coast. The next time you are in Beaufort, NC let me know and I would be delighted to show you some hospitality.
Al and Michelle, Loved the blog, hope we can cross paths later this year on our way up the Hudson or on our way to Bahamas in 2016, Cheers from Australia, Colin and Dawn
Wow – those ocean photos are spectacular! I love the one with the very aqua sea and the footprints(?) on the sand…what kind of prints are those? Very interesting.
The night crossing sounds very scary to me – how dark is it? How big is the moon?
All of your fans will also miss the beautiful Bahamas that most of us will never see.
Safe travels back up to the cold and still snow covered Northeast.
Another FASCINATING day – keep these blogs coming – it is so interesting and the photos are glorious. Karen
Hi – this Hope Lighthouse blog was fascinating – you really need to publish this blog when you are back – you are such a good writer, Michele. I am enjoying your adventure – bring back some sunshine and sunsets! Keep writing. What an adventure.
Your neighbor in the CT Deep Freeze,
Michele and Al, I’m thrilled for both of you!!! As a person who loves to travel, I can appreciate the thrill of what you are doing- even if some parts of it can get difficult (shopping and stowing etc.). The experience of seeing new things and meeting new people, who are just as inspired as you are, is all worth it. There are so many people who never get to live out their dreams. I’m so glad you are able to do just that. ENJOY every minute of it! ~ Linda
Clark and Carol
Michele, of course, losing your camera was upsetting, but don’t be concerned about the quality of your photos using just your phone. They are wonderful! You need to compile a book when you return. Best wishes!
Clark and Carol
Hi Al and Michele! We just spent the weekend with Steve, Pat, Dave and Kathy at D & K’s house on Lake Winnipesaukee. Pat shared your blog with us and I’m looking forward to hearing about your travels Sounds like you two are having a grand time! We’ll get together when you return. Best wishes!
Have a great time you guys, look forward to hearing about the adventure next spring.
All the best in your adventure! I am a provisional member of Shenny, having just completed restoring “Circe”, an Islander Bahama 24. This is my first sailboat other than Sunfishes. I have been captivated with sailing since the sailboat was dropped off at our mini-farm last December….steve/nancy
“About Us”- loved your writing about you and Al. Happy retirement!o