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I interviewed Martina a few months back, English is not her first language so some things have been edited for clarity. This interview will give you insight into what it’s like to be a full time live aboard couple with shared responsibilities. Martina had always dreamed of becoming a sailboat captain and living on a boat. When her divorce finalized and she fell in love again, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally live her dreams. Though Martina is not a professional sailboat captain, she is certainly a great example for all of us. Never forget to shake things up in order to make your dreams happen for you!

1. Where are you From?

I’m from Zurich, Switzerland

2. Where and when did you first learn about sailing?

I grew up on the Zurich Lake and since I was a child, I’ve been familiar with boats. I only became serious with sailing boats many years later. I was 40 years old, a divorced mother of 2 adult children, newly in love, with a good job. I had a strong desire to spend my future together with my partner on a sailing boat. 

3. What events led you to decide to make sailing a priority in your life?

It came down to not wanting to wait to realize my dreams until I was retired (in Switzerland you must be 65 years old). If I had to wait, it may be too late. It’s possible that I would be too ill for this adventure, or I wouldn’t have enough strength. There are too many variables that come with waiting.  I also wanted to take more time for myself and for my hubby.  With sailing we can connect all our favorite things: being in nature, scuba diving (we’ve been diving for 15 years), traveling, learning about other cultures and people. I was convinced that I would develop a much more open and tolerant spirit through this experience.

4. Have you ever had a scary experience onboard?

Yes, near Sant Antiocca in the south-west of Sardinia. A sudden and very violent storm came through and we had no ability to dodge it. It took maybe 20 minutes, but felt like 2 hours. We were very luck that we were all okay and our boat had no damage!

5. What is your current position onboard? 

My husband and I are co-captains on our Lagoon Catamaran 400 S2, named “Vairea.“ This is our second year underway.

6. Describe the best day you’ve ever had on your boat.

This was last summer! We sailed near Ragusa on the south coast of Sicily as we saw a peculiar fin in the water. We though it was maybe a dolphin, a shark or a whale. We stopped the boat out of curiosity. When it got a little closer we figured it out: it was a Mola-Mola, a diver’s-dream! He was eating mosquito larvae on the surface. Suddenly, he came so close to our boat that we could see him in detail! We very cautiously followed him for almost half an hour!

7. What’s your favorite boat snack?

Every morning I have a smoothie! I make it with fresh fruits and vegetables, milk or fruit juice and often with matcha tea because it gives me power and satiates me for many hours. I also love Spanish tapas! Meat, fish, vegetables: warm dishes in little portions. When we make food this way there’s something for every taste!

8. What’s the best part about living on a sailboat?

Although it’s rare, it’s always special when we can enjoy perfect weather conditions, good wind, moderate waves and sunshine 🙂 I also love waking up in a small deserted anchorage, where you can hear only the surf and the birds. Not to mention the beautiful pool that we have surrounding “the house.”

9. What are some of the struggles?

I often miss my family and friends. It’s no longer very easy to see them, it takes more organization and more time. Luckily, there are modern means of communication like Skype, Handy or Email, but these things do not replace a warm embrace.

I also suffer from seasickness! Unfortunately, after a lengthy break ashore I will experience this when we go sailing again. I’ve read a lot about it and have learned to deal with it. I hope that one day it will be completely gone.

10. What have you learned about yourself through working on boats?

I have learned a lot about myself! The most impressive is that I can change everything in my life: job, house, partner, friends… but I take myself with me, everywhere. It’s important to be satisfied. On a sailing cruise, I can’t just disembark and seek distraction as I do ashore. I have to endure the time with myself.

11. What are some of your hobbies?

I love scuba diving, kayaking, cooking, painting and reading. I just bought a SUP and will try this new gadget this summer!

12. What’s the best advice you could give to people interested in a lifestyle like yours?

Sailing as a couple means taking responsibility but also making decisions as a team. A sailing lady can be an equal partner without heirarchical constraint. It’s a wonderful feeling and a big change from being on land!

13. Last thoughts?

My motto is that of the 3 C’s of life:
Choices, chances, changes
You must make a Choice to take a Chance or your life will never Change!

Thank you for reading Martina’s story. If you’d like to learn more about her adventures, visit her website or follow her on facebook.

Make sure to PIN this post for later and check out some other interviews from this series:


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