Sue LaNeve, owner of a Kadey-Krogen 55′ Expedition named INVICTUS, beautifully captures the freedom and adventure (what she always wanted) that our beloved cruising lifestyle delivers. She proves that when you keep pursuing new, life-stretching experiences, you might just end up on a Kadey-Krogen and having the time of your life!
Don and I celebrated our fourth anniversary aboard a shiny new 19-foot cuddy cabin, delirious with excitement, ready for adventure. After 26 years and five boats later, we took ownership of our first Kadey-Krogen to honor our 30th wedding anniversary. Freebird, a 1996 Krogen 48’ North Sea widebody, was a grand old gal, alive with personality.
One afternoon, as I sat at the helm, waiting those last seemingly interminable minutes for a bridge to open, doing the gear dance to help Freebird resist a forward current, Don asked me, “When you were a little girl, did you ever imagine yourself at the helm of a boat like this?”
“Never in a million years,” I replied. Looking back, I probably should have said, “Always.”
Growing up in the 1950s in the small town of West Miami, I was limited to what I was allowed to do. The older boys bullied, and my dad worried. I didn’t like playing with dolls, so what was a girl to do? I snuck off to my neighbor’s huge tree, built imaginary worlds, and transformed the trunk and branches into a rocket to pilot or a pirate ship to captain. I soared through space and crossed oceans.
Sleep-away summer camp loosened the reins, freeing me to shoot rifles and arrows, to hike and ride horses. I rowed a canoe and sailed a pram. They were the happiest summers I’d ever known. College road trips introduced me to the gypsy hiding in my heart. But I found a constant frustration in having to return to school, limiting how long and how far I could go.
So, what does any of this have to do with my enjoyment in life as a full-time cruiser aboard a Kadey-Krogen yacht? Synchronicity and momentum ensured the events in my life would eventually lead me here.
In 1982, I married a man who’d crewed aboard his dad’s cabin cruiser on the Ohio River. Over our 36 years together, we’ve lived in seven homes, never long enough to grow too attached. We’ve also owned seven boats. For too long, the obligation to return to port when a weekend or vacation ended diluted the excitement and anticipation I’d feel as we left a dock. I dreamed of the day we could depart without any scheduled return.
Boat number five, a 42’ sailboat, showed us the joy of the journey over the destination. When we sold Solitude V, Will Parry introduced us to Kadey-Krogen trawlers. We spent three years comparing Kadey-Krogens to Nordhavns and Selenes, to Flemings and Offshores, to Ocean Alexanders and other manufacturers. An older 48’ Kadey-Krogen filled our financial and physical requirements. We searched as far north as Newport, where fortuitously, we ended up sitting aboard Krogen’s newest vessel—the 55’ Expedition INVICTUS—the People’s Choice winner at that year’s TrawlerFest. The stunning vessel was way beyond our means. “One day,” we thought.
Two years later, we retired and bought Freebird. As with most used boats, we encountered many surprises. Our old gal needed work our surveyor and we didn’t anticipate. But with each boat unit spent, we learned another system inside-and-out, building confidence in her dependability. Selling our properties and most of our worldly possessions proved to be another surprise. We gained a lightness of being and a sense of freedom that I’d been seeking my whole life.
After five to seven years cruising full-time, we expected we’d want to return to a home on land. After year five, the move held no foreseeable attraction. Synchronously Invictuscame to market, in a price range more doable, offering the perfect galley for a couple who liked to cook together. We tearfully said goodbye to Freebird, perhaps the first home we’d grown attached to, and bought Invictus. Being the first Krogen 55’ Expedition hull, she presented interesting challenges in our first few months. But as with Freebird, we re-engineered some of her systems, and in doing so, felt knowledgeable, secure, and confident to journey to Newport and Boston. We’d have gone on to Maine if it weren’t for the deliriously excited new boatowners aboard a 19-foot cuddy cabin who swamped me as I was boarding our dinghy (I suffered quite an injury!). But that’s another story.
Had I ever imagined my life as a full-time cruiser aboard a 55’ trawler? Or becoming a merchant marine captain? Or traveling thousands of nautical miles, visiting dozens of ports, meeting amazing kindred spirits? Never. And always. But the best part of this life? The excitement and anticipation of leaving our homeport with no return date aboard a boat built to cross oceans.
Krogen 55′ Expedition INVICTUS