Diverse motivations compel people to chase dreams at sea, yet about the fundamental meaning of these experiences, the couples aboard LivLife, a Krogen 52, and Tuscan Sun, a Krogen 48, couldn’t be more in sync.
When asked what LivLife symbolizes to them as they cruise spring through fall in the rugged, remote and cooler climes of the Pacific Northwest and beyond, here’s what Ginger Marshall and Gary St. Arnaud say:
“Adventure and exploration.”
When asked what Tuscan Sun symbolizes to these snowbirds as they while away winter days in the tropical temperatures of Florida and the Bahamas, here’s what Maria and Mike Metts say:
“Adventure and exploration.”
Cool or warm, whatever the destination, the sentiment is identical. These are but a few voices in the countless extended family of Kadey-Krogen owners who are believers — and with good reason. Retired, the owners of LivLife and Tuscan Sun have time to energetically devote themselves to the renown passagemakers, lauded as much for their comfortable and timeless appointments as they are for their stability, full displacement and seaworthy capabilities.
Whether it’s the protection afforded by the covered aft deck or the easy flow from galley to salon and the aforesaid “back porch,” these members of the Kadey-Krogen community and their unique goals, personalities, and desires, have woven a rich, inspiring tapestry of lives well lived.
Livlife is the floating summer escape for U.S. Coast-Guard licensed captains Marshall and St. Arnaud, who keep her moored close to their home in Seattle, Washington, so they can visit and maintain her year-round.
“We have taken LivLife, better yet, she has taken us, from South Puget Sound, Washington, to Southeast Alaska.” Marshall says. “Our favorite destination is wherever we are at the time! Some of our all-time fondest memories are from our time spent in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada.”
The archipelago is 65 nautical miles off the coast of mainland British Columbia, across the shallow Hecate Strait, Marshall explains. “To say this location is remote is an understatement,” Marshall says, adding, “beyond Haida Gwaii to the west is Japan!”
“The magic of this trip is circumnavigating the islands,” she adds. “The west coast of Haida Gwaii is rugged and remote. No docks, provisioning, fuel or VHF radio communications. Very few boats can be found on the west coast. We experience complete serenity, beauty and nature. You are at the mercy of the weather and it dictates your stay!”
While they treasure the weather challenges as much as the seclusion, they also seek a balance, and mix up their cruising itinerary to include stays in marinas and anchorages off villages and small towns. “We find the best part of cruising is the people we meet and the places we see,” Marshall says. “We’ve created lifelong friendships, and some of our dearest friends are those we’ve met on the water. We also look for members of the Krogen family when we’re about.”
The route to such self-confidence and self-sufficiency, aside from choosing the right boat, includes plentiful learning opportunities. Marshall and St. Arnaud grab them all. For Marshall, it started with overcoming docking fears (“Sheworthy,” Waypoints 2015) and progressed to taking classes, studying, and earning a captain’s license. “We’re lifelong learners,” she says, adding that “as we’ve grown in boating, we strive to learn something all the time. We view this as an extension of our education.”
Since they retired in 2010 and embarked on the seasonal cruising life aboard Chimo, a Kadey-Krogen 44, then Livlife, they teach classes on basics, maintenance and cruising destinations. They are members of the Seattle Yacht Club, Seattle Sail & Power Squadron, Marine Trawler Owners Association and the Northwest Kadey-Krogen Owners Group.
In deference to their boat’s name and their desire to admonish others to “live life,” they supply a few tips for the fender kickers about the yachts themselves. “Look at your options and the competition,” Marshall says. “Compare the integrity of each. Look at the differences, noticing quality/robustness of rails, windlass, hull configuration, hardware. Identify if the company behind the boat will be there after the sale.”
Over six years as liveaboards, the Metts have cruised about 15,000 miles, as far south as Key West, Florida, as far north as Acadia National Park, Maine, with side trips to the Bahamas. Each of their two Kadey-Krogens, a 42, and the 48 they upgraded to three years ago, is named Tuscan Sun, in honor of the couple’s Italian heritage.
“We absolutely love our boat and are very proud to be aboard her,” Maria says.
For Mike, owning and cruising a Kadey-Krogen has ushered in a return to the camaraderie he missed when he retired as a supply corps officer with the U.S. Navy. Attending their first owners rendezvous reminded him “what we were missing,” he says. “It was a group that was very close, loved their boats, a group that was very welcoming.”
The Metts are members of Krogen Cruisers Owners Group, the Northwest Kadey-Krogen Owners Group, and Marine Trawler Owners Association. Being a part of the community is so important to the Metts that they attend every rendezvous they can, and cruised to the 40th anniversary in Newport, Rhode Island, in 2016. For two years now, Maria has headed up the mentor program, so prospective buyers or those simply without their boats aren’t forgotten. She matches them with owners aboard their own boats so the boatless have a place to have lunch and relax between seminars.
When they’re cruising, which is most of the year, upon every landfall, they seek out others in the tribe. Maria keeps a spreadsheet logging every stop, who they dined with, where they went, who they cruised in tandem with. “That’s what I treasure, the moments with the other owners we come across,” she says.
Other stellar moments in their ambitious ongoing cruising itinerary stand out as well: entering New York harbor and passing the Statue of Liberty and One World Trade Center, tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and site of the 9/11 terrorist attack; sunsets in remote anchorages; and seeing their anchor in 20 feet of crystal clear, blue Bahamian water. “Most involve sights and experiences that we could not have had if we were not aboard our boat,” Maria says.
It didn’t start out this way.
“When we started thinking about this and Mike proposed it to me I thought he had two heads and was totally out of his mind,” Maria says. “I didn’t think you could live on a boat. He told me to keep an open mind, go to a rendezvous, see some boats, talk to some people. So we went. When we had to introduce ourselves, I stood up and said, ‘No, this isn’t for me. I don’t want to live on a boat. This was his idea.’ That was the introduction – I hadn’t really met anybody yet. We didn’t own a boat. Everybody welcomed us and especially me with open arms, everyone was so loving and so sweet to me.
“Then we stood up at the end of the rendezvous, and we were asked to introduce ourselves again, and were asked: Are we still wanna bes? Gonna bes? Forget it? I stood up and it got very quiet. I said, well, Mike stood up, introduced himself and said he’s still a wanna be. I’m a gonna be. I really want to buy a boat.
“Honestly, it was the people and the community and the support that led me to Kadey-Krogen. I wasn’t looking at any boats, he’d looked at boats unbeknownst to me. I suggested we go to an RV show. It’s the people who drew me to this boat and this lifestyle,” she says, reflecting on her complete 180.
Once again, like two variations of the same hue, their words of advice are in lock step.
“Never have a schedule,” Mike says. “Understand and respect the elements. Take the time to ask for advice on favorite stops, marinas and, especially, anchorages.”
Says Marshall: “Never let a schedule dictate, and always keep a keen sense of situational awareness. You learn something new every day! Select a new place that you’ve never been and try it!”