“Make sure one of us doesn’t find the wrong end of the anchor chain.”
It started at the University of Idaho. Leonard was a manager in the computer department, and Lorena was a secretary. She discovered that Leonard had been to Europe so she struck up a conversation. They started dating, with their first date at a restaurant in Pullman, WA.
“She asked me to talk,” Leonard said. He liked to talk, and at that time, Lorena was kind of quiet and shy. They dated for three years, then finally tied the knot.
Their life of adventure started while dating. Lorena wanted to learn to snow ski so Leonard said he would teach her. Being the engineer type, he taught her to ski but also wanted her to know why and how, and analyzed how it all happens. Turned out to be beneficial in her learning, but all she really wanted to know was how to have fun.
They took up backpacking. On one of their first trips, Lorena asked Leonard if he knew how to get to where they were going, he said yes since he had his trustee compass, but just to make sure, Lorena planted sticks along the way.
Later he took her flying, while preparing for take-off, he went through his checklist but Lorena thought he was reading the manual. Over time Lorena has come to trust him explicitly and never doubts his abilities.
“I gained trust in his abilities as we went along,” Lorena said with a laugh.
Boating for them started in Eugene, Oregon, where they took up water skiing. When they moved to Washington State, they got a Bayliner, a water ski boat so they could enjoy Lake Washington. Over the years, the sizes and types of boats have varied. Today they own a 46-foot pilothouse DeFever, which they named Got d’ Fever
When school was out for the summer, they would charter out of Anacortes. Boating around the San Juan Islands, sometimes venturing up into British Columbia.
In 2008, Leonard sold his business, the kids were off to college, and their adventurous spirit was ready to soar. They found a house sitter, moved onto their boat and off they went. For the next seven years they were exploring the world by water.
Around 2014, they sold the house, making their boat their permanent residence.
“He was happier on the boat than in the house,” Lorena said. “It gave him a purpose, something to do, to focus on.”
“Our plan was to do cruising in a lot of distant places,” Leonard said. “The boat is a vehicle to get us to those distant places.”
And, so far, they are sticking to that plan. They did the cruise down to Mexico, twice now. And like many Pacific Northwest boaters, they have travelled north.
They learned to work together as a team. Both shared knowledge, learned everything about boating and living on a boat, and share all responsibilities. They knew it was important to work as a team.
“It is so important that both parties know how to handle the boat,” Lorena said.
They were traveling the coast to Mexico when they had fourteen-feet following seas. The boat rolled up but when the boat settled the dinghy had come off its shocks. Leonard was concerned it would come off and would roll the boat over. Leonard had the helm so Lorena went out first to put it back, but the outdrive was caught and she couldn’t budge it. She came back to handle the helm while Leonard went out to take care of it.
“Whatever you do, don’t fall off,” Lorena said.
He managed to get the dinghy back on while she managed the helm. That experience was a testament to working together as a team.
“Working together as a team is key to getting along on a boat,” Lorena said.
“The challenges on the boat were really opportunities. Opportunities to go out and discover what are the limits of the boat, the limits of us, the conditions,” Leonard said.
And they learned more about the adventurous spirit they share.
For couple quality time, they enjoy just about any outdoor activity. The also love theater and the Opera.
When they need time apart, which isn’t often, Lorena will go shopping without Leonard.
He likes to work on the boat.
“It is a learning experience working on the boat,” Leonard said.
They both enjoy reading about real adventures, about real people, and real places.
Their advice to boating couples:
“Teamwork. The man should never think this is a man’s job. The woman should never think I can’t do that. They really need to share each other’s area and teach each other,” Lorena said.
“Complement each other in areas where one partner is strong and the other is weak.”
Provide reassurance and encouragement to each other..
“We were getting blasted in the inky black night by weather,” said Leonard. He wasn’t sure what to do, but Leonora said the boat was handling it to keep going.
“We have a great time.” Leonard said.
Lorena is the author of the book series – Cleats and Eats, A Boater’s Restaurant Guide.