I first fell in love with the idea of seeing the world from a small sailboat while working as a horse trainer in Spain.  Somebody gave me a copy of Annie Hill’s book,  Voyaging on a Small Income and it got under my skin.  Well, there is not much money in horse training and I had to keep working for a few more years to get the wherewithall together, but the idea gnawed away at me and eventually I found myself in Australia (the Australian dollar was very weak at the time) standing on the deck of my first proper boat Marutji – a 34 ft steel Van de Stadt.   I sailed her up and down the east coast of Australia for a couple of years earning my stripes and paying for the whole thing by taking on backpackers.  One of those (Jasna) stayed for quite a while and I eventually sold Marutji  and bought Calypso – a Hans Christian 36 that had a bit more room.  Jasna and I sailed for a while together in the South Pacific but eventually she returned to life on land in Italy while I  carried on and eventually bought Calypso II – an Island Packet 38 and  my favourite boat so far by a country mile. 

I now find myself in Fiji  waiting for the borders to open! 



  1. Hi Rick and Jasna,

    Too many coincidences not to say hello. We live in Cairns, and we have worked on Marutji a few times. Ben’s show with you guys just re-aired in Australia. My husband Clive is a shipwright who built his own steel Bruce Roberts 44 offshore in Johannesburg, stretched to 48′ named Attitude. Too big to solo sail (novice lesson learned) he sold her and left South Africa in his Muira 31′ named Att2tude. She lovingly took him to Brazil, throughout the Caribbean and eventually landed him in Florida which he called home port for a few years.

    As visas go for South Africans, it was time to leave the US and immigrate to Australia having a sibling in Sydney and leave the boat behind. Too cold and not liking Sydney he zoomed up the coast to call Cairns home. A year later come US hurricane season he returned to the Florida to sell the boat. Myself a former smoker and too many Rums bummed a cigarette from him during his trip to sell the boat that turned into a 3 hour conversation and couple days later a 20 day first date. As luck would have it we both frequented the tiki bar at his home port marina in West Palm Beach for the three years he was in Florida but never met till that night – timing is everything. 2 months later I flew to Cairns and we got married. First for both of us at 40 and 45, takes a while to find the right one. Funny I would have never chose to date a smoker. FYI he no longer smokes. He retrieved me in the US a couple of months later and with dive gear ( all new dive gear for him as a wedding present) and a couple of suit cases I came to call Cairns Northern Beaches my new home. I had to finish my work as Project Manager/Coastal Engineer doing Florida Everglades restoration.

    A couple of years ago we saw our Sea Gypsy dream slipping away and couldn’t get enough money to buy a boat in Aus, enter Suncahser a Union 36 (Mao Ta) in New Smyrna, Florida. I remember coming across photos of Calypos when looking at Unions when we bought Sunchaser. Sunchaser was pretty much ready to go for blue water cruising when we bought her, including 3 single sidebans (????). Former owners were getting ready for another Caribbean cruise after having her and sailing her for 20 years but he got Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Get out there and go while you can, damn it!! Unfortunately Suncahser sat (still sits) on the hard while we were trying to get the cruising kitty and get our butts to the US kitty together. We had plans of taking her to the Western Caribbean and then making our way to the South Pacific via the Marquesas. Fellow gypsys we met crewing on a rally in the Lousiades Papua New Guinea told us linger longest in the Marquesas just prior to our trip to US to take possession. With time in short supply we only had 5 nights onboard Sunchaser, but what a wonderful beautiful seaworthy vessel.

    Seeing your video touched us and added some more needed motivation to pining for the sea. We salute you and might live a tad vicariously through you for bit till we can get ourselves going.

    As luck would have it a project boat landed in our laps for the right price here in Cairns, an H36 Herreshoff. She will do but nothing like the room and comfort of our Union. We should move onboard in few months and hope to start our forever cruising life.

    All the best on your adventures ahead.


    PS Marutji is not very well loved at the moment sorry to say. Dr/owner seems to have lost interest.
    PSS Will have to get your book and give it a read.

  2. rick says:

    Hi Misti!

    Wow, what a story! And what a shared history – far too many coincidences to go into here, but hopefully we can cruise by for a beer next time we pass Cairns (we are generally heading in that direction). Really sorry to hear about Marutji – she was as neat as a pin when we left her with brand new paint, top and bottom and not a weep of rust. How were you involved with her? Do you have any pics of the H36? Don’t be surprised if it actually turns out to be a better boat than Sunchaser – everyone I know who has a Herreschoff, swears by them! I still have a lot of sailing buddies in Cairns, but I don’t think I can take any more coincidences today!

    So glad you liked Ben’s show – it did not go into the sea gypsy ethos as much as we would have liked and some of it was an outright lie (creative editing). That is why we wrote the book – to try and get the point across in a bit more depth. I hope you like it. I have to go now, but I will send you a copy of this message to your email so that we can keep in touch that way. Thanks so much for your kind words and best of bloody luck to you both!


    Rick and Jasna

  3. Adrienne says:

    Annie Hall is now based in NZ the top of North Island and building herself a new yacht. Did enjoy watching the two episodes of your sea gypsy life on Ben Fogles series.

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