Who Are We?

When we were young and hip.

We are Michael Boyte and Melissa White, a computer programmer and psychotherapist, in that order. For the last 34 years we’ve raised kids, bought and remodeled houses, had dogs and cats (birds, rodents, etc.) and we’re almost, but not quite, done with all that.  We are middle-aged, middle-income and in the middle of a huge life transition. Frankly, our kids are more well-traveled than we are and we believe it is imperative to correct this mistake before we’re too old to care.

We fell in love with sailing 13 years ago when we bought an old Catalina 27. The Saucy Sue was a great boat for learning. We sailed her happily for 5 years, then sold her and bought Moonrise, a Cal 34.  After 5 years with that lovely boat we finally found the boat to carry our plan to fruition. We fell for and purchased a 1975 Olympic Adventure 47 foot ketch.

It’s safe to say we’re into ‘Good Old Boats’, but mostly this is because we can afford them. Plus, Michael is learning to like working on them. Moonrise was a great boat and we sailed her several times up to the Gulf Islands of British Columbia. In 2010 we sailed her to Barkley Sound on Vancouver Island and this was our first almost-blue-water sailing adventure. We loved it. Our cunning plan began to be hatched on that trip as we fantasized about heading across the ocean to Hawaii. (I believe that fantasy may have begun as we were sailing through fog and trying to stay warm in Moonrise’s open cockpit.)

This Little Cunning Plan has been a long-term plan. We are setting a goal for being ready to leave in 2017, but we started preparing 5 years earlier.   This blog documents this transition to the next phase of our lives as we cast off the ties that bind us to the land.  We know we are not the only people out there who want to have adventures and aren’t sure how to make that happen. Follow along and we’ll do our best to inspire you.

UPDATE: September 2016. Mike has set January 2017 as the month he will give notice that he is retiring. He should be retired by the end of March 2017.  Our son, Andrew, and some friends will be staying in the house, covering the expenses of keeping it for awhile. We are that much closer to leaving the dock.

Us. Having fun. Not working on our boat.

Us. Having fun. Not working on our boat.


33 thoughts on “Who Are We?

  1. Hi!! great site. I love that you two are so much in love and have a plan like ours. How sweet:) can’t wait to keep up with ya’ll. Cal 34’s are great boats. And we totally understand about what is affordable, not to mention the older boats tend to have a life of their own..a history and romance about them.

    • Welcome, Dani! Thanks for joining us! Yep, the Cals are great boats, especially for coastal cruising like what we do around here. We’re still undecided about what kind of boat we’ll settle on for the blue water stuff. It will be an older boat, though, because we’re just too frugal to buy a new one. Not to mention the cool history! Looking forward to keeping up with your blog and watching you guys take off! I hope to meet up with you sometime at an anchorage in the future.

  2. I am so enjoying your blogs and wishing we could be so bold as you and shed landlubber loads of crap to live on the water. I’ll enjoy watching this unfold.

    • Welcome, Patty! Don’t know why I didn’t see this post until now. That’s just strange and warrants a look at the ‘dashboard’ of this blog to be sure it’s working properly.

    • Thanks, and welcome aboard! Hope you decide to stay awhile. We’re trying to enjoy the preparations, it’s hard to stay focused sometimes. Having the blog helps.

  3. I love your plan. I’d do it in a heartbeat; my husband and I’ve thought about it for years, and sometimes, late at night, we’ll wade through pages of “boats for sale”, just to keep the dream alive. Really enjoy reading your story!

    • Thanks, Stacey and welcome! We hope you’ll stick around and read the blog and maybe we can inspire you to buy a boat and set sail! Be sure to check out some of the other blogs on our blogroll as some of the people who write them are also getting ready to cast off.

  4. Mother Sea’s Recipe for Lovers

    Toss fragrant layers of fern fronds
    with wild indigo berries, crisp vines,
    resinous pines, tangy spruce;
    then pepper black branches
    and fold in sauce-thick grasses,
    top with whipped cream clouds
    over savory brown trees.
    Sprinkle generously
    with butter yellow blossoms.

    When mixture settles, blend with waves;
    slice egg-white froth with silver knives.
    Float distant ships like chips on broth,
    garnish with tête-à-tête and thyme.

    Serves two, with sunset.

    • Thanks, Andy! We hope you stick around as the story unfolds. Are you a sailor? That’s an interesting email address you have.

  5. Thanks for documenting your cunning plan. It’s a great idea and one that I have my heart set on also. I’ve been dreaming of casting off for the last 3 months and I am so hooked. Your boat reviews I have been really enjoying. I especially like how you evaluate the appropriateness of layout and living space design. You give such valuable insight into what works and doesn’t work for you and that makes me think of how I might best enjoy it. Thanks again and I hope you manage to get an early mark on you cunning plan.

    • Thank you for stopping by! We hope you will become a regular reader. One of the things I enjoy most about this blog is watching the world map on the sidebar, which shows where people live you have visited our site. Australia is getting more hits lately!! We love that. Glad you like the boat reviews. I have a couple more to add, so I’ll be doing that soon. You are using them exactly how we hoped they would be used. Hope you get to find the boat of your dreams and cast off in the near future, too!

  6. Hi….Michael and Melissa, have you succeeded in selecting your boat yet?. If so which did you choose. Love your cunning plan…Steve

    • Steve,

      We have not yet found THE boat mostly because we still have Moonrise and must sell her before we can buy another. My goal for the first quarter of 2013 is sell Moonrise even it means losing a bit of money on her. That will give me four and half years to buy, equip and payoff the blue water boat. That is a doable but aggressive schedule. So, know anybody looking for a sweet Cal 34?

    • Hi Steve,
      How did I miss this comment? We have not yet chosen our boat, not for lack of looking, but for lack of having sold our current model. Moonrise is still on the market and we must wait for serious ‘choosing’ until we can actually buy something. Frustrating, to be sure, but it is what it is. Thanks for checking in and hope you will keep reading.

    • Excellent for you! Looking forward to seeing your website! 40 years is a long time to have to wait. Glad your departure date is coming up.

  7. Hi Melissa and Michael:
    Just thought I would post you a note telling you that Karin and I bought the Hans Christian you reviewed a while back down in Seattle. We brought her back to Victoria late July 2013 and have started a fairly extensive 2 year refit in preparation for a 3 year jaunt down to the South Pacific leaving May 2015.

    We love your site and we are planning to set one up as well! What software do you use?

    All the best. Tony and Karin

    • Hi Tony and Karen, that was a lovely boat! So glad you found her and are going to make her your own. We still think that boat had the nicest interior that we’ve seen yet. I’m excited you will be blogging about your refit and look forward to reading your posts. We haven’t yet sold our current boat, so we can’t move forward until that happens. Those Hans Christians have such good reputations. I am really looking forward to seeing what you do increase the storage in the forward berth. I know there is a solution to that.
      We use the WordPress software for this site and Mike’s the geek in the family, so he’d be more suited to answering any questions about it. Be sure to let us know when you start your blog so we can post it on our site.

    • Congratulations Tony and Karin. I was just looking at another HC 38 down in South Carolina and still love those boats. We saw a beauty at Port of Sydney Marina last month that caused me to rethink a heavier boat. Our bash up to Port Renfro a few days earlier might have had something to do that as well.

      I would be interested to hear what the survey found and what you are going to spend your time and money on to make her ready for your trip.

      As to the blogging platform, Melissa and I both like the WordPress platform which we host through GoDaddy. Other folks have been equally happy with blogger and or other platforms and it will no doubt make little difference once you get comfortable.

  8. Hi Michael and Melissa:

    Arabella survey was thorough but did not reveal any new surprises. The bottom was good and totally blister free but through-hulls were bad and owner replaced some of them as part of the deal. We offered what we thought was realistic and closed at $35k. We have split our project into phase I ending August 2014, and phase II preparing the boat for offshore departure May 2015.

    The logic is that all the big-ticket items for phase II will not add value to the boat. If health or any other catastrophy prevents us from continuing on with our dream ( I will be a healthy 70) then we can resell after phase I and recoup expenditures to that point. Phase II we will not redeem upon sale in a realisrtic world.

    Phase I is cosmetics, running rigging, paint mast, engine and systems overhaul, and deck re-coring, chainplate replacement, electrical and plumbing upgrades, varnish and repaint etc. Total $40K

    Phase II is standing rigging, solar power, SSB, dink and motor, light weather genekker, more ground tackle, stainless tube lifelines, upgrade electronics. $35K

    Meliisa mentioned lack of storage up forward. It is what it is! We will gain some advantage using the old trick of hamocks against the hull inrerior. We do most of boat work ourselves so most expenditure is equipment only. We have have “been there and done that” before. I hope that answers the questions!

    Tony and Karin

  9. Hello Michael and Melissa! I love your plan and the dedication you’re putting into achieving your dream. Very inspiring.

    I’ll be following along with you guys, because this is one of the most unique blogs I’ve come across.

    Cheers to you


  10. So happy to have stumbled upon your blog. Enjoyed your stories very much, and what a coincidence that you guys are into sailing. I am too, metaphorically–my blog is called Paper Boats, you see–for there would be no traveling without boats and ships taking you on adventures and making you put pen to paper.
    Will be following along. 🙂

  11. Amazing to stumble upon your blog when looking up the Galapagos Islands … I am the ex-other half of the fellow you met at Portland Island, i.e. I also sailed Walhachin, as she was known then , to N. Z. between 1993 – 1996. Hope the refit goes well. Please don’t wait until it is “perfect” to go, or you will never go. She is an excellent boat and even with the old systems and lack of modern technology ( and horrid refrigeration, yes, tear it out and start again, warm rum and coke is bad) ) back then she got us there safe, fast and comfortable. What an incredibly wonderful experience, and hopefully will be for you too.
    I am not boating anymore, so will not see you out on the water, but send very best wishes! Jan.

    • Jan,

      Thank you for sharing your memories of Galapagos (ex. Walhachin). While our blog might read as if we do nothing but work on our boats, we know when good enough is good enough.

      I am conducting some experiments on the ice box now to determine how sound the existing insulation is. We visited a marine refrigeration shop recently and they seem rather impressed with the box. I am hoping that new seals and a possibly two more inches of insulation will make the box worth keeping.

  12. Hi Mike and Melissa. Hi from Canada – it is Doug and Elke. Sending you a note from snowy Nanaimo. Hope you are well and enjoying floating about in Mexico. If I remember correctly, you were going to be back on the boat around now. Just wanted to send you some big hugs. We have some pictures and video to share with you.

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