When Claudia and Kenny met a little over a year ago,
one of the first things Kenny asked Claudia was how
she liked the idea of living aboard. Claudia replied, “I’m
your girl.” They were married shortly after and now had
hired Chris and Alyse to give them a taste of what life
aboard as a couple was all about.
While Kenny was ready to take the next step to living
aboard, Claudia wanted to get more comfortable with
the idea. Although she loved cruising, she wanted to
make sure she could still enjoy creature comforts, such
as entertaining, and that she wouldn’t be giving up too
much in the transition to life aboard.
Kenny and Claudia both had ideas of what they
were looking for in their dream boat. Kenny wanted a
seaworthy cruiser with a nice engine room that would
be comfortable to cruise, and Claudia wanted plenty of
room to entertain, an aft deck to enjoy sunset happy
hours, and three staterooms so their families could visit
whenever they wanted.
I knew Kenny had grown up on boats and had always
dreamt of a liveaboard lifestyle, but when I asked the
Higginbothams about what brought them to the idea
of living aboard together, their answer echoed those
I’ve heard so many times before from couples looking
to simplify their lives and go cruising. Claudia found
herself out shopping thinking, “Do I need this? Where
will I put it?” Tired of accumulating things they said they
were ready to consolidate.
After our hearty breakfast, it was time to get to work!
After all, we had a late start and Chris and Alyse were
adamant about giving the couple the most learning time
they could because of their delayed arrival. We started
with the basics.
Chris and Alyse showed us different resources to
prepare for our trip, including navigating our course
with charts, marina guides, and facility guides. Of
course, the most important rule was instilled in our
minds: everyone should carry paper charts. We talked
about what we’d be learning over the next few days
and did some basic charting to our destination for
that evening, Peck Lake, just a few miles down the
ICW from St. Lucie Inlet. We covered basic onboard
procedures and of course, safety, a vital topic in
The next step was getting to know the boat so we
were comfortable enough to cast off. The guys went up
on the flybridge and the ladies went to check the lines.
True to their teaching style, Chris and Alyse made sure
that these roles were traded off so both captain and first
mate knew what each duty was like.
After a few hours of learning about the systems and
maintenance procedures aboard Sandy Hook we were
ready to head out into the ICW. We all took turns at
the helm as Chris and Alyse stood by. When Claudia
and Kenny had questions, Chris and Alyse would not
only answer them, but also included their own stories
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