Our lives were woven into that of the late Donna Matson in May 2017, just three weeks before our wedding, and that’s where we’d like to begin our story for you. Donna left a wonderful legacy behind and a sailboat just begging for adventure. That sailboat, Whistlin’ Riggin’, is a 36′ Union Polaris and was entrusted to us to restore beginning in July 2017 in Newport Beach, California. This is our documentation of this grand adventure we’re on together as we make Whistlin’ Riggin’ our home and then sail the world!
Starting our sailing adventure
Abby wanted a home on a Caribbean Island and Chad wanted to circumnavigate the world in a sailboat he didn’t yet have.
As these dreams formed, we both looked around and found ourselves in the power hungry, concrete jungle of Washington, DC knowing our next step would have to be to the water. In the midst of exposed brick buildings and homes from the early 1900’s on Capitol Hill, we found one another. Our first date was snow sledding down Capitol Hill where we decided we not only preferred one another, but also some sunshine and warm salty air. Fast forward to August 2016 when we bought our first boat, a 36′ Dufour Classic in Annapolis, MD. Abby got a home that can be in not only one Caribbean Island, but all of them, and Chad lifted the sails into the first nautical mile towards circumnavigating the world.
How we got our sailboat, Whistlin’ Riggin’
Move forward and it’s May 2017, when we learned about Donna’s boat in Newport Beach, California and the legacy she’s left as a female adventure pioneer. With a less than two week turn around, we found ourselves sitting aboard Whistlin’ Riggin’ with Philip, a dear friend of Donna’s who she entrusted with the boat’s future. Afloat in Newport Harbor, we sealed the deal that we would be the ones who would take Whistlin’ Riggin’ to love, maintain, and most importantly sail her in the years that followed. Our Dufour sailboat in Annapolis went on the market and we began our journey westward to relocate to Southern California.
Where we’re headed
We hope to have Whistlin’ Riggin’ in a livable condition by Fall 2018 and will spend the following few years sailing her in the nearby Pacific waters. With each trip out of Newport Harbor, we plan to go further and further until we one day we leave to sail the world. As we get more comfortable living aboard and sailing Whistlin’ Riggin’ in the coming years, we’ll also be setting the pieces in place for when we leave. We want to have our finances in order and a clear vision and foundation for how we’re going to make our journey around the world more than just about self-entertainment.
More than just a journey to sail the world
Our vision is to excite students about the ocean by creating unique video content that excites students about the ocean and the positive impact they can have on its preservation. We’ve named this non-profit Neverland Ocean Learning. Each video will be related to three educational pillars: ocean conservation, marine biology and maritime history. Most will feature scientists local to where we go who are researching an aspect of the ocean unique to their geography. Along the way, we plan to take old maritime sailing routes and tell the story of the ships that used to journey along the same path. The goal of this content is to build excitement in students and all viewers about the ocean and the positive impact they can make on its preservation.