Meet the Crew

Traditionally, this is where one member of the couple is designated as “the Captain” and the other as the first mate or the head cook or some other label that means “Not-the-Captain”.  We’ve decided to take a different approach.  In the merchant marines, there is a long-standing tradition of kindly animosity between deck officers and engineers.  The deckies say that they are the most important members of the crew because without them, you wouldn’t know where you were going.  The engineers respond to this by pointing out that even if you know where you want to go, you ain’t gettin’ there without the engines or the engineers who make it happen.  So this is how it is with me and Patrick.  I am Captain in charge of navigation and he is Captain in charge of anything that makes the boat go.

FAQ:  What is a hillbilly?  This is for all my french friends disappointed by Google Translate.
A hillbilly is a person originating from rural, mountainous areas of the United States (in my case, Appalachia), usually of Scottish or Irish descent (my family names: Hood, Clay, Brown, and Carty), who are traditionally considered to be independent and self-reliant, but also backwards, uncultured, and belligerent. It is often a derogatory stereotype, but one that has been softened with time and made comical by the 1960s television show The Beverly Hillbillies.  It's similar to calling a french person a Frog - originally not a very nice term but one that has softened and grown comical with time.

This hillbilly was born and raised in a small Kentucky farming town, nestled between the horse farms of the bluegrass and the mountains of Appalachia.  She was clearly destined for a life at sea.  She started her sea-going career fishing from small row boats in Kentucky’s innumerable lakes and rivers with her dad and pappaw (that’s what hillbillies call their grandfathers), but by age 18, she had outgrown the lakes and set off for a 10-week semester-at-sea program on a merchant marine training vessel sailing from Galveston to Rio de Janeiro. The following year, she began her university studies at Texas A&M University at Galveston and the Texas Maritime Academy, double-majoring in chemistry and marine transportation.  Two years later, more fascinated by chemistry than cargo operations, she abandoned the maritime academy to prepare for a life in academia, earning a Ph.D. in Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program.  On graduating, she accepted a post-doctoral fellowship doing research in the most logical place for an oceanographer:  Paris, France.  The year abroad and a brief stint back in the states as a professor convinced her that academia was not her cup of tea and that she had incurable wanderlust. She traded in her tenure-track position for a 3-month consultant contract working for the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, and stayed on for the next 12 years.  A fateful moment came when she joined the UNESCO running team and met its Captain, Patrick.

Patrick began his maritime career at an early age with wind surfing, where his fearlessness and indomitable spirit earned him the distinction of being towed back to shore by rescue squads three times in two countries. Intermittent sailing vacations on larger and less capricious sailing craft planted the seed of a dream that, alas, remained dormant through the early part of his career.  At age 18, he emigrated from Brittany to the big city and landed a job working in the newly-established computer facilities of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). With a degree in computer science and programming from the Paris Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, he worked his way up the international civil servant ladder, and in parallel, was a member of the UNESCO Athletics Team through 18 years of UN inter-agency sports competitions (the UN Games), serving as captain for 3 years.  A fateful moment came when he met a young American oceanographer and runner who needed serious help with her French.     

Our Sailing CV

2015-present  Skippering Mareda
1430 nautical miles from the Channel Islands to Bordeaux
1140 nautical miles from Brittany to Gibraltar

2012-2014   Skippering Spray (1992 Dehler 34)
4450 nautical miles along the European Atlantic coast from the Channel Islands to Galicia, Spain.

Coastal Navigation Permit (2010)
VHF Short Range Certificate (2011)
Offshore Navigation Permit / International Certificate of Competence (2012)

2011  AMCRE sailing club, Vannes
80 days and 3286 nautical miles in Southern Brittany, Northern Brittany, the Scilly Islands (UK) and the south and west coasts of Ireland on the following boats: Oceanis 323, Sun Odyssey 40, Wauquiez Gladiateur, X-40, Gib Sea 262, First 211, Feeling 920, Moody 39.  Patrick served for 2 years on the Administrative Council. 

2010  AMCRE sailing club, Vannes
41 days and 1755 nautical miles in Southern Brittany, the French Atlantic Coast, and the Northern coast of Spain on the following boats : Sun Fast 31, Kelt 8, Azuli (Catamaran, 12 meters), Westerly Tempest 31, Kelt 760, Mousquetaire Club.

2004-2009   The Glenans Sailing School
9 one-week courses in Northern Brittany, Southern Brittany, and Corsica, covering approximately 55 days and 850 nautical miles on the following boats:  Weekend-14 (dinghies), Dufour 30, Glenans Open 5.7, Elan 31, Sun Fast 32i, Bongo 9.60, Sun Fast 37, Glenan 33, Dufour 325, RM 1060.