[dropcap]A[/dropcap]licia Witham has sailed in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, the Caribbean, the Pacific, and, in a few months, around Thailand, for work and (always) for pleasure. She is currently at OCSC Sailing in the San Francisco Bay where she is an instructor-turned-manager. Though she now calls the beautiful Stinson Beach, California home, she’s a Maine-r, through and through. She recently acquired a Hans Christian 38 when a man walked into her office and said, “I’m trying to get rid of this boat. Know anyone?”
When did you start sailing?
I really started sailing on a NOLS semester course in Baja. I first got paid for sailing at 24, so I guess that’s when I started sailing professionally. And then I had my captain’s license by 25.
When did you know you wanted to make sailing large part of your life or job?
When I was young I knew I wanted to be on the water, but I couldn’t clearly define how. I feel blessed and delighted that at 39 I can continue to work in the marine industry and that I can be surrounded by the ocean and boats every day.
Did you always want to have a boat?
In my mid 20s I wanted to get a boat, and then I got it when I turned 30! It was an Olberg 30 and I got it on the hard for $10,000 at Lake Okeechobee. I sailed it up the east coast. Then, after two years, I sold it.
I’ve wanted to build a boat for a long time. Right now I’ve been thinking about building a drift boat for fly fishing.
I’ve always wanted a Hans Christiansen. When I had the Olberg 30 I wanted a boat that I was more passionate about, and the Hans Christian was in my top five. Then this amazing opportunity to buy one walked in the door.
What’s the plan for it?
Re-fit it over the next two years, sail down to Baja, then spend a year living in Baja–the sea of Cortez (la ventana?). So, until then, re-fit, and use it for skippered charters here in the bay for friends and customers.
How long will the re-fit take?
Two years, less if I had more money.
Any other trips in mind?
Well, the idea is to take it through the canal, back to the Caribbean and up the east coast.
I am very excited to take it to Maine. And then shrink wrapping it and living in it in the winter.
Advice for future boat owners?
Do it. Do it, do it.
Did you have any awesome women mentors?
In my NOLS semester, the instructors were the beginning for me. Then when I taught Outward Bound there was a fantastic amount of female skippers, and I think I was very influenced and affected by seeing all those strong women skippers doing their thing.