September 30, 2012
Saying Good Bye

September 15, 2012
Reflections on Our 27 Year Circumnavigation

September 01, 2012
Sea of Cortez Sailing

August 15, 2012
Back to the Sea of Cortez

August 01, 2012
After Circumnavigation: What to Take, What to Leave Behind

July 15, 2012
Mexican Booby Trap

July 01, 2012
Tackling the Tehuantepec

June 14, 2012
Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico

June 01, 2012
Sailing northern Costa Rica and Nicargua

May 15, 2012
Costa Rican Cruising

May 01, 2012
New Found Friends in Golfito, Costa Rica

April 15, 2012
It’s a Jungle Out There

April 01, 2012
Hunting and Gathering in Panama

March 15, 2012
Money.... Money.... Money

March 01, 2012
Feel Free Transits the Panama Canal

February 15, 2012
Transiting the Panama Canal

February 01, 2012
Feel Free is Back in the Pacific

January 15, 2012
Charter Skipper for a Week

January 01, 2012
Confessions of a Charter Cat Chef

December 15, 2011
Away to the Andamans Part 2

December 01, 2011

November 15, 2011
Sailing in a Freshwater Paradise

November 01, 2011
To Barf or not to Barf, that is the question

October 14, 2011
Remarkable Cruisers

October 03, 2011
The Sea of Cortez, Another World

September 15, 2011
Panama Canal Here We Come

September 01, 2011
Sailing for Humanity

August 15, 2011
A Hard Lesson on the Hard and Reflections on Boat Work

August 01, 2011
Here Come the Lion Fish

July 15, 2011
The Joy of Books

July 01, 2011
The Sailors of San Blas

June 15, 2011
The Good Life in Kuna Yala

June 01, 2011
The Dirt Dweller in Paradise

May 15, 2011
People of the San Blas, Then and Now

May 01, 2011
Cruising in Kuna Yala

April 15, 2011
Near Disaster in the San Blas

April 01, 2011
At Last in the San Blas

March 15, 2011
Chilling Out in Cholon

March 01, 2011
Ah, Cartagena!

February 15, 2011
Cruising the Cape Horn of the Caribbean Part 2

February 01, 2011
Cruising the Cape Horn of the Caribbean Part 1

January 14, 2011
Aruban Interlude

December 30, 2010
Hunkering Down for a Hurricane

December 15, 2010
A Day in the Life - Our Passage to Aruba

December 01, 2010
Stuck in Curacao

November 15, 2010
Stormy Night Sailing

November 01, 2010
Sailing In The Sticks

October 15, 2010
Safety, Security and Circumnavigating with some tips on how to stay safe

October 04, 2010
Feel Free Transits The Suez Canal

September 15, 2010
Red Sea Sailing

September 01, 2010
FEEL FREEs Voyage Into the Red Sea

August 15, 2010
And just a little further, to Curacao

August 01, 2010
Bonaire Diving

July 15, 2010
Then To Bonaire

July 01, 2010
Cruising Remote Venezuelan Isles

June 15, 2010
Cruising St. Vincent

June 01, 2010
Right Place, Right Time

May 15, 2010
The Spice Isle

May 01, 2010
To the Grenadines

April 15, 2010
We Be In Barbados Mon

April 01, 2010
Atlantic Passage Part II

March 15, 2010
Atlantic Passage Part 1

March 01, 2010
Provisioning for the Atlantic Crossing

February 15, 2010
Atlantic Crossing Preparations

February 01, 2010
Cruising the Canary Islands

January 15, 2010
Out Of Africa

January 01, 2010
Come With Me To The High Atlas Mountains.............

December 15, 2009
Two Years Of Mediterranean Sailing

December 01, 2009
Moving On To Morocco

November 18, 2009
Leaving The Med

November 13, 2009
Reaching The Rock Of Gibraltar Milestone

October 15, 2009
Sailing Spains Costa del Sol

October 01, 2009
Sailing Spains Costa del High-rise

September 15, 2009
Sailing The Spanish Isles

September 01, 2009
At Sea Or On The Hook, These Recipes Travel Well

August 15, 2009
An Interlude At Menorca

August 01, 2009
A Pleasant Passage To Menorca

July 15, 2009
The Agony And Ecstasy Of The Tunisian Coast

July 01, 2009
Tripping Around Tunisia

June 15, 2009
Tales From North Africa

June 01, 2009
Dont Freak If Your Fridge Fails

May 15, 2009
Into Africa

May 01, 2009
Meandering Around Malta, Then Off To Tunisia

April 15, 2009
Low-Tech DIY Ideas For The New Economy

April 01, 2009
The Med Set A Few Cruiser Profiles

March 15, 2009
That Sinking Feeling

March 01, 2009
Thailand to Oman: Three Passages, Three Ports

February 15, 2009
Doing Hard Time in Malta

February 01, 2009
Pirate Alley Part 2

January 15, 2009
Pirate Alley Part 1

January 02, 2009
So Many Islands, So Little Time

December 15, 2008
Cruising With The Bear

December 01, 2008
Versatile Vinegar, The Boaters Friend

November 15, 2008
What I Did In This Summer -- Dock Masters In paradise

November 01, 2008
Over The Top Of Oz

October 16, 2008
The Tumultuous Tasman

October 01, 2008
Sweet Memories Of The Splendid Surins

September 15, 2008
And Then We Were In Malta

September 01, 2008
Feel Frees Siracusan Story

August 15, 2008
The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

August 01, 2008
All Tied Up In The Ionians

July 15, 2008
A Greek Odyssey Our Journey to Ithaca

July 01, 2008
Anatomy of a Near Catastrophe

June 15, 2008
Good-bye Turkey, Hello Greece

June 01, 2008
More Winter Cruising in Turkey

May 15, 2008
Winter Cruising in Turkey

April 15, 2008
Talking Turkey: Marmaris Marina Living

April 15, 2008
The Joy Of The Side Trip

April 01, 2008
Return to Marmaris, And The Budget

March 15, 2008
Passing Time And Dodging The Meltemi

March 01, 2008
Home Sweet Home

February 15, 2008
A Little Working, A Little Cruising

February 01, 2008
Working Our Way Around The World

January 15, 2008
Welcome Aboard Feel Free

January 01, 2008
Liz Tosonis and Tom Morkins Feel Free

January 01, 2008
About Tom Morkin and Liz Tosoni

January 01, 2008
About Feel Free

January 01, 2008
Voyage Itinerary

April 01, 2009
The Med Set A Few Cruiser Profiles

 By Liz Tosoni

One thing we love about sailing to distant shores is meeting cruisers of all stripes and walks of life, from different countries, who journey in all manner of boat – from plodding vintage cruiser to tricked out go-faster racing machine – with all varieties of budgets, philosophies, goals and dreams. The cruiser crowd is a cornucopia of personality types, backgrounds, and experiences, and there’s no end to their stories.

Malta, that diminutive island country, smack in the center of the Mediterranean Sea just south of Sicily and north of Africa, with heaps of historical, cultural and artistic appeal, has a mild winter climate, an international airport, is relatively inexpensive compared to other European countries, and thus is an ideal “wintering over” spot. While here, we’re meeting the full range of cruising types.

Last year, Liz and Tom wintered in Turkey. This year, Msida Marina in Malta, home to about 800 boats, is their “wintering over” home base. Feel Free sits peacefully on a mooring in historic Kalkara Bay, just a few miles from the marina, on New Year’s Day. At 35N, Malta has a mild winter climate and you can sail year round. However, you do need to watch out for unstable winter weather patterns.

It would be impossible for you to meet all of them. But come along and let me introduce you to just a few of this interesting cast of characters.

Celtic Dream

Cheoy Lee Midshipman 40
Roger and Pauline Morgan
Swansea, Wales 

Roger and Pauline were among the first cruisers we met in Malta. Not only were they familiar with Malta itself, they’d been cruising in the Med for 10 years, having bought their boat in Spain after taking early retirement. Immediately after meeting us, they began sharing their invaluable information and experience. Roger generously explained that they’re sailing in the Med, not for the history and architecture, but for the sheer love of sailing “in comfort” – that is, in T-shirts.
“In the UK, the weather is often miserable and that’s not fun.” They had a plan to sail into the Red Sea and then on to Thailand but that changed because of the political instability and piracy concerns in that part of the world. It’s not a problem, though, as they believe there’s a lifetime of cruising right here: “You could spend five to 10 years in the islands of Croatia alone,” enthused Roger. They may still head to the Red Sea in the future if things become safer. A tighter couple it would be difficult to find.

“For nearly 40 years, we’ve done everything together,” they told us. Recently, Pauline had to spend time back home on her own, taking care of medical matters. They realized it was the first time in 10 years, since they began cruising, that they had spent even one day apart! Among their favorite cruising areas are Turkey and the Balearics of Spain, and Tunisia for wintering over.


Grand Jete

Tayana 47
Mark and Winnie First
Newport Rhode Island

In their pre-cruising lives, Mark was a lawyer and Winnie was a mergers and acquisitions manager, as well as a dancer in the New York City Ballet among other companies. While still pursuing their careers in the U.S., this dynamic duo bought their boat in San Diego and had it delivered to Panama. Later, in two separate legs, they did their “shakedown cruise,” sailing her north, first to Florida and then to the Chesapeake and finally Rhode Island.

Two years after that, they performed their “grand jete” (the French ballet term meaning “big leap”) and headed for warmer climes, spending a year and a half in the Caribbean before crossing the Atlantic. They’ve spent the past 6 ½ years cruising and touring by land all of the Mediterranean countries except Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya. Their favorite wintering over spot has been Barcelona, Spain, for the arts, the history, the culture, and the dancing. This couple is a dream to watch on the dance floor by the way. Any tips from them on sailing in the Med?

 “Be prepared to motor,” says Mark, “or be prepared to wait for your wind. You need patience.” They’re not sure of their future plans and that’s the way they like it as it’s the opposite of the way they lived their lives b.c. (before cruising). Mark says he used to plan every detail but the last few years have taught them to mellow out.



Warrior 35
Wayne and Angie Attwood
Plymouth, England 

Being “30 somethings,” Wayne and Angie are known affectionately by many of the Med set as “the kids.” Back home, they were designers. Angie was self-employed and Wayne was an owner of a fast growing partnership company employing 70, when they bought their boat (in Norway), sold out, completely refurbished the boat, and dropped the lines for the sailing life. That was four years ago, and since then they’ve put a fair few sea miles under the keel from England to Turkey and back to Malta. They even did an Atlantic crossing as crew on their friends’ boat, to get long-distance experience.

The biggest surprise for them about cruising has been that it’s a lot more difficult than they thought it would be. “The worst thing about the Med is the sailing,” says Wayne. “You either have too much wind or not enough wind,” adds Angie. They are history aficionados and steep themselves in the history of every place they visit. They love that aspect of cruising and also, the chance to explore new cultures. However, while in Malta, they’ve been at a bit of a crossroads trying to map out the next chapter of their lives – to set up shop and work in Malta, to sail further afield outside Europe, or to swallow the anchor. These are the questions they’ve been pondering. They recently accepted jobs in Malta, to beef up the cruising kitty. Tom and I know only too well the importance not only of keeping the income flowing, but also, of adding variety to the lifestyle, so we applaud their decision and wish them every success.




Jarl Lindblom 35
Eero and Pirjo Ranta
Hanko, Finland 

Our neighbors in the marina, Eero and Pirjo, boat builder and carpenter respectively, are on a one-year sailing sabbatical from their jobs back home. In fact, they need to be back in Finland  by June 1, as Eero has a 35-foot boat to build and he plans to do it in one year’s time, not the one and a half years usually taken for that type of project. Before leaving Finland, they completely refurbished their classic, 74-year-old sailboat with a fascinating history, transforming her into the elegant beauty she is today.

The winds typically blow at 35 knots in their area of Finland, so Johanna and her crew are of hardy stock. With Eero and Pirjo, we explored the hiking paths of Malta, walked the ancient cobbled streets, shared meals and even a few drinks. Tom and I enjoyed their humor and were in awe of their entertaining and guiding skills as they hosted a string of family and friends while in Malta, 30 in all, going out for daysails regularly. We joked that they should be on salary with the Malta Chamber of Commerce. Their return route will find them sailing to the Italian island of Pantelleria, then Tunisia, Sardinia, and the French Canals. Their hope is to head off again in 10 years time, for a longer, much more leisurely sailing sabbatical, perhaps aboard a larger boat.




Rhumb Line

Whitby 42
Ted and Trish Mead 
Burlington, Vermont

Ted, a retired engineer, and Trish, a sailmaker, swimmer, and hiker extraordinaire, are no strangers to cruising, having visited just about every Mediterranean country on the chart, as well as the Caribbean, eastern U.S., and Canada. When asked what his favorite cruising grounds were, Ted unhesitatingly replied, “the east coast of Maine. It’s just beautiful and never crowded. A close second would be Scotland.” 

Trish likes every place, but the Bahamas and the Peloponnese of Greece stand out. You see them zooming around on their bicycles and it’s not hard to believe that they’ve done a lot of skiing, camping, and general adventuring in the past. They simply glow with joie de vivre but after four years in the Caribbean and 12 in the Mediterranean, this energetic pair, who carry their years (81 and 65) with aplomb, have decided to put their boat on the market. They’re not certain what they’ll do or where they’ll settle if and when their well-found, lovely boat sells, but they’re thinking about Mexico (among other locations). Sounds like a good plan to us as Mexico is one of our favorite places. In the meantime, springtime will find them exploring Tunisia.

A Gallery Of Friends

Here are a few more smiling faces from the family of Malta cruisers, taken over the winter of 2009. Enjoy…

Angelique: George and Bernadette (Australia and Germany) Aquatint: John and Carol (UK) Aurora: Rusty and Jean (UK)
Bonus: John and Barbara (UK)   Cantana: Goran and Aylin (Sweden and Turkey)
DeepBlue: Chris and Sandra (UK) Buruda: Mike and Pat (Malta)  Makka: Mark and Maxine (Malta)
Penguin: Phil and Maria (Australia)   Quintessence: Jim and Daphne (UK)
Sea Fox: Phil and Wendy (UK) Diatonic: Tony and Di (UK) Ymer: Lars and Carin (Sweden)