S/V Astrologer: Meet the Crew

S/V Astrologer has a mighty crew of two. One with major experience and the other…not so much. You’ll see what I mean.

The Captain
Captain of the ship, Chris Dabney. Somewhere in the Gulf Islands in Canada.

Name: Chris Dabney (Also known as “Jason” in the I Heart column.)

Age: 37

Sign: Pisces (Symbol = Fish)

Born: Santa Barbara, California

Raised: Montecito, California

Occupation: Commercial Salmon and Lobster Fisherman

Ocean Experience:
– Since before he could walk.
– Lifelong surfer.
– Commercial salmon fishing in Alaska.
– Commercial lobster fishing in California.
– Spends more time on the water than on land. 

Fun Facts:
– Has two webbed toes.
– Rumored to have been a marine mammal in past life.

The Other Captain
That’s me, Megan Waldrep, at Point Sur Lighthouse in Big Sur putting out the vibes that we will safely sail pass by one day. (Spoiler alert: We did!)

Name: Megan Waldrep

Age: 36

Sign: Capricorn (Symbol = Sea Goat)

Born: Lawton, Oklahoma

Raised: Charleston, South Carolina; Honolulu, Hawaii; Heidelberg, Germany; Augusta, Georgia.

Occupation: Writer 

Ocean Experience:
– Fishing with Grandfather in Charleston Harbor as a kid.
– Booze cruises in my twenties.

Fun Facts:
– Former fashion designer for 10 years.
– Never in a million years dreamed of cruising on a sailboat. 

The Boat
Me, Chris, and S/V Astrologer in Bellingham, Washington in September 2016. This photo was taken about an hour after Astrologer was crane lifted from the boatyard into the water. Hence, no mainsail.

S/V Astrologer is a 1969 Cal 34 sailboat.

The “34” means she is thirty-four feet long and ten feet wide.

S/V means “sailing vessel”, One of the bajillion terms I’ve learned living on a sailboat. 

The specs of Cal 34.

Chris bought her in Seattle, Washington in 2014 and sailed her to Bellingham, about 90 miles north of the city.

He immediately put her “on the hard” (pause for laughter), which means he put on in the boatyard so he could get to work. 

This all happened about a year before we met. 

Turns out, he’d been working on this baby consistently for a year installing all new electrical, new oven, compostable toilet, new water tank and hose, new diesel stove, stereo system, and a bunch of other stuff that has upgraded our boat life significantly.

It wasn’t until I visited other boats that I realized how much he had done.

Me: “Holy crap, the boat next to us has to fill their water by dragging the hose inside the cabin! Then they have to lift the mattress in the vberth just to get to the tank. What a pain in the ass!”

Him: “Um, yeah. We had to do that until I installed the plumbing. I used something called a ‘deck fill fitting’. That’s why we can fill the water tank from the deck.”

Me: “Oh. So…you, like, fixed everything.”

Him: “Um….Yeah.” 

But I will add before I stepped aboard this lovely ship, she was a straight-up bachelor pad – Tools everywhere, bed permanently unmade, and everything spilling out of drawers and cabinets.

(Sorry, Chris. But seriously…)

She definitely needed a woman’s touch.

So, Astrologer and I had a little girl time and bonded with a makeover.

Soon, our boat became a home. 

Here’s what her insides look like:

The inside of Astrologer looking from the companionway steps. To the right is the “galley” (or kitchen) and straight back is our master bedroom or what sailors call a “V-berth”.
A better shot of the galley. I was making stir-fried veggies, brown rice, with Chris’s salmon he cans every summer in Alaska. (You can see the canned salmon in the mason jars near the cutting board and sink.) We eat this about 3-4 times a week. It’s called our “happy meal”.
We had company coming over, so this is why this looks so put together. This is opposite the galley. From the end seat, I can literally reach over to the stove and grab more veggies if needed. Seconds, anyone? I got you.
Our little cockpit. Notice we steer with a tiller instead of a wheel. Apparently, die-hard sailors prefer this method because “you have more feel versus a wheel”.  I sewed the blue weather cloths surrounding the cockpit. This helps block wind and seas. And yes, it definitely comes in handy.

The Dinghy

In addition to all this, Chris built a dinghy (pause for laughter).

It took me about a year to not giggle every time he said the word, “dinghy”. Yes, I have the humor of a Fifteen-year-old boy.

Her name is Pisces and she took over 200 hours to build. Ain’t she a beaut? 

Our dinghy, Pisces. Somewhere in the San Juan Islands in Washington.

You can sail her, too!

Chris sailing Pisces in Port Townsend, WA

Pisces is a PT Eleven nesting dinghy by Russel Brown.

Chris likes to downplay his skills by saying, “It was easy to build. It comes in a kit!”

But trust me, you need some darn good boat building skills to even begin to know what to do. 

Home Sweet Home

Astrologer has been our home for 2 years now and I absolutely love living on a sailboat. 

Off the coast of California, heading towards San Francisco.

I do have to admit sometimes I miss indoor plumbing, hot showers, refrigeration, and a large closet.

Or any closet, for that matter.

And, sure, I get a little seasick here and there…

But having our home on the open ocean is a joy I’ve never known. 

Because, as corny as it sounds…

No matter where we travel, we’re always home. 

Our friends Kenny and Linda took this photo. Here’s us leaving Eureka, California at sunset.

Follow our adventures on Instagram!


Previous Post

Q&A with THE Dolly Parton!

Next Post

Sailing into Ensenada, Mexico

Leave a comment!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.