A Word With... Barbara Theisen
A long-time member of the boating organization Women Aboard, Barbara Theisen now serves as the group’s senior editor, overseeing its newsletter and helping to fulfill its mission of promoting education and camaraderie among women interested in boating. PMY recently talked to Theisen about her experiences with the organization.
Q: For women looking to get started in boating, what advantages does Women Aboard offer?
A: One of the best parts is meeting other members, or “Sea Sisters.” If you’re going cruising we also have a roster of landline contacts. When you arrive at a new port, fellow Sea Sisters often are willing to introduce you to their homeport. Along with local knowledge, these contacts may offer use of a car for provisioning or help with a mail drop, for example.
Q: How would you characterize the type of women in the program?
A: There’s one thing that our membership doesn’t have: an ego problem. More experienced members welcome the opportunity to share their knowledge. Those with little or no boating experience can become confident boaters in a nonintimidating atmosphere.
Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job?
A: I’m a full-time liveaboard/cruiser. This means that I work aboard my boat, and although I’m currently in southern Florida, you never know where I might be working from. Making the newsletter all come together, no matter where I am, can sometimes be a challenge. But being able to work in paradise makes it worth it.
Q: What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had at Women Aboard?
A: I’ve attended meetings in George Town, Exumas, in the Bahamas. I loved seeing so many cruising women all arriving at the beach in their dinghies, barefoot, smiling, enjoying life, and ready to share their knowledge, their concerns, and their joys with each other at our meetings. I felt part of a very special group of people.
Q: How do you spend your time on the water?
A: We’ve been cruising and living aboard our boat for the past 15 years. We’ve raised our two daughters aboard the boat—our oldest just started college this past year. This is a wonderful lifestyle. This isn’t the adventure of a lifetime, but rather a lifetime of adventure for us.
Q: What message do you try to get out to women boaters?
A: Whatever your boating dreams are—whether to simply enjoy daytime outings, to gain the confidence to take the helm of your boat, to enjoy full- or part-time cruising and living aboard your boat, to be able to skillfully single-hand your boat—our message is a simple, “You can do it!”
Nope on Pope Boat
Millions of people around the world may have mourned the death of Pope John Paul II, but no one bid the asking price on a boat he once cruised aboard. After a ten-day auction in May, the 42-foot Blue Sapphire failed to garner a $295,000 bid, even though the Pope rode in the custom cabin cruiser during his visit to Canada in 2002. The anonymous owner, who said the boat was personally selected by the Pope when he cruised around Georgian Bay before Canadian World Youth Day 2002, decided to give the highest bidders a second chance to up their ante. At presstime there were no takers, and no deadline had been set for the second round of the action. Regardless, the winner of the auction will also get a boat-registration card signed by John Paul II as well as the chair, blanket, and cup he reportedly used during his cruise. Moreover, the owner vows to donate a significant percentage of the proceeds to The Bob Rumball Foundation for the Deaf and the Salt and Light Catholic Television Network.
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