LISTEN TO HIS STORY:
“Anytime you put a boundary in your head that's as far as you're going to get.”
“I'm a father of four, which is hard to believe. It's really crazy being in control of four other people's lifes.”
“The life on a boat is not an easy life, but it's beautiful.”
“Money, in terms of our family doesn't play a big role and we've always been naturally good at getting along well with small amounts of money. We have to work hard but this lifestyle is worth every effort.”
“I never could have imagined speaking more than English. Learning French and Spanish was something I am very proud of.”
“I just love sailing because it makes me feel who I am.”
Your life is quite an extraordinary one. When did you decide to live on a boat?
When I graduated high school, I got accepted into a college. But I remember asking myself: “Why am I going to college? I'm only going to college because it's what everybody says that I should do.” Even though I didn't have anything that I wanted to particularly study in college. After three weeks, one morning, I woke up and it was as clear as it can be. I am quitting, that’s it. At that point, I felt so free. It was the first time that I broke that societal pressure that everybody is under that lives in basically the Western world like I know about it.
What do you have to be made of, then you want to live on a boat?
You can always be distracted by a million different things in life but at some point, you have to decide what you really want. I bought a boat. That changed my life.
How was your life before that?
When I was a kid, I would go and play in the backyard all the time because we had quite a large backyard, it was just kind of like a forest. And there is this ring of trees that went around the property. And I would go out there every day because I had nothing else to do. I was quite bored but I had an ax. I was probably like maybe seven or eight years old. And I'd chop at this one giant pine tree. And I'd chop at it and chop at it until finally, the tree fell over. For me, it was my first huge accomplishment. And that is something that's been with me my whole life.
I was really into everything that would fly when I was little, and I used to make all these little models with my father. And one day we started this large airplane model. It was to be remotely controlled. And shortly after we started working on it, my dad left us. So that airplane became the thing that I had to keep going. I couldn't just stop. And I remember being completely frustrated at times because I couldn't figure it out. It was way over my head and my abilities at that age. But I just kept going. And I eventually finished this airplane. I think that a lot of these things are definitely what has shaped me one hundred percent.
How does parenting on a boat look like?
I'm a father of four, which is hard to believe. It's crazy being in control of four other people's life. You do feel the responsibility. But at the same time, it's something that I enjoy very much. The world that you live in is so unpredictable because life is ever-changing, so I think having a family life that is constantly changing, it's teaching them to be adaptable to any situation and not let it control you.
Your life seems quite nomadic. How do you make decisions on where to live?
We had a coconut growing on our rudder. And people would always ask: “What is that coconut doing there?” And Jay would answer: “It's our compass. Wherever it points we go.” Right now we are living in France for the past four years. Before that, we sailed around the world for seven years. Before that, I lived in Costa Rica on the beach for four years. Before that, I was in New York for six years. We started as a makeshift family. I had two daughters already when I met Jay. I was very rooted in Costa Rica, where I was at at the time. But I sold all my equipment and my company and we jumped on board. I have always been very good at flipping my life around very quickly.
What's the biggest advice you could give?
You build your boundaries in your head, and I think it's one of the reasons why certain people can do amazing things because they just never thought that they couldn't do it. Anytime you limit yourself that's as far as you're going to get.
Any internal fights being fought? What keeps you going?
Why do I need to compare myself to others or why do I need to be the best at everything? It's something I struggle with completely because I am extremely competitive, even though I don't show it so much on the outside. Even if it's something mundane or ordinary, I have to give everything. But in a way, when you do remove that, what you're then going to lose is your drive, and if you do in a way learn to turn that down, then then you're also going to be losing some of that motivation for sure. Inevitably, you can’t have it all. Competitiveness is such a drive.
How do you make a living?
Within our family, we don't need much money. We're happy living with less. And you don't do these projects to be able to make money. It's more about being able to have this lifestyle. But the funny contrast of that is though that the professional side of the boat life, the races, and projects I am working on need huge amounts of money. I work as a skipper on other racing boats and Natasha is a filmmaker, working on her clients' projects. Our partnerships and sponsors play a big role too, Without them, a lot of what we are doing would not be possible.
What project are you working on right now?
For the past three years I have been working on a Mini. It’s a special category within the sailing sport. This boat became everything to us, because it may change the world of sailing.
Because it flies. Well, almost. Handcrafted foils push the boat out of the water, to minimize its friction.
This means speed. Speed means winning. And winning boats go from Mini to the Big ones.
That's the plan. We will see.
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EVERYDAY. About this project
How you spend your everyday is actually how you spend your life. Therefore, creating an everyday you truly care about may be the most important thing in life.
EVERYDAY. is an ongoing project by Cinematographer Cedric Schanze, portraying people and what they care about.
Why do people do what they do?
And what does it take?
Their stories may help you to get a different perspective and
spark inspiration to follow the things you believe in.